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. Catherine Saint Paul Mn


    October 23, 2007 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  2. Jeff - Jacksonville, FL

    I'm not a big fan of Giuliani. Ok, he did a good job in NYC as mayor, cleaning the place up, and after 9/11 showed real leadership. But it certainly doesn't need to be the cornerstone of his campaign. Look at what happened the last time 9/11 and fear was the basis of a presidential campaign.

    But give the guy a break! He's been married three times, and is using calls from his wife as a gimmick on campaign stops (it's too obvious to not be staged..I wonder if it's even really her). But why should we care what he does in his personal life. How many presidents have we had that had mistresses, extra-marital affairs and the like? It'd probably be a shorter list to name those that didn't.

    Ronald Reagan, the crown jewel of the Republican Pantheon of Presidents ™, was the only president thus far to have been married more than once. Nobody ever really said anything about that.

    Instead of worrying so much about who did what with who in the bedroom, and when, why can't we just have a campaign that talks about the important things that matter...the issues facing this country that affect ALL of us!

    It's important for the president to have good character, I will concede that point, but it's more important that he (or she) can do a good job!

    The attacks come when your opponents realize that they can't do the job as well as you could, so they tear you down instead of building themselves up.

    October 23, 2007 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  3. John Bensted, Pittsburgh, PA

    If Rangel had his way, NYC would have been bankrupt a long time ago, crime would run rampant and we would be contemplating walling-off the city. (Like Escape from New York movie.)

    October 23, 2007 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  4. Linda McDermott, Chicago Illinois

    A Hillary Clinton supporter is the last person who should criticize anyone about "family values." Hillary Clinton stood by while her husband had dozens of affairs with numerous women throughout her marriage. Hillary's message to women was to tolerate serial philandering as long as you can use the sympathy you receive from others to gain political office despite no achievements of your own.

    October 23, 2007 09:54 am at 9:54 am |

    Rangel, You make a good congressman. People are listening to you.

    October 23, 2007 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  6. Harry, NY NY

    Does anyone else see the irony of comparing the Clinton marriage (aka. ripe with stories and lawsuits around infidelity) and comparing it to Giuliani's?

    This is like a Poppy Seed grower lecturing a drug user.

    Once again, common sense has flown the coop.

    October 23, 2007 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  7. Robert, Houston TX

    There really isn't anything in Hillary's personal life that I've heard of that would be embarrassing. You can't blame her for the sins of her husband.

    And Guliani does have many issues that voters will want to talk about. Doesn't really seem like a vicious attack to me. Just getting the ball rolling on what was inevitable anyway.

    Guliani has more than just the multiple marriages to talk about to the people who might vote for him. How about marching in gay rights parades, having possible ties to the mafia in NY, and there's that cross dressing photo as well...

    October 23, 2007 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  8. Brad, Memphis, TN

    I completely agree with this! Our nation needs a leader that is respected enough that his or her spouse is someone that has been with them, stayed with them, in the good and the bad times. If we elect a leader that can not even keep 1 wife/husband then how are we to expect that he can lead a nation full of thousands of people. I think our nation not only needs a strong leader, but a respectable and MORAL leader, regardless of religious thoughts. It is time that we start acting together, acting right, and electing a leader that can't lead himself/herself's own family is just outright ridiculous!

    October 23, 2007 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  9. Steve, Tampa, FL

    I listened for years while President Clinton's marital affair/s and transgression/s were declared just that; Personal and not relevant to the management of the country. Same thing applies to Mr. Giuliani.
    On the flip side, yes Mrs. Clinton "stayed the course" and "stuck it out through all the problems", much like President Bush is doing in Irag, although in his instance perseverance is not an attribute.

    October 23, 2007 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  10. stephanie, Bloomington, il

    What should she have to be ashamed of??... How about the fact that she has openly admitted to being with other women and having an open marriage!!!! I think that if she becomes president she would make it openly ok, to have gay marriage and other things that are morally wrong... Besides the fact, I think she is a nasty person... She brings shame to her state and shame to the country... She brigns so much shame that her own husband is not with her... He is out doing things for other countries.

    October 23, 2007 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  11. Jake T. S.

    i don't understand how Giuliani's personal marriage life correlates to his leadership. FDR, one of the greatest leaders of the United States engaged in affairs and his wife was his fifth cousin. These people are human and have flaws just like everyone else. If we are going to criticize, lets at least focus on what he plans to do to lead the country into the future.

    October 23, 2007 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  12. New Bern, NC

    Ha ha this is very striking it is almost a certainty that Gullian will lose this election. How can Hilliary Clinton look more moral than Rudy but she does because she stay committed to her vows last time i check bill and hill were still together. It makes you wonder what was so bad in rudys marrages for him to get a divorce three times! could it be worst than what hilliary went through? I doubt it!

    October 23, 2007 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  13. JDS N.C.

    As an ex NY you are an embarrasment. You have accomplished nothing that is note worthy. Rudy put NYC back on the world map as a desirable place to live and to do business. Rangel is a loser.

    October 23, 2007 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  14. Tracy, Atlanta, Georgia

    What this man is really saying is "women should stand by their man regardless of what they do to her", then to top it off he just has to bring "God" into the speech.

    What a total shovenist.

    October 23, 2007 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  15. Leon, Richmond, VA

    I think Giuliani's relationship woes are a HUGE black mark on his candidacy.
    That said – I am a life long Democrat and I think staying in a sham marriage for political gain (i.e. Billary) is even more dispicable. She wants to appear strong and independant, but that just can't be the case when everyone knows that your husband has had lover after lover and publicly humiliated you time and again and you have stood by spinelessly.

    October 23, 2007 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  16. Wayne, Greenville, TX

    I still can't understand why Rusy Giuliani was considered the scum of the earth on September 10, 2001 and 24 hours later was elevated to sainthood. He did nothing that day that any other elected official would have done in his place. In fact, the rescue operations would have gone much faster (and fewer lives would have been lost) if Rudy hadn't insisted on locating the city's emergency command center in the World Trade Center (a known terrorist target – remember the 1993 bombing?) and ignored the advice of others and equipping the police and firefighters with radios that made it impossible for cops to talk to firement and vice versa. And he's made millions since 9/11 through speaking engagements and consulting. For Rudy, 9/11 has been a cash cow that has allowed him to reap money over the bodies of thousands of innocent Americans.

    And that's why I could NEVER support him for any office in any way, shape, or form.

    October 23, 2007 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  17. Steve, New York

    This from a guy who fought to have the draft kicked back in??? RIGHT. Sorry Charley you’re about cooked. Also, I must ask what Charlie Rangel has actually accomplished for this country?

    October 23, 2007 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  18. Ed, NY, NY

    oh please, Rangel!! you embarrass us! not just New Yorkers but your own party. You try and prioritze and pass funding through for buildings that will bear your name. conceited jerk.

    October 23, 2007 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  19. Victor Totaro Philadelphia, Pa.

    Congressman Charlie Rangel has always been a big bag of wind. Does CNN know what he has accomplished? Having that piece of nothing talk about Rudy on your station is a double waste of time for me. I will no longer watch your station. I will no longer sympathize with black causes.

    October 23, 2007 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  20. James, Syracuse, NY

    hmmm. noticed the mormon remark, so Rangel=bigot.

    October 23, 2007 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  21. Robert R. Upstate, NY

    Gimme a break Rangel. If that is all you can say about Giuliani then good for him. People who live in a glass house should not throw stones.

    October 23, 2007 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  22. Raymond, Orlando, FL

    Look at this guy trying to get in the news with his remarks. Sorry Chuck, but you are not too relevant. people may think you are, including yourself, but really you aren't.

    October 23, 2007 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  23. Daniel

    Rangel is just voicing the huge challenges Giuliani faces... the same challenges that are making the Religious Right abandon him and run after Romney.

    October 23, 2007 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  24. Independent, Albany, NY

    Isn't it obvious that Hillary stuck with Bill for political gain? Wouldn't a strong woman find a man who won't cheat on her, not just once, but multiple times? At least Rudy knew when to call it quits and didn't put up a front that he had a good marriage. What happens when Russia or China or Iran do something to negatively impact the U.S.? If Hillary were president would she roll over and take it submissively, as in the case with Bill? If we are basing someone's political ability on their marriages, then it seems that Rudy would be better suited to deal with a regime/person who has wronged us- Doubtful he would roll over and take it like your girl Hillary.

    October 23, 2007 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  25. JB, Oakland, CA

    He does have a point. I've been wondering this whole campaign how the right and Fox News can be so in love with a candidate who wears drag, has had 2 failed marraiges, and who's kids don't even plan on voting for him.

    October 23, 2007 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
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