Giuliani campaigned in South Carolina Friday.
(CNN) – Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani fended off criticism from one firefighters’ group Friday while trying to win the support of others in the key state of South Carolina.
Giuliani, who was mayor of New York during the September 11, 2001, terrorists attacks, addressed the South Carolina State Firefighters Association convention in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. He discussed the impact of nine Charleston firefighters killed in a furniture store fire June 18, comparing it New York City’s loss on 9/11.
But at the same time, Giuliani faced more questions after the speech about a video released by the International Association of Firefighters, claiming Giulaini as mayor was unprepared for the tragedy. Giuliani said he hadn’t seen the video that was released last week yet. He defended his record, saying "I understand sometimes people's anger about that, tremendous frustration about that and sometimes there are political motives. People can make their own judgment about it. There is enough on the public record so I'm very comfortable and people can make their own judgment.”
Giuliani spoke to the gathering behind a podium shaped like the front of a fire engine. Praising them as “resilient” and brave, Giuliani said the role of firefighters has grown more important around the nation since September 11th. He said their job “is even more critical. They’re the first soldiers. They’re the first line of defense in the Islamic war against us.”
- CNN Political Desk Managing Editor Steve Brusk