September 24th, 2007
01:01 PM ET
15 years ago

Giuliani, Romney slam Ahmadinejad visit

Giuliani, above, and Romney had some harsh words for the Iranian president Monday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said Monday he finds it "disturbing" Columbia University invited Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speak before its student body. (Related: Iranian president speaks)

"He’s denied the Holocaust. He’s threatened the future survival of Israel,” Giuliani said in an interview with Maine television station WMTW. "I believe he’s even threatened at various times American interests, and he keeps threatening to develop nuclear capacity."

"So this is not even a close question. Literally thousands and thousands and thousands of people would want to have the right to go to Columbia and speak," Giuliani added. "So a choice had to be made, which seemed to me the choice would be made not to bring ... the leader of one of the governments that’s one of the biggest supporters of terrorism in the world. [I]t’s very, very disturbing and I think that’s why you see such an outcry against it."

Meanwhile, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, one of Giuliani's chief rivals for the GOP nomination, is out with a new radio ad Monday that calls on the United Nations Secretary-General to revoke his decision to allow the Iranian leader to speak before the body later this week.

"We should be tightening our sanctions against Iran, not welcoming him to the world stage, and I've called on the Secretary-General of the United Nations to withdraw that invitation," Romney says in the ad set to run in Iowa and South Carolina today and Florida later in the week. "What we should be doing is indicting Ahmadinejad under the Genocide Convention."

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (69 Responses)
  1. M. L. Darcy

    I think it was and is a good idea. Rather then the sound bytes we all get to hear a large group of AMERICANS get to hear whaty this guy is really saying. I would have loved to hear it myself. He will bury himself with his totalitarian speak and intolerance. remember our greatest privilage is free speech.

    September 24, 2007 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  2. Ed,Ellenville,New York

    I heard him,he stated the obvious,skirted the questions like a car salesman,denied his country's homosexuality,and generally acted like the theocratic right-winger that he is.He's a mirror image of bush,only smarter.I'm glad people got to hear him.At least we know the Iranians are suffering through the same crap that we are.

    September 24, 2007 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  3. RB, from the bay state

    I'd like to see either of these two lame wannabes offer to speak at a university in Iran.

    September 24, 2007 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  4. Ryan, Santa Clara, CA

    With regards to freedom of speech, the Constitution reads: "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press..."
    The United States does not run the United Nations, nor is it bound by our Constitution. Withdrawing an invitation for him to speak in front of the United Nations is in no way censorship; he has other means with which to air his rhetoric.

    As far as his credibility, he called the Holocaust a myth. Regardless of political tendencies, we should be able to agree that an insane person off of the street should not be allowed to share conspiracy theories about how (and I share this from mentally ill person that I know) skin conditions come from governments shooting lasers from outer space, all tap water is contaminated with a mind controlling substance, and that we are being spied on through our televisions. I think that calling the Holocaust a myth is about on the same line with the rest of those theories. If the U.N. doesn't give time to those theories, why to him? It's not an issue of free speech, and as I said above, the Constitution is a U.S. document, not a United Nations one.

    September 24, 2007 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  5. Carlos Nevarez/ Dorado, Puerto Rico, USA

    I'm not a big fan of President Bush, but do you see him visiting those 'GREAT' Universities of Iran? I think not. That's due to the fact that those same universities are controlled by the state.
    Mr.Ahmedinejad was given a privellege to speak at one of our great institutions and speak his mind. Yet we're not controlled by our Government, the citizens of this great Republic control the government. So when Mr.Ahmedinejad gave his speach and his views and opinions and thus finished, those great young minds of the future who sat and listened came out of the room with a conclusion of there own. A conclusion that is different amongst there peers. Not the ONE opinion the state gives and thus you have to accept. Remember citizens of America, we're a Democracy...

    September 24, 2007 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  6. Ryan, Santa Clara, CA

    In response to Omar from Phoenix, AZ, the Genocide Convention was adopted by the U.N. General Assembly on December 9th, 1948. It's rather easy to find on the internet and I would have recommended doing that before guessing.

    September 24, 2007 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  7. Paul, Kissimmee Florida

    Kent D. Madison, WI
    Steve, Phoenix, Arizona

    I couldn't agree with you more.

    And I fully agree with your statement Steve:
    "No wonder President Ahmadinejad is tired of America's meddling in Middle Eastern affairs."

    I would bet if researched, that most of the attacks waged in Middle East Nations initiated as a result of America's meddling gone bad, or the victim Nation trying to thwart the US take over.

    I don't understand why America perceives that these Nations are going to lie still and allow them to over throw their Governments and take over their Nations without a fight?

    Posted By Tricia M Charlottetown PEI : September 24, 2007 6:18 pm
    Are you kidding me? You people make me sick. Why don't you move to Iran and fight us from over there. Then at least you could be called brave.

    September 24, 2007 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  8. R. Lazinski, Bozeman Montana

    One of the factors underlying the conflict in the Middle East and our (U.S.'s) involvement there is our lack of understanding of the root of Islamic discontent with American values, imperialism, and aggression. As Americans whose society is based on freedom of speech, it is important that we recognize the opportunity to understand the Islamic perspective, and Columbia University is an appropriate venue as home to a respected school of journalism, a profession devoted to the portrayal of truth and discourse for the public to see for itself.

    Who was it that said, "the only thing we have to fear, is fear itself?" Public dialogue is a necessary component to world understanding and a tool in the arsenal of diplomacy. To suppress this dialogue is to advocate misunderstanding rather than clarity. As a citizen I want to be able to listen to what Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has to say; I want to understand his perspective so I can postulate a solution to Middle East conflict. Understanding and dialogue are the path to peace and to suppress this is a certain path to failure. Whatr are you people afraid of? You don't have to agree with the man or his politics, but it wouldn't hurt us to listen and try to understand.

    September 24, 2007 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  9. Matthew Hensley of Laurinburg, NC

    Omar of Phoenix, AZ,

    I'd like to point out that the Genocide Convention is separate from the Geneva Convention. Some simple googling would have told you that.

    I'd also like to add that our nation is built on democratic principles that rely on constant access to information. Just because we disagree with someone does not mean we should shut them out from our society. By allowing Ahmadinejad to speak, we are not propogating his message but instead giving us a chance to hear him, hear his ideas, and weigh them accordingly.

    Also, I'd like to point out that the president of Columbia University is a bolder man than many of the politicians who are rattling off about Ahmadinejad because he was willing to tell him to his face his disagreement with him. While I wonder as to the appropriateness of the introduction, it was poignant and spoke well of what many of us think in America.

    September 24, 2007 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  10. Angela, West Palm Beach, Fl

    I just read about how the University President insulted Amadinejad in his introduction.
    A) If we are going to pride ourselves promoting free-speech and holding ourselves up as a shining example for the rest of the world, then do not invite someone into your university and then trash him before he speaks.!!
    B) Show some respect to the man, and let him show himself without the filters and twists of the sound bytes.
    We showed good form in allowing him to speak but extremely bad manners in insulting him before he spoke. I can't imagine what the President of the University was thinking. all he proved is that he has guts to ambush someone in public. I'm not impressed.

    September 24, 2007 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  11. Bill Bloom, Doylestown, PA

    It's becoming very obvious that behind Romney's phoney smile is a lot of anger, bitterness and plain old meanness. Does he like anything? Methinks he tries too hard to project the image of Mr. Perfect. I hope he's not secretly a wife-beater.

    September 24, 2007 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  12. Phil, Goldsboro, NC

    My 2 cents :

    I am disgusted by the fact the President of Iran was invited to speak in a US University, HOWEVER, I am glad he did. With the comments he made, he has reassured the public view that he is not sane. No holocaust in WWII, no gays in Iran, are you serious.

    Also, I am all for free speech except for two problems. #1 has been address. The Iranian President is NOT and never will be a citizen of this great country and is not a party to the rights under the Constitution of the United States. #2) Hate speech has been deemed as NOT protected under the 1st amendment. I would have to imagine that "removing Israel from the map" is classified as hate speech.

    September 25, 2007 01:43 am at 1:43 am |
  13. Sam, IA

    Now, now, folks, quit making fun of the highly documented claim, To a good republican etchings on the bathroom wall at grand central station are evidence enough.

    September 25, 2007 04:41 am at 4:41 am |
  14. steve

    In the 50's the shah was put in backed by cia, good times for westerners, the oil was privately owned, in the 70's the shah was overthrown and iran took control of their oil,in the 80's iraq unprovokinly attacked iran backed by usa with chemical weapons from good'ol usa, which killed a milliion iranians in 10 years. These are facts not theory. There is a war in iraq that the american public and the world was lyed to, There are iraqis dying and us soldiers for no reason other than there oil, not for weapons or so-called freedom. A president of a soverign nation Iran was ridiculed on tv by the president of columbia university. So instead of talking to "the enemy" let's pretend he never came here. Because a million iranians died due to wmd's that were sold to by usa to iraq...who should really be mad and upset and called evil!

    September 25, 2007 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  15. WDRussell, East Liverpool, Ohio

    So the president of Iran is about 5 steps past looney. He gave a speech before an open audience and took questions. It would be nice if one of our two leaders would do that.
    Better make sure the tasers are charged.

    September 25, 2007 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  16. Laura - Tulsa, OK

    For liberals Freedom of Speech is only for those with whom they agree. How do I know this? Because the liberal comments mostly slam Giuliani. Liberals "agree" with Ahmindinjead only because he's anti-Bush. If, say Pres. Sarkozy spoke at Columbia, liberals would slam his words. Yet they defend the Pres of Iran not because they agree with his words, but because he's against the White House.

    September 25, 2007 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  17. David, Encinitas, CA

    James from Phoenix:

    The point is not that people agree with Ahmadinejad – it's that in this country believe freedom of speech. That applies to anyone here legally – Ahmadinejad is here legally and thus deserves that protection. You don't have to agree with his message, but he does have the right to speak. This is what makes our system different (and better I think) than his.

    September 25, 2007 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  18. Sarah, Kansas City, MO

    Earth to Jmes in Phoenix; we are showing by example what freedom of speech is. If we value this right so much, we should not be so insecure as well as thin-skinned to not allow this jerk to speak. I am not agreeing with him.

    There is no getting around the fact that we created the situation that exists today in Iran by our meddling around in its affairs back in the 50s. So really we are just getting what we asked for. This is our reality today.

    September 25, 2007 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  19. R. JAMES


    September 26, 2007 01:32 am at 1:32 am |
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