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. James Rueckert West Jordan, Utah

    I find it amazing that Charlie Rangel is showing such ignorance and bigotry toward the Mormons. He wants to get muddy and attack Guiliani, and then tries to slam him by saying that is problematic marriages is systematic of the people of the Mormon church. It looks like Charlie needs to spend some time with Mormons, then maybe he can become educated enough to cease making such bigoted statements. This really makes him appear as one who should not be controlling our country with his votes.

    October 23, 2007 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  2. JB Boston MA

    First and foremost, staying with a man who has continually cheated, makes the woman look weak. And, everyone knows that without the promise of power, Hillary would have been long gone. This is only going to hurt Hillary, not Guiliani. Dumb move!

    Also, everyone be prepared for this garbage. Hill knows she can't be the one criticizing so she has someone else do it for her. God help us if this woman is elected.

    I still wonder why dems would want to elect someone so polarizing when R's have basically said they will not work with her. Which means 4 years of nothing getting done. Why not choose a less polarizing person? 50% disapproval ratings are worse than Bill or George when elected.

    October 23, 2007 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  3. Chris, FL

    I agree with you on Rudy, but what exactly do you mean by "especially if you're running against a Mormon"? I hope you weren't being derogatory about Mormons dude.

    October 23, 2007 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  4. Anonymous, Denver, CO

    I think Guiliani is a phony and is not even remotely qualified to serve as commander in chief or president. He was not a "hero" on 9/11 – he merely did what any responsible elected official would've done under similar circumstances. As for his multiple marriages, I don't think that those should be a factor in determining his suitability for office. Just as Mrs. Clinton's troubled marriage and her personal decision to stay in it should not be a factor in determining whether or not she is qualified to lead this nation.

    October 23, 2007 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  5. Andrew, Leonardtown MD

    This from people who are supporting a woman who stayed w/ her husband after he cheated and publicly humiliated her. Isn't this the pot calling the kettle black?

    October 23, 2007 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  6. Terry, El Paso, TX

    Americans as a people are not great examples to the world of marital skill or fidelity, but is that any way to judge a person's ability and capacity to be a good President?

    Of our greatest Presidents, Washington, Lincoln, T. Roosevelt, Wilson, and Truman were, as far as I recall from long-ago history classes, faithful husbands. However, F. Roosevelt, Kennedy, and Johnson were less than perfectly faithful, though they all left devoted children and devoted widows. Among recent presidents in the "good" husband category are Nixon, Ford, Carter, Bush (the good one), and Bush (the other one). Reagan's marriages and difficulties with his chidren reminds me of Giuliani's family life. And, we all remember President Clinton's marital difficulties.

    The faithful, monogamous, lifetime-long marriage is simply not possible or desirable for many of us, including many of our Presidents. So what? What quality of being a good spouse is necessary for being a good politician or statesman? What percentage of CEO's remain faithfully married for a lifetime? What about university presidents? Generals? Ministers? Novelists? Mayors? Not many, I suggest.

    Of course, Rangel doesn't care how many times Giuliani has been married or how many of his own children now dislike him. He is just poking a stick at the ubiquitous Republican hypocrisy to see what crawls out.

    Of the current crop of candidates, I'd be willing to bet the rent money that Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Romney, and Mr. Huckabee have been faithful, monogamous spouses. I would not, however, risk any cash betting on the chastity or fidelity of any of the others.

    October 23, 2007 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  7. Thank god for the south!!

    So Rangel calls Hillarys union a Marriage? So, the extra activity Billy Boy has done in and out of the White House is not a embarrasment. Hillary is a joke and so is her charade marriage of convience. A real wife may have forgiven once but numerous times. Don't New York voters have more challenging issues that Rangel could put more effort into?

    October 23, 2007 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  8. Ron, TX

    Bill Clinton cheated on Hillary multiple times, and she stayed with him. Strong women don't put up with that kind of garbage from their husbands. She can pretend to be for that "feminist" ideology- a strong woman president, but she's obviously trying to burn both sides of the candle.

    For a leader of our great nation, what is worse? Do I want someone who will not stand up for themselves and settles, or do I want someone who has trouble finding a spouse they truly love? Marriage IS about love after all. Marriage ISN'T supposed to be about political connections.

    October 23, 2007 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  9. ANON

    Hillary was smart to stick with Bill. In the back of her mind she would never trust him again. When all is well again in America she will leave him. She is not stupid that is why she will win the presidency with Bill Richardson.

    October 23, 2007 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  10. John, Rochester New York

    I find it very offensive that this man is calling out Rudy Guiliani for his marital record while at the same time proposed to congress that the late James Brown be honored for his contributions to music and society. Isn't James Brown also a drug addict, ex-con wife beater? Tell me who the hypocrite really is. This guy is just another big mouthed moronic DAN.

    October 23, 2007 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  11. Betty Toronto Canada

    RIGHT ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 23, 2007 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  12. Steve, Salt Lake City, Utah

    We have to look at ourselves as a society and a nation. Are we looking at the hard issues or at fluff? Who cares about a candidate's personal life? Everybody and I mean everybody has skeletons in their closet. No one is perfect. You'll never find a perfect person to run this country. Remember this. The United States is not a Democracy like most people believe we are. Our country is a Republic. Does our vote really count? If so then why do we have an Electoral College to elect our president?

    October 23, 2007 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  13. Joan Isenberb, Delavan, Wisconsin 53115

    Political tastelessness is well known.

    However, Hillary standing by a louse like Bill is questionable since she had a career and money to fall back on. Other women are not so fortunate.

    Personally, I won't vote for any of the candidates.

    October 23, 2007 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  14. Kris , Holly Michigan

    Please.."she married one man and stayed married"..If Hillary Clinton would have divorced Bill Clinton instead of staying married for political gain she might have had a real chance at the White House but when it comes right down to it Hillary will not win, even with all the money in the world. Besides she tried to run the world once and failed.

    October 23, 2007 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  15. Christian, Tampa FL

    While Rangel's comments seem a bit insensitive, he has a good point that the President's personal life is under intense scrutiny by the entire planet.

    I also hold it against Giuliani and his wife that together they have six marriages under their belts. Even more than that, I am disturbed by his relationship with his children.

    I think the President should show fidelity and personal stability in his personal and familial relationships, because it does reflect something about their character.

    October 23, 2007 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  16. Wade, Bronx, NY

    I thought the Republican Party was the party of family values. I suppose like everything else, only when it is convenient.

    October 23, 2007 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  17. Mark R. Fort Lauderdale FL

    Well, I personally don't agree with attack politics. However, Giuliani started this with his personal attacks on Hillary and Bill Clinton. He's also trying to represent evangelicals, and that's just going to be hard to do when you've been married three times. He would do well toodtsy on his personal message and stop attacking Hillary. HILLARY '08

    October 23, 2007 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  18. John, Houston, Texas

    Is it worse to have found 3 people to love and to have the guts to move on after the love has died or to stand by a man who repeatedly lies, decieves, cheats, walks all over you and makes a mockery of your marriage.

    October 23, 2007 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  19. Lee, Orlando Fl

    Giuliani spokeswoman Maria Comella said, "This kind of ugly, personal attack isn't even worth a response."
    Really – Funny how he attacked Clinton when he was in Florida. I am not a Clinton fan but I am tired of the hypocrisy of this man.

    October 23, 2007 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  20. J. Smith, New Haven, CT

    I think we as a society need to worry more about the budget and healthcare for the poor. I think marital issues are none of America's business. Its not applicable nor requested on a job application, and should not be applicable for a public office.

    October 23, 2007 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  21. SR, Cleveland, OH

    Will someone ask Hillary what she means when she says she has a faith.
    What and who does she beleive in explicitly? An answer "this is a private or personal matter" does not cut it with the American voters.
    She used to acompany Bill to various churches as he waved with a Bible in his hand. Does Hillary beleive in the Bible?

    Will someone ask the candidates "Have you ever had an abortion or had a partner who has had an abortion?"

    I would like to hear an answer from Rudi and Hillary explicitly and specifically.

    October 23, 2007 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  22. Kate, Aurora CO

    "ugly personal attack"? What a hypocrite. And I am sorry but Rangel is absolutely correct. How can conservative Republicans criticize Hillary for her marriage woes when she did exactly what they preach? She forgave her husband and stayed married unlike Giuliani who not only has been married three times but one of those times to his first cousin. Hillary has raised an intelligent and admirable daughter who remains very close to both her parents while Giuliani's children not only NOT support him but don't even speak to him. How is he an image for the conservative Republican base? What family values has this man displayed? I'm not a Hillary supporter but I do admire her faith towards her marriage and her perseverence despite the personal attacks.

    October 23, 2007 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  23. Jo, Atlanta GA

    That's not all there is.

    It is a point bcos the same religious right hate Hillary for forgiving her husband but it is ok for a Rudy to marry his Cousin and two more.

    Where does God stand here? If they are true to their faith, vote for mitt Romey. Or the gun carry Batist Pastor.

    October 23, 2007 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  24. Mike Piazza, New York NY

    Clinton politics at their finest.

    October 23, 2007 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  25. Beverly, Pittsburgh, PA


    The GOP took 'personal attacks' to a new level when they spent millions of taxpayers dollars and hired special prosecutor Ken Starr.

    Yes, let's hold Guliani's personal life to the light. If he can't be held accountable for his personal actions, what can we expect of him if he is elected president.

    October 23, 2007 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
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