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. George Garrett Manhattan, Illinois

    Rudy, You are only welcome at Comumbia if you are an international lunctic who can get them some publicity. This is the primary job of University Presidents.

    September 24, 2007 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  2. Loyda, WDC

    I usually do not agree with Guiliani, but I got to give him credit when due...

    This Iranian president was one of the 'students' who took hostages in the US Iranian embassy in 1979... this has been highly documented... why is this guy here?? what doe he REALLY wants?????

    September 24, 2007 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  3. Jonathan, New York

    That's right. We should not consider anything this leader of a Mid-East country might say or think. Better leave it to the trustworthy Republicans to tell us what to think about him.

    September 24, 2007 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  4. Kent D. Madison, WI

    To Loyda, WDC:
    I am no fan of President Ahmadinejad, but you and a lot of Americans need to know a little history before you judge the Iranian people.

    The CIA and British intelligence put the Shah of Iran in power. His regime in Iran made Saddam Hussein look like a Boy Scout. His SAVAK service imprisoned thousands of people and tortured them.

    Ever hear of the Iran-Iraq War? It went on for nearly 9 years and killed almost 1 million Iranians. Who supplied the majority of weapons to Saddam Hussein to fight that war? That's right. The United States. We were more afraid of the Ayatollah Khomeini at that time.

    So, as you see, the Iranians have good cause to distrust America as much as you have to distrust him.

    September 24, 2007 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  5. Mike, Omaha NE

    I do not like the Iranian President, but free speech is free speech. Allowing him to speak is what seperates America from Iran. I'm sure they would not allow Bush to speak at Tehran University.

    September 24, 2007 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  6. Mike Drabniack

    Not that I feel Ahmadinejad's opinions or reason will be swayed in the slightest, but I don't see what all the fuss is about. Would you rather we just go to war again? Don't talk, just fight? Seeing how that's got us so far and all... I mean things in Iraq and Afghanistan are going so well and all. Rudy Giuliani is a joke, let the man speak, further some discussions, let people see him for who he really is... whatever that may be. There's no harm in talking... it's the jumping to conclusions and the eagerness to fight that's put us in the precarious situation we're in today.

    September 24, 2007 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  7. Bubba, Swainsboro GA

    Actually, inviting him to Columbia and calling him a dictator to his face doesn't seem to be going so badly. I'd have had Stephen Colbert work out on him for fifteen minutes before letting him speak if it was me, and when he finished speaking I'd hold up a big card that said EVERYBODY LAUGH NOW.

    Afterwards it would be time for his tour of the cream pie factory, then the clown college, both important American institutions crucial to the implementation of our freedom. A quick trip to a cheap strip club and he'd be ready to go back home . . .

    September 24, 2007 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  8. Greg, Phoenix, AZ

    The fact that this brutal dictator is allowed on our soil is bad enough.

    The fact that there were actually lunatics there who clapped after he finished speaking is just spooky. There are certainly some dangerous people there at Columbia.

    He is only here to try to manipulate certain members of the American public who are concerned about our policies in the Middle-East, and to show the folks back home that he is doing everything he can to try and better relations with the US.

    If you buy a word this tyrant says, you are just not wise to the ways of the world. You are not thinking clearly so PLEASE do not vote until you get it together!

    Glad the President of Columbia took him to the woodshed. Also glad that this nut's plan has backfired and now ALL Americans understand that he is not to be trusted AT ALL.

    September 24, 2007 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |

    Rudy Giuliani isn't half the man that Pres. Ahmadinejad is. The Iranian president had the courage to face this angry American mob. Mr Ahmadinejad is no more a threat to the world than President Bush. The real threat to civil liberties and human rights is Bush.

    September 24, 2007 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  10. Do your Research ppl, baltimore MD

    This Iranian president was one of the 'students' who took hostages in the US Iranian embassy in 1979… this has been highly documented… why is this guy here?? what doe he REALLY wants?????

    Posted By Loyda, WDC

    This is propaganda to the fullest. The only thing documented was that the CIA SAID he was one of them. You have to proof such things... something the US govt is utterly incapable of doing. They didnt even start accussing him of this until he won the election.

    This guy has been in the Public light for years before his election. Only after he was elected did the govt say he part of the kidnapping. Know BS when you smell it people.

    September 24, 2007 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  11. Nicholas Boise Idaho

    [I]t’s very, very disturbing and I think that’s why you see such an outcry against it."

    Freedom of speech requires opposing viewpoints be allowed in the same forum. You cannot simply have freedom of speech for one side of an arguement.

    The president of Iran has recently been chastised for events like wishing to post a wreath at ground zero. Many people don't realize that when 9/11 happened a vigil was held at the iranian football (soccer) stadium and moments of silence were held.

    Al Qaeda and Iran have been at odds for a very long time and Iran does not support them. Of course, drawing such distinctions is hard when you're trying to vilify your enemies and paint them all with the same brush.

    September 24, 2007 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  12. Georgina, B.C., Canada

    This is one of the reasons the U.S. never seems to get the rest of the world. You are content, for the most part, to trust in what your leaders tell you. Giuliani is pandering to the masses with his narrow-minded views on this matter. Let him come, let him speak, listen and form your own opinions, stop believing everything your government tells you, it's not always right.

    September 24, 2007 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  13. Brendan, WA

    The biggest threat to the survival of our country is Giuliani as President, not a mis-informed, outspoken, relatively unthreatening leader of country that we have an on-again-off-again relationship with. Giuliani will continue to degradadate our constitution in the same way the Bush Administration has. He will, like Bush, continue to try to instill fear in the into the American people.

    September 24, 2007 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  14. Bubba, Swainsboro GA

    Loyda, it's not clear whether or not Ahmadinejad was one of the hostage-takers. It may just be a resemblance, although it's hard to imagine two men that dumb and ugly.

    September 24, 2007 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  15. John Dean, a Republican, Juno Beach, FL

    Mr. Guiliani you have no presidential qualifications. You have NO FOREIGN policy experiences. Therefore you should make no comments to add more negatives to your presidential campaign. Mr. Ahmadinejad is not a presidential issue neither now nor in the future. The current issues of our country necessitates full concentration of presidential candidates of both parties on these issues. In all your debates and speeches you ALWAYS avoid answering the direct questions addressed to you. Most the times you talk to say nothing. You reminds us of Disaster George Bush. We definitely don't need a second disaster George Bush as our president. Being a former mayor of New York, doesn't mean you are qualified to become our commander in chief. Just retire and enjoy your family life. You already lost my Republican vote.

    September 24, 2007 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  16. Robert, Wilmington, NC

    These would be Republican presidential contenders are not even competent to lead a University. Whether one agrees or not with his politics or his views on history, whether he is or is not a threat to American interests, Ahmadinejad is not just one of 1000s who would like to speak at Columbia University. He is the "elected" leader of a large Islamic nation with tremendous influence is the region and, for better or worse, on the world stage.

    Furthermore, the University is the place where people with even unpopular ideas are afforded a space to express those views, to hold them up to the light of reason and rational criticism. The University so conceived is one of the greatest gifts, along with democratic conceptions of political life, that the Western Enlightenment thinkers gave the modern world. It might even be argued that, given his influence and the very unpopularity of his views is why Ahmadinejad should address a University audience. Let his irrationality and unjustified statements be criticized for what they are by an audience being trained to argue against irrationality and superstitious rhetoric. Of what are Americans like these Republican contenders afraid? Are they afraid that the students of Columbia and the wider society are incapable of using such discerning reason?

    September 24, 2007 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  17. Gloria, Las Vegas

    Hey...I would like to see President Bush do this. I have a lot of questions that need to be answered...

    September 24, 2007 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  18. Kelly Pittsburgh PA

    No one would in their right mind actually agrees with Ahmadinejad, however, did Romney forget the right to free speech that we believe to be an inherent quality? Did also forget that the world is not comprised of just the U.S? Another example of why Romney and most Republicans further danger any credibility in the world. No wonder why the world hates the U.S? Stop being so ethnocentric and just be diplomatic and honest. The world knows Ahmadinehad is an idiot, but Romney just makes him himself and the Republican party look like bigger idiots.

    September 24, 2007 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  19. Rex, Toledo, Ohio

    Damn it CNN. There's that word slam again.
    Rudy is laughable at this juncture. So tired of the Bush wannabe's.

    September 24, 2007 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  20. Liz, L-town, MO

    People, People, People! it's not about freedom of speech or conservatives trying to "protect us of the truth" Its about our SAFETY! If this man is "dangereous" then its our government's right to protect us from him. If people want to hear what he has to say, maybe he should record w/ osama's video equipment and have cnn air it for us!

    September 24, 2007 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  21. bukky, Baltimore, MD

    Guliani will win the republican Nomination they same way Bush became president...a recipe of Lying, Hate Mongering, and Fear.

    September 24, 2007 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  22. John, Blue Springs, Mo.

    What I find disturbing is that Giuliani and Romney object to world leaders speaking in our country.

    September 24, 2007 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  23. Sharon Jenson Anytown, Ca

    Giuliani, it seems, has forgotten that we are in America, that we have a right to freedom of speech, that we can say what we want in this country and the very fact that he is disturbed by this is, in and of itself, disturbing! Let's make sure this man does not come close to the white house; I don't want censorship of any kind. I am interested to hear what everyone any anyone has to say and I can decide whether I agree or disagree. That is my right. Isn't that what we fight for? Our country, our constitution, our freedom? No more lies, PLEASE!

    September 24, 2007 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  24. Tricia M Charlottetown PEI

    Of course...they do...
    They are Bush Clones....full of hatred and contempt for all who breath and hold a differing opinion then theirs.

    The Iranian President speaking in interpreted English had more English eloquence, human substance, creadability, and international loyalty than Bush.

    September 24, 2007 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  25. Bubba, Swainsboro GA

    Oh, Mitt. Good heavens. Don't be frightened of the scary man. The teachers at Columbia have him under control – watch out! He's breaking free! Run, everyone! Run for your lives! He might say something mean about you! There he goes up the Empire State Building.

    September 24, 2007 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
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