Giuliani: Obama dropped the ball on Sandy
November 3rd, 2012
11:15 AM ET
6 years ago

Giuliani: Obama dropped the ball on Sandy

(CNN) - Rudy Giuliani, a former New York City mayor, accused President Barack Obama in a Friday appearance on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight" of putting his own campaign ahead of handling the fallout from Superstorm Sandy.

"If I were the president of the United States, I sure wouldn't be flitting around the Midwest and the West," Giuliani said. "My job would be making sure this thing was followed through to the very end. Maybe the first couple of days he was keeping his eye on the ball, but we got gas lines now that are a mile long. We got bodies still being discovered, and we got a president who is playing campaigner in chief."

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His comments on CNN came the same evening that Giuliani rallied thousands at an Ohio rally for GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, where he called for the president's resignation on the grounds of mishandling the economy. He blasted Obama as the "worst president for our economy in our lifetime" and said that if Obama "was paying attention, we wouldn't be going through all this investigation of what's being covered up about Libya."

"What the heck is he doing, flying all over the country and not keeping his attention on what's going on there, making sure people don't have to wait until November 11th or November 12th for the power to go back on?" he asked on CNN. "I understand he's still running for re-election, but his first responsibility is as commander-in-chief, and I think he's taken his eye off the ball at least for the last couple days. Maybe the first couple days he kept concentration on it. But I feel pretty darned offended seeing my president floating around campaigning while people are suffering the way people in New York, New Jersey and elsewhere are suffering."

White House officials have said Obama remains very much up to speed on the response to Sandy. The number of deaths in the United States blamed on the storm rose to 106 on Friday, and damage has been estimated at between $30 billion and $50 billion.

Obama visited the headquarters of the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Saturday morning before his day of campaign events, and White House officials have said that while on the campaign trail, he continues to be briefed on the response. As the storm approached and hit, Obama canceled several days of events and only returned to campaigning on Saturday.

"I can assure you, everybody on this team, everybody sitting around the table, has made this a No. 1 priority, and this continues to be my No. 1 priority," Obama told reporters after the meeting. "There is nothing more important than us getting this right, and we're going to spend as much time, effort and energy as is necessary to make sure that all the people in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut know that the entire country is behind them in this difficult recovery effort."

Obama convened meetings in the White House Situation Room on Monday and Tuesday, a senior administration official said, as the storm ravaged the Mid-Atlantic and then Northeastern United States.

"The president is focused on the response to Sandy, on making sure the federal government is doing everything within its means to assist state and local officials and the millions of people affected by the storm. He's very intense about it," a White House official said Tuesday.

Obama canceled campaign events on Wednesday and instead traveled to New Jersey and surveyed the damage with Gov. Chris Christie. After the tour, Obama thanked first responders for their efforts, expressed his sympathy for those who lost homes and loved ones and said the federal government would continue to participate in the response efforts.

"What I can promise you is that the federal government will be working as closely as possible with the state and local officials, and we will not quit until this is done," Obama said. "We are not going to tolerate red tape. We're not going to tolerate bureaucracy. And I've instituted a 15-minute rule, essentially, on my team: You return everybody's phone calls in 15 minutes, whether it's the mayors, the governors, county officials. If they need something, we figure out a way to say yes."

The president held "conference calls throughout the day with local elected officials from impacted areas to ensure that available federal resources are being provided in support of local response efforts," on Thursday, a White House official said. Obama also held campaign events on Thursday and Friday.

On Friday, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano visited New York, including the hard-hit Staten Island, and issued a waiver to expedite the delivery of fuel by ship to Northeastern ports. The Department of Defense also announced it would deliver an additional 24 million gallons of fuel to the region.

Pressed by CNN's Piers Morgan, Giuliani maintained Obama's efforts were not enough.

"It's a heavy charge to level at him, Rudy," Morgan said. "Wouldn't people just say straight away well, if Mitt Romney is campaigning over the last 48 hours, then surely the president who only has four days left until the general election has to campaign, too? Doesn't he?"

"Sure he can, but he could divide his time, couldn't he?" Giuliani replied. "I don't see how he's spending any time focused on this."

- CNN's Jessica Yellin, Dan Lothian, Paul Steinhauser, and Ashley Killough contributed to this report

Filed under: 2012 • Rudy Giuliani
soundoff (121 Responses)
  1. Jt

    What a joke u r irrelevant guillani

    November 3, 2012 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  2. Candace Clough

    sort of in-congruent to criticize the POTUS for not doing enough fast enough and use that to tout the candidate who says its immoral to spend anything for emergency response

    November 3, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  3. S.Smith

    Guilani – GO GET A LIFE!

    November 3, 2012 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  4. jkane sfl a vote for lady parts romney the tax cheat and lyin lady parts ryan willcut your moms medicare and soc sec . .can you afford to pay for them???

    Looks like the gop bafoon party stooge and the romney the tax cheat campaign sees themselves going down the toilet like the rest of us do and the up coming gop train wreck on Nov 6 ,gonnzo ,what about the 3000 dead heros on the gop watch ,and the 4500 more in Iraq ,loser !!!!

    November 3, 2012 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  5. Ivan

    As you can see,Giuliani tought Romney everything he knows.

    November 3, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  6. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Hey Rudy– What stopping YOU from handing out water bottles to people in NY, rather than flying all over the country shooting your mouth off.... I mean if you CARE so much (which I doubt...)

    November 3, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |

    Rudy, Rudy, Rudy – join all the politicians up there and put politics aside for ten minutes. People are dying for God's sake. Give it a rest.

    November 3, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  8. Debra Jackson

    I am so sick and tired of the assaults on President Obama. The man can do nothing right to the vast majority of Republicans. Governor Christie is the exception – he put his state and people before this election and so did the President. Shame on you Giuliani – I liked you during 9/11 but not anymore. Face it – you are now out of the limelight – so go away!

    November 3, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  9. Yonni

    Rudy is losing it. I am sure he will be the recipient of the crazy republican of the week award. Where is John Sununu? He must busy planning the next crazy thing to say

    November 3, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  10. thomas

    Another republican whiner and loser

    November 3, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  11. Rafli

    Christie , Cuomo, both praise what president has done, and this guy, governor that couldn't even protect his own city from terrorist , he should be held accountable together with Bush and Chenney

    November 3, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  12. bb

    While people were suffering the from the aftermath of Sandy, Mitt Romney was buying jars of peanut butter and giving them to people to hold up infront of the camera to take a picture with him during his fake relief rally.

    November 3, 2012 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  13. jkane sfl a vote for lady parts romney the tax cheat and lyin lady parts ryan willcut your moms medicare and soc sec . .can you afford to pay for them???

    Gonnzo ,I guess it doesn't matter to the gop goofballs that 75% of the country thinks Obama did a great job but the one% that you and romney represent say he fail like romney the tax cheat did as govenor , moron ,get on the gop train wreck coming on Nov 6.

    November 3, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  14. realitycheckplease

    Big talk coming from the man who AFTER the first World Trade Center bombing puts the NYC emergency response center in the freaking World Trade Center. He is also the guy who decided that NYPD and NYFPD didn't need to have a clear single channel for operations. Heck of a job Rudy.

    November 3, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  15. Proud American

    Mitt Romney 2012

    November 3, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  16. thetruthandnothingbutthetruth

    another lie! reminds me of Baghdad Bob!

    November 3, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  17. Karin

    oh Rudi... what a pitiful display of desparation he is..

    November 3, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  18. Miryam

    Guliani just a mayor that never learned during his term what is to be a president of America, and has not idea what a President is suppose to do during his campain, and casualty like Sandy happens. What is he talking about....The President of United States was very involved, delagetad to his people made sure that things were rolling and people were taken care off and went on campaining for his re-elecction. Good luck Guiliani keep on openening your big mouth and maybe Romney will give you another little job somewhere.

    November 3, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  19. Rick McDaniel

    That is indeed the case. He showed up for a couple of photo ops, at FEMA, and in NJ, and that was it. Once he got his photo ops, he was right back on the campaign trial, where he has BEEN for the last 2 yrs.

    November 3, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  20. Deathstalker74

    Giuliani is absolutely right here. And for this notion that Obama needs to be campaigning to keep up with Romney, let's face it, the best campaigning Obama can do right now is to stay in NY and NJ and act presidential. The major networks would have covered this 24/7 and it would have given Obama the edge in a close race. Instead, Obama decided to get his photo ops and skip town. This was a catastrophic short-sighting that will come back to haunt him on November 6th. He was given a golden opportunity to show that he was up for the task and instead, he regressed to being a politician. He should have learned his lesson already when he skipped town for Vegas while Benghazi burned!

    November 3, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  21. lonnyb

    Guiliani was great at attending yankee games and recieving praises for his post 9/11 leadership... He used to be a reasonable, somewhat straight shooting politician. Calling for a presidents resignation over the economy? Its apparent that he has become a puppet campaigning for the lunatics on the far right. Perhaps he's lookin for a cabinet position? The fact that the state of the economy bears so much on the results of an election is a direct reflection of how little americans understand the way an economy works. The president can raise and lower taxes, thar does not effect the economy as much as its given credit. Just plain silly. Lets debate social issues. See how the invasive plans of the right play out nationally. They want a smaller government, yet want to tell people how to live thier lives out. Largest turn off about the party. Fiscal strategies are reasonable and effective, but social policies and idealologies are so sad.

    November 3, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  22. betty

    What aa fool one coud be

    November 3, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  23. ladykdavis

    Excuse me Giliuani, are you with President Obama 24/7? Its easy to criticize when you have no power or responsibility. Sweep around your own front door other words, you have no room to criticize.~

    November 3, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  24. bb

    Hey Giuliani... how many times has Romney visited any of the areas that were affected by Sandy? Since Chris Christie refused a photo-op with him to make him look good, he has completely ignored traveling to these areas.

    November 3, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  25. vic , nashville ,tn

    Rudy Giuliani has Romnesia
    G.W.Bush and Dick Cheney turn 9/11 into political capital
    G.W.Bush and Dick Cheney drop the ball in Hurricane Katrina

    November 3, 2012 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
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