October 23rd, 2007
09:31 AM ET
8 years ago

Rangel: Giuliani 'embarrasses us'

Watch Wolf Blitzer's interview with Rep. Rangel.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - New York Rep. Charlie Rangel, a prominent supporter of Hillary Clinton, sharply criticized Republican presidential frontrunner Rudy Giuliani's personal life Monday, highlighting the fact that the former New York City mayor and his wife have each been married three times.

"Two people, six spouses. It's a little complicated if you're not religious, especially if you're running against a Mormon," Rangel told CNN's Wolf Blitzer in a reference to Giuliani's chief rival, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. For the record, Romney has only been married once.

"I think America has to look at all these things, and there are enough moles on this man that embarrasses those of us who have sought public life," the 19-term New York congressman added. "When we get involved in public life, it means we're in a goldfish bowl. It would seem to me, with all the breaks the mayor had, being involved with his personal problems, he would thank God he's gotten as far as he did go without making the politicians get involved in his personal life."

Rangel brushed aside the notion that criticizing Giuliani's personal life exposes Hillary Clinton to similar criticism. The former first lady’s own marital troubles have been well documented.

"You can say it over and over and over again. This woman got married [and] stayed married [to] the same husband. When they had problems, she stuck with him. You tell me what in her personal life is something she should be ashamed of, and I want to talk about it."

Contacted by CNN, Giuliani spokeswoman Maria Comella said, "This kind of ugly, personal attack isn't even worth a response."

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- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

soundoff (264 Responses)
  1. jfz, napa, ca

    CNN News Flash!!! CHARLIE RANGEL SETS NEW LOW! (Hillary must be so proud for him.) The Nobel committee may issue a special award for the depths a human will stoop to malign another!

    October 23, 2007 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  2. Brett, New Orleans, LA

    Charlie Rangel is grabbing at straws. Apparently, his views are slanted when it is a matter of convenience. This sort of pedantry commentary by a professional politician is an embarrassment to democracy. If Charlie is embarrassed by the fact that his peer has been divorced before, he is clearly out of touch with today's society. I find this observation particularly damaging to Charlie's competency as a leader in politics.

    October 23, 2007 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  3. Tom Dedham, Mass

    Since I had the first posting, but it was taken off...

    Rangel takes a shot at Giuliani but at the same time takes a greater shot at Romney's faith.

    Turn the tables here and if this was an ELECTED Republican politician making comments like this about a Jew or Allah forbid, a Muslims faith, the outcry would be immense.

    Rangel is a notch below fellow race baiters Sharpton and Jackson, but he too is part of that privileged group that can say what they want and NEVER have to apologize.

    Charley, I would pay to debate the issue with you as just like the other Clinton sheep, you are making this appear that it was a one time "problem" with Bill and Hillary, not the repeated "cheating and ignoring" that went on for political expedience ONLY.

    October 23, 2007 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  4. Maria, Houston

    The same guy who wanted to reinstate draft is now crusading for Hillary Clinton?!

    Oh, I've got it: Never mind she voted for the war, as long as she is not Divorced...

    October 23, 2007 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  5. John (NY, NY)

    Rudy was an average MAYOR at best. Why does anyone possibly think he is ready to be president??

    October 23, 2007 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  6. Cable King Pittsburgh PA

    Like most long term incumbents,
    Rangel is a walking billboard for term limits.

    October 23, 2007 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  7. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Rangel didn't take a cheap shot at Giuliani and yes it's ugly but it's politics. Divorce doesn't make one a bad person nor does it make one a good candidate for marriage. Oh, but candidate for President that makes a lot of us eligible.

    October 23, 2007 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  8. Steve, Sumter SC

    Victor in Philly,

    I can tell you his accomplishment. He introduced a bill to bring back the draft. When it came time for a vote, he voted against his own bill! 2 funny!

    October 23, 2007 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  9. Anyone But Hillary

    Hillary Clinton: The Poster Child For A Good Marriage?

    I don't think so.

    October 23, 2007 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  10. Doug, New Jersey

    How funny is it to hear lib democrats talk crap on Rudy.

    Liberal democrats who trash Rudy re-elected a known child molester (Gerry Studds) 6 times!!!

    Liberal democrats who trash Rudy have continued to re-elect Ted Kennedy, who drove drunk, crashed and killed an innocent woman, and left the scene to go home and act as if it didn't happen.

    I like this forum, it shows you first hand what type of people liberal democrats are. It shows you that if you are an honest, decent person that you are at odds with liberal democrats.

    October 23, 2007 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    Some of these responses are so typical of the republican hypocracy. I would like to respond to some:

    RobertR, upstate: I hear you talking but you have no stones on Rangle. The issue is basic; if you quit on your wife and children (family) what will you do with the country. Loyalty is the issue. I was here in NY when his wife and children found out about the divorce on the news. Gulliani is dispicable and I know this first hand. Some of the undermined things he did and his level of greed and his socialist persona. You don't want him in the house!!!!!

    To: Ray of Rochester; Here is a list of Bush's scandals. Eleven was not enough to top Bush and his term is not yet up:

    1. Katrina
    2. Federal Judge Scandal
    3. FBI agent identity release
    4. Iraq
    5. Military spending (soilders care, charged for missing equipment, the food that never reaches the soilders from Cheneys company (Halliburton.
    6. The fact that Cheney's company has the contract (Halliburton).
    7. Fema
    8. Trade Deficit
    9. 911 and Usama Bin Ladans family
    10. Bush National Guard Records, Non-service
    11. Bogus Iraq-Niger Yellowcake Uranium Claims

    October 23, 2007 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  12. pat huntington ny

    Yes, he sure does.

    October 23, 2007 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  13. Barry Gold, Orange, CA

    Rep. Rangel is an example of why we need term limits. Arrogant, contemtuous, racist, and un-American.

    Using his "service to his country" as his teflon, has it's limits. He has done NOTHING to help his own race, but call others racist.

    There is a term called, "the loyal opposition". This refers to people who are in different political parties but can hang together for the overall good of the nation. Rep. Rangel CANNOT do this, and therefore relinquises his right to cast stones at Rudy, when he defends his good buddy Democrat Rep. Barney Frank, who has done much worse.

    His arrogance and cheap shot capabilities are unmatched, excepts maybe by another New Yorker, Sen. Schumer.

    October 23, 2007 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  14. Scott Washington, DC

    Rangel is a bigot.

    October 23, 2007 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  15. therealist

    New York Rep. Charlie Rangel, a prominent supporter of Hillary Clinton, has made his fortune off the pretence of helping the black community. While Charlie is now a millionaire, the majority of his black constituents are worse off now than when Charlie first entered office 30 YEARS AGO. The black family, education, prison rates, poverty, all worse now because of Charlie’s continued calls for preferential treatment over equality. My heart aches for the black constituents in Charlie's district that are still waiting for the government to take care of them..

    October 23, 2007 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  16. Andy, New York, New York

    Giuliani embarrasses who 'us'? Democrats? Blacks? New Yorkers? Giluiani married three times: BAD! Bill Clinton cheated multiple times: GOOD! I guess Rangel is getting too old to reason rationally and should give up his seat or continue swishing in his own mess. Hey, Charlie, how come since the DEMS took over CONGRESS, nothing great is happening? Bush's ratings: 30%!!! Congres' ratings: 15%!!! Who is the bigger loser since the 2006 coup? Not you! You embarrass me, a New Yorker!

    October 23, 2007 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  17. DJ, Los Angeles

    3 times is a bit much, I would have to agree with Rangel.

    October 23, 2007 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  18. Jayson, Beale AFB, CA

    I guess I will try this again.

    Which is more embarassing? Being married 3 times or being from the party who is stirring up problems with Turkey? The Democrats have no problems attempting to pass a resolution condemning the Turkish people for attrocities that happened when it was still part of the Ottoman Empire 80+ years ago. They have no problems doing this knowing full well that the the Turkish military is close to invading Northern Iraq which would destabilize what is currently a stable part of the country. Leave it to the Democrats to prove how much worse we could be with them running this war.

    October 23, 2007 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  19. Olga, Chula Vista, CA

    Mr. Rangel, it's not about the woman staying with her husband, it's about the rape and abuse of women by her husband and she standing by and letting it happen and than threatening those abused/raped women not to tell. Is that less "wrong" than Mr. Giuluiani marrying three times?

    October 23, 2007 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  20. jfz, napa, ca

    John says: "Rudy was an average MAYOR at best. Why does anyone possibly think he is ready to be president??" I ask: Hillary was a longterm resident of Arkansas not New York, why would anyone think SHE should be president?

    October 23, 2007 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  21. Richard, London

    Rudy Giuliani’s entire basis for running for president is his tenure as mayor of New York. For starters, jumping from mayor to president is a huge leap, and I don’t think anyone has ever done it (if I’m wrong, apologies to whoever pulled it off). And today you have to wonder how America, embroiled in a dozen major international issues, can elect a mayor with no experience in national policy.
    But even as mayor, Giuliani’s record is actually pretty weak. He picked a police chief who was mob-connected, and who is now headed for federal charges - tax fraud, bribery, taking money from the Mafia. He hired an unqualified crony for the NY Housing Development Corporation who later went to jail for child porn, and his key supporter in the Senate has been exposed using prostitutes both in Washington and Louisiana. Later he hired a child molester at his law firm. What on earth would happen if he were to pick a cabinet, when his first recommendation for the cabinet was the mob-cop guy?
    His urban reconstruction effort displaced low-income families to make room for big corporations. He indulged in racial profiling, and angered big chunks of his community for his support of the NYPD during the aftermath of the Amadou Diallo shooting. He tried so often to restrict free speech against his opponents that he lost 35 lawsuits on that one issue alone - thirty-five! The Farmersville garbage scandal forced him to quit the 2000 Senate race, and his other scandals forced him to take himself out of consideration for the Homeland Security job (among other things, he had to annul his first marriage because he was found to have married his first cousin; he dumped his second wife via a press conference rather than break the news in person - he was having an affair with the woman who would become his third wife). And of course there was his lousy performance on and after 911, which we will address later.
    Giuliani’s record as mayor is actually pretty bad, but that doesn’t stop him from claiming things he never actually did. In addition to claiming on scant evidence that he’s a terrorism expert, he claims credit for reducing crime in New York, which actually began during the tenure of his predecessor, Dinkins, because of Dinkins’ policies (and enhanced by Clinton‘s decision to fund additional police officers). He claimed credit to crafting the strategy for destroying the Mafia in New York, which was actually the work of Professor Bob Blakey at Cornell. He claimed he spent as much time at Ground Zero as the first responders; he later had to admit he lied. Giuliani also claims he knows more about foreign policy than McCain (Senate Armed Services Committee) or Biden (Foreign Relations Committee Chairman), but then he had to admit that he didn’t know North Korea was much further along than Iran in developing nuclear weapons!
    One particularly galling whopper: Giuliani spend a ton of money on ads claiming he turned a deficit into a surplus in New York. Actually he left a bigger deficit than he started with, and it would have been bigger even if 911 hadn’t happened. The next mayor, Bloomberg, was forced take extraordinary measures to save the city from collapse. How did this happen? Giuliani indulged in the same brain-dead wishful thinking Bush has indulged in, passing irresponsible tax cuts, occasionally raiding pension funds for money (which experts called irresponsible); this means that if Rudy wins the White House we will have 4-8 more years of suicidal fiscal policies and more debt.
    The Republicans seriously believe this guy is fit to be commander in chief. He and they must be stopped. We can’t have another four years of incompetent leadership.

    Rudy’s entire reason for running - 911 - is a very shaky area for him, because his performance during the crisis was actually sloppy. Giuliani claims he has been a student of Islamic terrorism for 30 years, but he ignored the threat from Islamic extremists in New York even after the first WTC attack, and after 911 he had to ask Kissinger who bin Laden was. His decision to locate the Office of Emergency Management headquarters in a long-identified target for a terrorist attack at the World Trade Center damaged the city’s response - the center was of course wiped out. The diesel fuel tanks placed at 7 World Trade Center to power the command center actually caused the building to collapse and burn. Firefighters were using exactly the same kind of radios that failed after the 1993 WTC bombing: 343 firefighters didn’t hear the evacuation order and died in the towers; Giuliani later claimed falsely they heard the order but ignored it. Ten days after
    911 he claimed the air was safe to breathe despite the presence of serious contaminants; he botched the air quality issue at Ground Zero even though he knew there was a safety problem, and firefighters lacked proper protective gear and were insufficiently protected against pollutants (contrariwise at the Pentagon the workers were properly equipped and no one got sick). After 911, turf wars, sweetheart deals and Giuliani’s personal projects impeded the handling of the crisis further. Victims’ families complain they were shut out of the process of designing the 911 memorial. By 2007 Giuliani had to limit his appearances in New York because of protest from victims’ families, police and firefighters. Relatives and firemen said they didn’t want Giuliani even to speak at the 911 ceremonies in September 2007, saying it would be a “disgrace”.
    Let’s remember that Giuliani is a terrorism victim, not a terrorism expert - there’s a difference.
    911 is his whole reason for running, and his handling of the crisis was lousy. The Republicans seriously believe he’s fit to take the White House. He and they must be stopped. Eight years of incompetence is all we can stand.

    As the campaign picks up momentum, we are learning more about what kind of candidate - and president - Rudy will be. Just as he lies about his New York record, he lies about the 2008 race, claiming the Democrats will slash military budgets, impose socialism, and cause more people to die from terrorism. He hired the same smear team that crushed a black Senate candidate, Harold Ford, in the Tennessee Senate race by implying he had sex with a Playboy bunny (the same team that smeared McCain for Bush in South Carolina in 2000); so more lies and smears are sure to come. But his campaign is way behind the curve: he projected 100-125 million in campaign fundraising this year but as of July had only 33 - an ominous sign for a guy who as president must sign off on budget projections - and a key supporter is the Senator who was exposed as a customer of the DC Madam.
    And that is before we get to his policies - he wants to ban late-term abortion, opposes same-sex marriage, supports school vouchers, supports torture, supports school prayer, supports putting the Ten Commandments in schools, and promises to appoint Scalia-like judges to the bench. We don’t, however, know where he stands on immigration because he has flipflopped all over the place. In fact we usually don’t know where he stand on anything - Republicans in Iowa already complain that Giuliani only talks about one issue, terrorism (and that he has a temper that is out of control).
    After his tenure as mayor he did some rather striking things too: in addition to representing heavily-polluting coal plants and Big Tobacco, his firm represented Purdue Pharma when the drug maker was nailed for lying about Oxycontin; the federal prosecutor who was handling the case was threatened by the White House to back off the investigation, and when the lawyer said no, the White House, only days later, put him on the list of US attorneys to be fired.
    A number of Republicans think he’s unfit for office. One might expect that from the far right, which has already rejected him because of abortion and his flipflops on some of their favorite issues. But even Al D’Amato – no reactionary – admitted that sponsoring Giuliani for a prosecutor job in New York was “the biggest mistake I ever made”.
    Finally, my favorite Rudy quote: “Freedom is not a concept in which people can do anything they want, be anything they can be. Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do.”
    The Republicans seriously think he’s fit for the top job. He and they must be stopped.

    October 23, 2007 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  22. Abe, Chicago IL

    Rangel will do a Stark and appologize tomorrow!

    So is it better to learn from your mistakes and try something different or is it better to keep with the same old lies?

    Hillary voted twice with Bush (Iraq and now Iran). So is this about Giuliani or Gulability?

    October 23, 2007 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  23. Anthony, Folsom CA

    As a Democrat I'm really ashamed that one of my own is taking a page from the Karl Rove playbook, here. People can choose to judge Guiliani by his personal life, but they don't need prompting from his opponents. Besides, Rudy isn't really ready to run the country, and personal attacks just distract us from what really needs to be examined. Take Clarence Thomas for example – everyone was so focused on the harassment claims, the fact that he was a terrible choice for the job for reasons related to his legal philosophies was overlooked, and we've had to live with the consequences. I think Hillary is probably a mean person by nature, and it's starting to show in her campaign. Edwards seems like a good guy – why is he polling so low?

    October 24, 2007 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  24. therealist

    Charlie Rangel and the liberal 110th Congress is the embarrassment...

    October 24, 2007 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  25. Tony Martin

    "The Clintons have so much mud in their past... Allegations of rape, embezzling, just to name a few."

    Yea, allegations. And you know what? The republicans spent over $40 million of your tax dollars investigating, and came up with Monicagate. So when can we investigate Bush/Cheney for $40 million? Answer: never.

    October 25, 2007 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
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