January 7th, 2010
09:10 AM ET
5 years ago

Giuliani: Obama needs 'major correction' on terror response

(CNN) – Echoing other high profile conservatives in the wake of the attempted Christmas Day terrorism attack, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani told CNN Wednesday President Obama waited far too long to react to the botched bombing and needs to make a "major correction" in the way he is dealing with terrorism.

Speaking on CNN's Larry King Live, Giuliani said the time it took the president to react to the attempted attack may "convince our enemies we are not ready."

President Obama first addressed the issue from his vacation spot in Hawaii three days after the attempted attack, calling for a complete review of the incident and the country's airline security policies. He then gave a public assessment of those reviews in a statement Tuesday, saying they had uncovered that "U.S. intelligence had uncovered numerous "red flags" prior to the attack."

"All this is ten days too late," Giuliani said. "This something you react to immediately. Not after your vacation. The president of the United States, when there is a potential massive attack on the country, should have been on top of it immediately."

Giuliani, who late last month announced he would not run for either governor or senator in New York this year, also faulted the administration for not classifying the bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, as an enemy combatant.

"The minute you [don't designate him an enemy combatant], you cut off the ability to question him," Giuliani said. "I don't know the inside story. He was talking until he went out and got him a lawyer. You want to talk to this guy for a month. You want to keep him for a month or two get to get you a the intelligence he is going give you."

Giuliani's comments closely echo those of former Vice President Dick Cheney, who released a statement saying the president is pretending there is not a war on terrorism.

Speaking to Larry King, Giuliani defended Cheney's criticisms, though said he disagreed with some of them.

"Nobody was concerned about that when everybody criticized President Bush day in and day out including testimonies calling him names when he was trying to prosecute the war in Iraq, and Vice President Cheney is entitled to his view."


Filed under: President Obama • Rudy Giuliani
soundoff (127 Responses)
  1. Susan

    I appreciate President Obama's calm and cool and effective reaction to serious problems. He quietly goes about his job without terrifying the public. Bush's administration was like the cold war era. We expected to be nuked at any moment. I don't want to raise my children under an umbrella of fear. I trust the President to do what needs to be done. I did not trust Bush or Cheney. With them everything was political. Everything was headline news. Everything was image making. They were ineffective fear mongers and I thank God everyday they are no longer in control of our destiny.

    January 7, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  2. Joe, Georgia

    Another comment from a tired bitter Republican hack. I really hope that the American people see that Republicans are much less concerned about the safety of the nation that they are about how to make some cheap political points. They are so power hungry they have no shame or decency.

    January 7, 2010 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  3. Brian

    Oh, please. If Obama had immediately given a response, the Republicans would be attacking him for talking before the facts are known, and giving too much information to al Qaeda. No matter what he does, they will attack him. Why is this considered news?

    January 7, 2010 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  4. Contempt for Corpublicans

    Rudy Rudy Rudy,
    Obama did exactly as he should have. He assessed the situation, got a team looking for flaw in the system, and reported that to the public. I don't want a President to react I want a President to ACT responsibly. The suspect is in custody and the system, put in place by corpublicans, is being repaired.

    We saw what it was like to have an executive REACT during your administration. What a fiasco!!!!

    January 7, 2010 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  5. Phil

    Really?
    This from the man who ignored calls for reform to the NYPD, NYFD and the Transit Authority after the 1st WTC bombings? Who located his disaster command center at the WTC (which was known to be a target of terrorists)? Who lied and covered up threats from airborne contaminents of Ground Zero to the Fire and Police personell and to NYC citizens?? That man is now telling the President how he should react to a failed terrorist attack?
    Talk about your hypocrites!!

    January 7, 2010 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  6. America Shrugged

    Oh please. Another naysayer coming out of the wood work to criticize this administration. No harm in finding out the facts before going before the American people and having everyone run for cover like the GOP would like us to do. Again, the GOP only deal in knee jerk reaction.. How many days did President Bush wait to make a speech after the shoe bomber? Where was the shoe bomber tried, what were the charges against him? Again, GOP just wanting to prove they are tougher on security, when in fact, 9/11 happened 9 months into the new adm. Where does Guliani come up with Obama not reacting for 10 days after the attack?

    January 7, 2010 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  7. Will

    I'm sick of Giuliani! He is trying so hard to remain relevant and in the news. If he is so brilliant, why didn't he win the Republican nomination for Presidency? Shut up and go play golf!

    January 7, 2010 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  8. Grahame

    Gulliani knows nothing. As usual he is just parroting what he expects the GOP want to hear. He's not running EVER because he knows he can't win. The far right wingnut jobs will never allow a divorced man to represent them. The Republicans are an embarassment the the United States of America. Hey! Republicans it's supposed to be UNITED STATES. What have you lot done recently to bring that about.?

    January 7, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  9. sonny chapman

    Obama should look at the 12 minute tape of George W. going into shock after being told of the 9-11-01 attack while reading "My Pet Goat". And then he look at the tape of Bush sitting on the porch at his ranch with his cowboy boots crossed while reading a Pres. Daily Briefing entitled "Bin Laden Intends to Strike INSIDE the U.S.A." which even mentions the use of hijacked commercial planes. And then he can invade & occupy for 8 yrs. Iraq, who had nothing to do with the 9-11 attack. That's what Rudy meant when he said "Thank God George W. is President". Funny, Osama bin Laden said the same thing.

    January 7, 2010 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  10. Teena

    So what do these republicans want Obama to do–bomb every country with a radical muslim terrorist?

    January 7, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  11. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    These radicals are more then likely living here in America planning attacks we need to find the ones that are here on the no fly list and put them in cages.

    January 7, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  12. patsy

    Just wantto say I'm fed up with our goverment, as most of the people in the country. It' a shame we can't throw every one of our elected officials out of office. There not there to represent the people anymore, there in there just for the fame and glory and name recognition, and the BIG PENSION they get from our tax money and us low income people just wither and die. They could care less about the american people. Yes it,s a sad state our country is in. As for Nancy Pelosi, she is in it for the fame and glory. She just wants to see her face on camera. If they want to shove their so called health care on us, they should also be made to take it. FED UP!

    January 7, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  13. anthony

    Did Bush react immediately to 9/11? No. He did not know what he was reacting to. Obama did not know whether the bomber was on his own or working for Al Qaeda. The best thing a president should do is to gather all the facts before making policy responses. One thing Republicans had failed to mention: Obama had actually provided military and intelligence help to the Yemen government to fight the people who planned the attack before the attempt occurred. The U.S. military worked with Yemen forces to attack Al Qaeda training camps on December 17. Do you still think that Obama does not know that a war was going on, Mr. Cheney? Do you approve Obama's actions before the attempted attack, Mr. Giuliani?

    January 7, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  14. JR

    I find it apalling that "ghouliani" and the rest of them think that they can tell my president how to respond, what to say, and how to think!

    He is the President of the United States people! I believe he has earned the right to think on his own by now.

    January 7, 2010 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  15. Roger

    It took GW 6 days to briefly talk to the nation after the shoe bomber, where was Giuliani then (probably having one of his affairs). Both GW & DICK are war criminals, they should be prosecuted, they are liars and deserve every critical remark they get....they destroyed our economy, housing, created bankruptcies for the the average american, created the worst unemployment since the depression, & got us into 2 wars (one of which was based on Cheney lies) so I do not want & republican lecturing me about anything....

    January 7, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  16. matt

    CNN says "echoing" and this idoit says himself, " I don't know the inside story" then why are you talking. Did he criticize Bush after Katrina, that's right it wasn't he state that was effected. Hey Giuliani, until you know the inside story, you should tell ALLl repubs including the FORMER VP,Hannity, Limbaugh to shut thier pie holes.

    January 7, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  17. Bob in Pa

    BO needs a major correction period. The man just is just not in touch with reality on too many subjects.

    January 7, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  18. MB

    What a hack Giuliani has turned into. His criticisms were so disingenuous, off base and hypocritical. He said Obama waited 10 days to respond, when in fact, it was only three days. After Larry King mentioned that Bush didn't respond to the 'Shoe bomber' incident until 6 days, Rudy defended Bush, "Well, 6 days is less than 10 and if I'm not mistaken, that happened before 9/11."

    Rudy, you are grossly mistaken. And its easy to see thru your false indignation as nothing but partisan opportunism. Way to politicize a potentially tragic event!

    January 7, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  19. Tom in Va

    Rudy needs to take a good hard look in the mirror.

    Hey Rudy... remember right after 9-11 you were screaming to have terrorists put on trial publicly in NYC "to show the world that you can't attack America and expect to get away with it."? Remember that?

    Now you joined the ranks of the Frightened in saying that they should NOT be tried in NYC. "Too dangerous."

    When did you become such a frightened child? Fewer and fewer take you seriously now.

    January 7, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  20. Dana

    Let’s be fair. The Bush administration prosecuted Richard Reid (shoe bomber) in civil court. He is now serving a life sentence. Bush prosecuted around 200 to 400 terrorist in civil court. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab should be prosecuted the same. He should be given a fair trail and with the overwhelming evidence given the max. Bush also released around 600 from Gitmo. It appears criminal proceeding produce a longer “sentence” then being an enemy combatant

    January 7, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  21. Travis

    Too funny, considering Bushie fiddled while New Orleans drowned and also kept reading that children's book during an actual massive attack. Go away Rudy! You're time is over.

    January 7, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  22. dude palin

    There isn't a soul on this earth that cares at what this man has to say !
    Rudy,please move on with your life.................

    January 7, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  23. Speaking for Liberals

    Hmmmm? When Richard C Reed, also known as 'The Shoe Bomber' failed in a terror attack it took Bush 10 days to respond and take action.
    What are you trying to say? That Bush and the republicans are better at handling terror? Your record does not support your statement.
    "The minute you [don't designate him an enemy combatant], you cut off the ability to question him,"
    But reports indicate that officials have gotten "actionable information" from this guy. He's spilling his guts.
    Day by day, republicans and conservatives display their hypocrisy and prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that there is NOTHING President Obama and his administration can do that would satisfy the opposition.

    January 7, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  24. katiec

    Will the hypocrasy, distortions, lies and lack of responsibility ever cease by those of the republican party??
    They evidently do not see or care how disgusted the American people are becoming over their unAmerican, party first, win at any cost tactics while totally ignoring what they were elected to do, work for the survival of us and our country.
    They are truly on their way to becoming our countries most dangerous domestic terrorists.

    January 7, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  25. Eric, Ann Arbor, Michigan

    You also need a President that actually acknowledges that the US is at war with muslim extremists (Obama wouldn't even mention the word "terrorist") before you keep the Country safe.

    I don't know if it's because he's a former (or maybe still) a muslim or if he is just a far left liberal that doesn't take keeping the Country safe (in the oath he took when inaugurated, he promised to protect the American people) that important, but he MUST.

    His plan to prosecute the terrorists in US Courts, instead of Militarily, is a HUGE mistake. Those people are not criminals, they are TERRORISTS!

    January 7, 2010 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
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