Giuliani: Obama dropped the ball on Sandy
November 3rd, 2012
11:15 AM ET
2 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. pcalif

    What is Guillani, Gingrich, et al., going to do for a living after Tuesday? They are unemployed and deeply in debt.

    November 3, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  2. David

    Wow Guiliani is officially a sad sack loser, shame on him for playing politics on the worst storm in the history of the east coast. Repubs are trying to win by dumbing down the Bush recession, even Reagans top economic advisor said in 08 it would take 15 years for full recovery – when you are running on blame the new guy for not cleaning up the mess you left him fast enough you are bound to lose.

    November 3, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  3. Eric

    Oh here we go.. The GOP as always with there weak criticism of the President. I guess in the face of desperation it's to be expected especially after one of their own (Christie) is singing Obama's praises!

    November 3, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  4. Pat

    It is difficult to please all of the people all of the time. Rudy is only happy when it's a Republican. Pres O is a Democrat. Therefore, you can only please some of the people some of the time.

    November 3, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  5. Mittless is Wittless

    This coming from the man that spent his time making talk show rounds and using the events of 9/11 to further/ or at least tried to further/ his own political dreams? This is the man saying something like this? The man who couldn't make a speech for 4 years without saying 9/11 and his "leadership." I wonder if he is still concerned for those fire fighters, the ones he sent to the smoldering piles and now are suffering lung disease and cancer? I wonder if he goes and visits those people anymore.. probably not, not enough camera's for his photo op.

    November 3, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  6. Expat American

    Mitt Romney is exploiting the tragedy of Hurricane Sandy for his own political gain – just like he said he would in his 47% speech. But Romney is too much of a coward to attack the President directly. Instead he sends his top surrogate pathetic little attack dog to do his dirty work. Where? Not in New York, but in Ohio.

    People lost their homes. People lost their lives. All Romney cares about is percentage points.

    November 3, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  7. sorensen

    Nobody cares what this old fart has to say.

    November 3, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  8. joe

    this guy is delusional.

    November 3, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  9. clarke

    What does he want Obama to do, climb a pole and rewire everything. This man is Bats**t crazy. Why isn't he doing something besides flapping his jaws.

    November 3, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  10. CDG

    This truly tells your character Ruby. Enough has been said about your ignorance, so I hope that it sinks in about A: what a waist of CO2 you were using up and I CAN'T BELIEVE THAT CNN WOULD EVEN POST THIS. B: I sure feel sorry for New Yorkes if you claim to be their Voices. You sir a whet we call in the Hack Community. FAIL

    November 3, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  11. The Situation

    HA HA! This coming from someone that after 9/11 was running around with the New York Yankees with his kid, like a groupie!

    Rudy is a clown and is too full of himself. Rudy, new flash, even New Yorkers don't like you!

    November 3, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  12. eamon mccaffery

    if I was a republican, I would be ashamed of his words. what a moron

    November 3, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  13. Ndubuisi Sylvanus Onunze

    Rudy Giuliani is self centered man who never mean well for America. I like the way the President feel aloof of him, that shows a commander in chief. Meanwhile, Rudy has no subtance, he is enjoying Republican zealots.

    November 3, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  14. John

    Like George W. Bush, Guliani has made a living out of claiming he did a good job on 9/11. Why would anyone listen to anything a Republican political hack and drag queen like Guliani has to say???????

    November 3, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  15. dachozen1

    Rudy is what's wrong with our politics. The venom he has for the POTUS is evident and remains the model for the lack of civil discourse in American politics.

    November 3, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  16. Palin Power

    Sandy is a message from God stating that Obama is destined to lose this election and be a 1 term EPIC FAIL. God deliberately unleashed this storm onto the Liberal Blue Northeast as punishment to Obama and the Democratic Party. The DEMS are going to collapse this November and eventually become extinct. We are headed to a one party GOP government.

    November 3, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  17. Eric

    Guliani just needs to go to sleep. Needs to know what the president job is. He did more than his job supposed to be about this disaster. He did show good customer service (This when you do more than your job requirement, based on heart and love for people) We all know and see them. These are the type of people who need to see a Psychiatrist. These are the type of people I don't know if this is his real personality or he is just using this to fight the president but I would expect anyone to follow the example of Gov Christie, The actual Mayor of NY..... We even need seriously to teach this to our kids" Whenever someone does something good, as little as it is, even if that person is your enemy, you should at least praise him to encourage more from him and motivate others to do the same. This is key for a strong society. I have seen the president monitoring and/or taking actions toward what needs to be done after Sandy. Was reading just last night about gasoline, diesel he is ordering for new York, NJ,... Does the president has to sit in NY and NJ to clean, fixing gas lines, looking for dead bodies? OH my God!!!.... If that day, instead of NJ he went to Ohio (that is important for him to win the elections) I would understand your comments.

    November 3, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  18. dannyCali

    The guy name Giuliani and Romney game is over no more office job for your guy anymore. ????? who's the guy walked with G.W.B when 9/11????????.

    November 3, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  19. don in albuquerque

    The difference here, Mr. G., is you were the mayor, and Obama is the POTUS. Unlike Mitt, he has to repond to ALL the people. I think most Americans realize that after a disaster of this magnitude chaos is going to reign for some time. It did after 911. No one cast doubts on you (though now we know better) for not doing your job because we knew you were really trying, just as this president is trying. You were someone we were proud of after 911, my how your reputation has sunk with statements likie this. Gov. Christie is the ONLY repub who has spoken any truth about the presidents actions, he crossed the aisle, he shook hands, and for that WE are proud of him now.

    November 3, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    whereis Bush someone asked??? I do believe his party has him bound and gagged somewhere, to last the duration of this race. They surely cannot afford that nut case to open his mouth now!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 3, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  21. Rudy_Fan

    Hurricane Sandy update: Gas rationing begins and 1.4 million still without power. Obama said. "Vote. Voting is the best revenge."

    November 3, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  22. Jack

    Yes, this is a bad hurricane. But it is not Katrina. Everything is coming back very nicely, Rudy. Obama has good people running DHS and FEMA. No "you're doing a heck of a job Brownie" under Bush. If Obama were to come off the campaign trail to sit around and oversee this recovery shouldn't Mitt also come off the campaign trail? I'm from NYC. Giuliani is an abrasive, divisive, self-absorbed politician. He give politics a bad name.

    November 3, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  23. Dave in Palm Springs

    Giuliani breaks his promise to marry his gay couple friends who helped him out when he was doing his Newt Gingrich impression (cheating on his wife and jumping from one bedroom to the next with God knows how many harlots).

    There's no reason to think that Giuliani has any better moral compass than Gingrich, so I wouldn't really give any credence to anything he says. If he had supported something that Obama did, then I would have some concern.

    November 3, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  24. Madge

    It's only been five days since the storm. I'm in Pa., and people are just getting their power on.

    i don't recall hearing anything posative regarding G's career until after the murder of thousands of inocent people people on 9/11. The murder of thousands of people jump started G's career, and he traveled the world accepting praise.
    G. is only where he is politically because over 2000 inocent people were murdered.

    November 3, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  25. Fact Checker

    Giuliani is a real junk yard dog. If you want a rabid bark of a comment, go see Rudy. For a guy who professes his love for right wing, laissez faire politics, it's ironic that he expects the President to micro-manage relief efforts. That's a heck of a stretch for guys of his ilk who think the federal government is too big, too intrusive and too costly.

    The bottom line is that Rudy is a dried up, bitter and nasty has been.

    November 3, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
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