October 9th, 2007
06:20 PM ET
9 months ago

Paul, Giuliani exchange sharp words over 9/11

Rep. Ron Paul sparred with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani again during Tuesday's debate.

(CNN) - Reminiscent of the tussle the two had in a May GOP debate, on Tuesday, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Texas Rep. Ron Paul reignited a war of words over 9/11.

Giuliani took issue with Paul's contention that in "220 years" Americas has never been under imminent attack. Paul was responding to a question on whether the president needs Congress to approve a potential invasion of Iran.

"I don't know where he was on September 11," Giuliani said in response to Paul's comments.

"That was 19 thugs," Paul sharply fired back. "That had nothing to do with a country."

"Well, I think it was kind of organized in Afghanistan and Pakistan," Giuliani said. "And if we had known about it, maybe - maybe hitting a target there, quickly, might have helped prevent it."

The debate was similar to an exchange the two had in a May 23 debate, when Giuliani sharply criticized Paul for saying the 9/11 attacks were the result of America's involvement in the Middle East.

"As someone who lived through the attack of September 11 - that we invited the attack because we were attacking Iraq - I don't think I've ever heard that before, and I've heard some pretty absurd explanations for September 11th," Giuliani said then.

In response, Paul stood by his comments and said that "if we think that we can do what we want around the world and not incite hatred, then we have a problem ... They come and they attack us because we're over there."

– CNN Ticker Producer Alex Mooney


Filed under: Michigan • Ron Paul • Rudy Giuliani
soundoff (122 Responses)
  1. Trent Hill, Denham Springs, Louisiana

    Dr. Paul was correct in asserting that the 19 thugs had nothing to do with Iraq.

    Iraq was in NO WAY involved in 9/11. Nor was Iran. Even Afghanistan and Pakistan had little to do with it.

    The terrorists were overwhelmingly from Saudi Arabia, and also from Syria, Lebanon, and the United Arab Emirates. It was planned in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan, and the US. I suppose we should bomb all of the aforementioned?

    We should also bomb Oklahoma because of Timothy McVeigh.

    October 9, 2007 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  2. Cody, Brookings SD

    Organized IN a country doesn't mean it was organized BY a country. And if Guiliani is going to lay blame on Pakistan, why isn't he saying we should invade Pakistan instead of Iran?

    Iraq and Iran still have nothing to do with 9/11.

    October 9, 2007 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  3. Tom Head, Jackson Mississippi

    Hate to say it, but Ron Paul's absolutely right in this case. It wasn't a military action; it was 19 suicidal criminals who got lucky.

    October 9, 2007 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  4. Ed,Ellenville,New York

    Just wait,there's 911 conspirator sitting in the Hague right now. When he cracks and spills the beans on who paid Bin Laden,the whole ball of wax will come apart. A smart candidate would stay far away from 911. At least until somebody knocks Taylor off. Rudy is smart though to distance himself from Taylor's partner,Pat Robertson.

    October 9, 2007 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  5. Jon, Sacramento ~ Ca

    Ron Paul – doesn't think America has EVER been under an imminent attack.

    – Pearl Harbor
    – Cuban Missile Crisis
    – Cold War threats
    – 9/11

    Yeah – no other country has ever sought to harm or threaten the US. If you believe this – and think we should eliminate the FBI, CIA, Homeland Security, bring all US soldiers serving abroad (Iraq, Afghanistan, Germany, Japan, S.Korea, etc), and legalize drugs.... VOTE RON PAUL.

    For the rest of America (that HASN'T destroyed brain cells through smoking pot) – understand Ron Paul is a libertarian attempting to disguise himself as a Republican.

    RON is just wrong.

    October 9, 2007 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  6. RudyMussolini

    Too many Americans are ignorant of US foreign policy, especially in the Middle East. Therefore, Guiliani can state these ridiculous assertions and promote the cause for war. When will America feel safe? When every muslim nation has been bombed into oblivion?

    It would be nice if CNN could do it's job and present some factual information. Here's a couple that stand out:

    1953 Operation Ajax: CIA and British MI6 successfully orchestrate the removal of democratically-elected Iranian prime minister Mohammed Mossadegh, and installs the Shah as dictator.

    1968 - Iraq. The C.I.A. successfully supports coup in Iraq against the government of Rahman Arif to bring the Ba'ath Party to power, with Saddam Hussein eventually taking the helm.

    For more info see Wikipedia:

    List of United States military history events

    October 9, 2007 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  7. Ben, Chicago IL

    Once again, anytime Rudy can bring up 9/11, he will, even if it is totally irrelevant or if he actually needs to rewrite history a little in order to make his point. Was the US under an imminent threat from an attack from a country on 9/11? SURE, it must have been organized by a couple arab countries, not individuals in a terrorist organization. Oh, and never mind most of the attackers were actually from Saudia Arabia.
    Paul is the only candidate on either side who does not have to rewrite history with his explanation of his policies.

    October 9, 2007 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  8. Chris, FL

    "Well, I think it was kind of organized"...??

    Well, Giuliani, you sure do have 100% proof!

    I kind of maybe think I won't vote for you.

    October 9, 2007 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  9. Frank, Houston Texas

    Ron Paul is right. Giuliani is just pandering and trying to score a soundbite .

    October 9, 2007 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  10. KD, Dallas, TX

    Guiliani is a very ignorant person to say the least. 911 was a result of our interference in the middle east. Hatred towards Americans by the radical Islamist is due mostly to our involvement with Israel due to it's affect towards Palestinians and our constant involvement in affairs in that area, from the Shah of Iran, to supporting Bin Ladin himself. Those who don't get the big picture are surely ignorant and have no business running our country. No, Iraq had nothing to do with 911 and we should never have attacked it. That only furthered the fire and is why Al Qaeda, who was not in Iraq when we attacked, is now there killing our men. What a complete mess. obviously, I don't agree with a terrorist's ideology and means of violence, but we do have to understand, we are not fighting countries with terrorism, we are fighting extremists who are located worldwide.

    October 9, 2007 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  11. Charles, Silver Spring, MD

    Wow, Rudy bringing up September 11th to make an argument, what a surprise! And Rudy, I thought you were THE expert on September 11th since you talk about it so much, you aren't sure where they came from? Hello, 15 of the 19 hijackers where from Saudi Arabia. Also hitting a target in Afghanistan or Pakistan wouldn't have made a difference since none of the hijackers were there right before the attack. Gawd Rudy really needs a history lesson and anyone listening to this idiot really needs to get their news from more sources than those on TV.

    October 9, 2007 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  12. al, ny, ny

    Rudy the "one-trick-pony" is partially correct. It was planned somewhat in Pakistan and Afghanistan. It was also planned here since the hijackers spent plenty of time moving about the US. When he says "As someone who lived..." I'm surprised he didn't say he was right there as the planes hit, going into the towers and pulling survivors out 3 at a time. The guy will never stop milking this one issue.

    October 9, 2007 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  13. Jim

    Ron Paul 1, Guiliani 0

    October 9, 2007 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  14. Danielle- Las Vegas, NV

    ron paul is right
    Guiliani is a moron
    why are we in iraq then

    October 9, 2007 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  15. Bob, San Francisco, CA

    I don't agree with Ron Paul on all issues, but he's obviously correct about this. Anyone who chooses to remain an ingorant flag waver and not see the complexities of international policies is a fool. It's about time we had some real discussions about these issues instead of stupid soundbites geared toward the lowest educational level of Americans (which is sadly the largest portion).
    Yeah, they hate us for our freedoms. Go shopping. Keep your head in the sand and be a mindless consumer. And wave your flag that was made in Taiwan.

    Giuliani makes President Bush look bookish. How messed up is that?

    October 9, 2007 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  16. Tm

    Hey Rudy – "might have helped prevent it." Perhaps you should be honest with yourself and the American people. Try reading; a good place to start learning about how 9/11 could have been prevented would be the story of FBI SSA Dave Frasca who shut down and prevented investigations of several of the terrorist groups operating within the U.S. prior to 9/11.

    Americans need to hear the stories of Sibel Edmonds, Colleen Rowley, Tyrone Powers, Kenneth Williams, Robert Wright Jr, and many other FBI, military and intelligence agency professionals instead of just the simplistic and false spin of politicians like Rudy.

    October 9, 2007 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  17. Jeff Rugby ND

    Ron Paul is the best hope this nation has for an elected leader.

    October 9, 2007 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  18. John Brick NJ

    Organized in Pakistan and Afghanistan? Where has he been? It was organized in the US by 19 individuals at flight schools HERE. What good would being in the middle east have done? Guilliani cut the funding for the radios and assisted in the FDNY anf NYPD deaths because they couldn't communicate clearly. He should be held accountable not a hero!

    October 9, 2007 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  19. Derek, Honolulu HI

    Great to hear that Giuliani still hasn't read the 9/11 Commission Report or any other real analysis of that attack. How does anyone take Giuliani seriously?

    October 9, 2007 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  20. James, NYC, NY

    Rudy Giuliani is a criminal of September 11th.
    I encourage people to research the myriad times he has been confronted by 9/11 victims family members and others willing to ask him tough questions (aid to resuce workers, faulty radios, location of emergency management center, etc.).
    Watch as he refuses to answer, ducks into cars, or laughs away the inquiries, as if they were joking matters at all.
    Just search under the terms "Giuliani confronted..."
    The man is a criminal. Never forget this. Many New Yorkers, including myself, certainly have not.

    October 9, 2007 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  21. Jackson

    Giuliani is an arrogant candidate without any idea of the history of the Middle East and the consequences of our continued involvement over there.

    I applaud Paul for standing up to the arrogance and dismissal by Giuliani, especially considering that Ron Paul's actually studied this topic extensively over the years, gaining even the unfettered support of the former head of the Bin Laden unit in the CIA.

    Giuliani be better sticking to Mayoral seats than as our President. Imagining him up against Iran is a frightening proposition that he seem all too eager to test. I can only shudder to think of the provocation that would ensue if Giuliani were involved, and that's what makes this War on Terror a danger to every American in this great nation.

    October 9, 2007 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  22. TYSPOCK

    Ron Paul has good sense and probably the only Republican that can unite this nation, Giuliani has made so much money off of 911 just for being the mayor, I cant help but wonder how much of his 911 profits has gone to help the 911 victims ? Now he wants to use that platform for not just more profits but to become the next George Bush, sorry but this country could not survive another Bush – go do something safe for our nation and use your own talents like; walking with high heels or something!

    October 9, 2007 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  23. Andrew, NY

    most of the hijackers were from Saudi Arabia...and I don't see Giulliani wanting to invade them over the fact that some of their citizens did the attacks.

    Giulliani is a complete idiot when it comes to foreign policy. I don't think he has read the 9/11 commission report yet.

    October 9, 2007 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  24. Mark, San Diego, CA

    Can there be any doubt as to which between these two has the more brains? And any doubt as to whose 'position' on this issue is more popular with Americans?

    I'm embarrassed for my country; we prefer stupid people to smart people.

    October 9, 2007 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  25. Matt, Coral Gables, FL

    So it was Afghanistan and Pakistan who attacked us? No, it was an individual terrorist group who planned it. Yes, in a perfect world, Afghanistan and Pakistan could have done more pre-9/11 to deal with this, but remember, Ron Paul supported us going after the Taliban in Afghanistan, and you can't blame the current governments of either country for not being able to hunt for every possible terrorists in these sparsely populated mountainous areas. It's like the Wild West out there. We can't even control those areas when our own soldiers are there, so don't expect them to.

    Instead, what we can control, and what is the fiscally responsible thing to do, is changing our foreign policy, and stop trying to police the world, and instead, make our home defense stronger.

    The terrorists were from Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Syria, and Lebanon. They planned the attacks in Aghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan, and even South Florida. What, so we have bombed all of those countries, and even South Florida? You can't win the hearts and minds of others by occupying their countries, and telling them what to do at gun point, and by accidentally killing their children by our unneeded presence there.

    October 9, 2007 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
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