October 9th, 2007
06:20 PM ET
4 years 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. Aaron, Lynnwood, WA

    They keep throwing around the word "Pakistan", a lot like they were throwing around the word "Iraq" a few years ago. I wonder if they think that they can convince us that Pakistan is Iraq, kind of like Iraq was afghanistan.

    Giuliani is just going to perpetuate this rediculous, unending "war on terror" and continue the bush legacy. Ron Paul is my only hope of not being drafted.

    October 10, 2007 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  2. Adam, WI

    Once again, Paul is correct. Rudy is a freaky crossdresser who is loathed by the honorable NYFD and most of the 9/11 victims. Paul had the guts to bring up 9/11, Rudy's holy grail platform (and his answer to EVERYTHING), and he got jumped on by an arrogant fascist who scares the hell out of me.

    Bush has admitted himself Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. This is common knowledge. Rudy is way out of touch with anything but Neo-con propaganda, and doesn't really know anything about reality, except how to say "9/11" and use this tragic event for his greedy campaign.

    Rudy makes me sick.

    Go Ron Paul!

    October 10, 2007 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  3. george, Washington D.C.

    US more likely expected a surprise attack in the Philippines than Pearl Harbor.

    Further the hijackers planned part of the attack in Germany. Then flew to meetings in the Indonesia, may have been in Prague, lived down the street from the CIA and live in Laurel Maryland and drove by the entrance of the NSA a day before the attack.

    October 10, 2007 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  4. cesar

    I never met a real life person or online who supports/likes Rudy. I don't get how he is high on the polls. One thing is sure that he is a moron.

    October 10, 2007 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  5. Allen, NC

    Guliani needs to read something. If 9/11 had to do with Afghanistan and Pakistan..why did we attack Iraq?

    October 10, 2007 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  6. Ben Kilpatrick, Destrehan, LA

    Giuliani doesn't seem to understand that he is running for the nomination for President of the United States, not President of September 11th.

    October 10, 2007 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  7. James Cantrell

    I'm ready for Ron Paul our Government now is totally disfunctional.We need fresh ideas.And many policy changes.Don't think he could make things any worse than they have been the past 7+ years.Lets get realistic about things folks.

    October 10, 2007 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  8. Thomas, St. Petersburg, FL

    The "blame America first" crowd believe that our actions caused 09/11/2001.

    I am willing to listen to that argument, and I will not filibuster. However, I do have some questions:

    (1) What did America do to cause the American Embassy to be attacked and the occumpants held hostage for 444 days between 11/1979 and 01/1981 ?

    (2) What did America do to provoke 200+ marines murdered by a suicide attack in Beirut in 1983 ?

    (3) On 09/11/2001, what did the flight attendants, pilots, and American civilian passengers do on those fateful flights to deserve to have their throats slashed?

    The terrorists are completely intolerant of anyone who is not exactly like themselves. Rudy Guliani was knighted by England's Queen Elizabeth for his heroic actions on 09/11/2001, and deservedly so.

    Ron Paul is an isolationist who completely misunderstands the War on Terror.

    October 10, 2007 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  9. J. Ogden, New York, NY

    The biggest problem Ron Paul has is trying to explain intellectual/logical positions to border-line retarded people. 1/3 of American adults can't read above a 5th grade level – no wonder Rudy and Romney are so high in the polls...

    October 10, 2007 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  10. Jessica, Madisonville, KY

    RON PAUL 2008!

    He's the best candidate for President!

    This man just makes sense!

    October 10, 2007 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  11. James S., Kyle, TX

    I just started really looking at the candidates, but Ron Paul certainly seems to be the standout among the republicans. He is the only one who seems to look beyond the popular catch phrases like "They'll follow us home" and he understands why they really hate us: our foreign policy. It really made me angry that they didn't give Paul more time to express his ideas, since he was the only one who seemed to have good ones. I have never voted Republican, but I am going to do my own due diligence since the media seems to be trying to silence the only voice of reason in the debates.

    October 10, 2007 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  12. Angela, Alexandria, VA

    I'm not a Republican, but I must say I completely agree with Paul's statements.

    October 10, 2007 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  13. Tom, Corvallis, Oregon

    Ron Paul is right again. Guiliani must be the most ignorant person EVER to run for president. To ignore the 9/11 commission and all the other evidence about the terrorist attacks is juvenile, reckless, and personally fatalistic. Ron Paul is the only one who understands these issues and offers a real hope for America.
    Ron Paul 2008!

    October 10, 2007 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  14. Greg, Brooklyn NY

    ATTN Ron Paul: Cuban Missile Crisis? Pearl Harbor? Heard of them? Stop the BS'ing to get attention.

    October 10, 2007 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  15. Mary, Beaver, PA

    Would Guiliani attack a country because he "think(s)" an attack upon America was "kind of" organized by ? That shows sheer stupidity. And if he gets it wrong, he'll "kind of" apologize to the country we attack?

    If he has never heard it said that "we invited the attack because we were attacking Iraq (yes, even during Clinton's 'reign')," he's never heard bin Laden's rationalization for the attack, he hasn't read much, and he certainly doesn't deserve to be President.

    I love the US, but let's not delude ourselves into thinking that we as a nation never make mistakes and never make enemies. That attitude is arrogance, not patriotism, and it's the kind of thinking that does indeed make enemies.

    Ron Paul is right and Rudy is an arrogant, self-serving idiot.

    October 10, 2007 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  16. Kent D. Madison, WI

    So Ron Paul says that America has never been under imminent attack?

    Perhaps he needs to do his homework. How about the hundreds of thousands of Native Americans who were murdered under US government policy in the 18th, 19th and part of the 20th Century?

    I guess he means that WHITE America has never been under imminent attack.

    October 10, 2007 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  17. josh

    Hey... Ron Paul has a good point.

    October 10, 2007 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  18. Jon, Sacramento ~ Ca

    Rye, Austin ~ Tx, wrote:

    "Jon, you're just wrong. First of all, Pearl Harbor was not an imminent attack, it was a *surprise* attack. Are you suggesting we should have bombed the Japanese before we even suspected they were going to attack us?

    Neither was the Cuban Missile Crisis an imminent attack; if you really think it is you need to study MAD a little more. As history shows, it was maneuvering by the USSR, nothing more.

    Finally, 9/11 was not only not an imminent attack (another surprise attack), but it wasn't even organized by any nation! The perpetrators of 9/11 WERE thugs, just as Ron Paul declared, and should be dealt with using police action, not state warfare."



    So you want to play semantics over "imminent" attack and "surprise" attack??

    You, by supporting Ron Paul, rather us go back to sleep so ALL the attacks could be "surprise" attacks??

    You then want to suggest the Cuban Missile Crisis wasn't anything other than "manuevering by the USSR"? Yeah – what's the big deal of the Soviets having nuclear missiles 90 miles off our southern border?! Yeah... it wasn't a big deal... I have no idea why they would call it a CRISIS.

    9/11 wasn't a State sponsored attack, but it was an act of terrorism put together by organizations (Bin Laden, Al Qaeda, etc) that continue plotting the death of Americans or any country/people disagreeing with their Islamic extremist views (UK, Spain, etc).

    Bottom line – VOTE Ron Paul if you prefer to close your eyes and pretend no one wishes the US any harm. Take another hit off the bong in honor of Ron Paul who wants to legalize drugs.

    Ron Paul will never win the Republican nomination. He is not a Republican. He is a Libertarian desperate for attention.

    Keep clucking Ron Paul disciples. Your political days are numbered.

    October 10, 2007 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  19. freetobeme, Rochester, PA

    Sternberg, I voted for Ron Paul for President in 1988. I supported him then and I can support him now. Twenty years from now, I can guarantee you that I will remember him.

    Jon of Sacramento, why don’t you grab yourself several nice cold beers and a couple of shots. After all, the legal drug alcohol is completely safe. No one has ever died from it. No domestic disputes have been caused by it, and I can walk into any bar and find rational, thoughtful people who are in control of their actions and emotions.

    By the way, how has your neo-con paradise turned out? Do you feel safer and freer now than you did in 1980? Just ask the rest of us how WE feel.

    October 10, 2007 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  20. ufcama

    Again Ron Paul is corerct and Giuliani is wrong, 19 guys mostly from Saudi Arabia commited a terrorist attack, noa government, not a country. maybe he also wants to go and kill chavez, Giuliani is a joke living out of the pain of 911, someone should sue him for mental suffering and pain.

    October 10, 2007 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  21. Paul, Phoenix, Arizona

    So, Mr. Paul, America has never been in danger of imminent attack?

    Talk to any Native American who lost relatives to the genocide inflicted upon them by the US government in the 18th and 19th centuries.

    You will get a different answer from them.

    October 10, 2007 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  22. James Cantrell, Houston Tx.

    Thomas,I you don't understand what Ron Paul is trying to tell folks,shame on you your the one that is confused.What was our Marines doing in Beirut to start with??I had a friend that was in those barracks when they blew,he wonders why he was there.He still has nightmares from that day.

    October 10, 2007 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  23. James Cantrell, Houston,Tx.

    Hey John you need to pay closer attention,Ron Paul did vote to go in to Afghanistan'But Bush didn't complete the mission and went right into Iraq,please pay attention.

    October 10, 2007 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    "As someone who lived through the attack of September 11"

    What does he mean by this? he was no where near the trade center when it was actually attacked. Is he just trying to imply he was alive when it happened? In that case Ron Paul lived thorugh it too.

    October 10, 2007 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  25. John, NY


    To answer your questions:

    1) The Iranian revolution and the taking of hostages was blowback from the 1953 coup by the CIA in which the democratically elected leader of Iran was ousted and we installed the shah, an oppressive dictator.
    2) The suicide attacks, which were horrible and extremely wrong, were caused because of the fact that we had marines in Beirut.
    3) The 9/11 commission report and the CIA tell us that we were attacked because of 1) support for Israel, 2) Constant bombing of Iraq, 3) Meddling in the affairs of Middle Eastern governments and supporting oppressive Regimes (saudi arabia, for example, which is why 15 of the hijackers were from that country).

    Obviously, these reactions to our foreign policy are completely awful, but the fact remains that the middle east feels threatend by us and will continue to fight until we change our foreign policy and dismantle our empire.

    We are fighting a war against an insurgency, not a 'war on terror.' In the words of Dr. Paul, ""The catch-all phrase, 'War on Terrorism,' in all honesty, has no more meaning than if one wants to wage a war against criminal gangsterism. It’s deliberately vague and non definable to justify and permit perpetual war anywhere, and under any circumstances."

    WE ARE NOT BEING ATTACKED FOR WHO WE ARE, BUT RATHER WHAT WE DO IN THE MIDDLE EAST. Furthermore, it isn't blame america first, we have to blame our foreign policy.

    October 10, 2007 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
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