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. Khatami, Detroit, MI

    Rudy must have gotten the advise from his 3rd or 4th wife Judith to say something against Iranian president to get republican votes and look tough. Mr. ex mayor! This is a free country! Anyone, can expess their opinions as they wish. If you want to say something, you can go to Iraq, Iran, Israel, Pallestine, or Syria. Just don't visit friendly countries like UK, and give false impression that you are a recognised figure. No one knows you except your republican friends!

    September 24, 2007 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  2. Pam A Summerside PEI

    You people amaze me!

    An Iranian Leader shouldn't be allowed on your soil! He might be dangerous!
    Diplomats should have videoed his message! GOOD GOD PEOPLE!
    No wonder the world is in such dire straits and it all STARTS AND BEGINS
    with AMERICA. You give us more to fear than Iran could ever think of giving us...

    September 24, 2007 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  3. AJ, Fort Lauderdale FL

    cheers to Columbia. Like him or not the man is one of the most critical leaders today. This dialogue is important and should be shown all over the world. American Politicians just fear the people will have to hear/think about something they haven't been spoon fed by their political party.

    September 24, 2007 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  4. Manual Despana

    I keep hearing that Columbia is going to give the podium to a man who's trampled on human rights, taken up what can only be called a beligerent attitude towards the rest of the world, and set back the interests of diplomacy... and all I can think to say is, how'd George Bush find time to give a speech? And since when does he take questions from the audience?

    September 24, 2007 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  5. Ed,Ellenville,New York

    I'm no fan of Iran,but could he do a speaking tour?We could send a contingent of US marshalls along and round up all the whacko right-wingers as they resort to violence.Ahmadinejad has quite the talent there with the whackos.After he's done maybe we could send him bush to reciprocate the favor.No, that would be cruel,they'd probably elect him and let him destroy their country.

    September 24, 2007 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  6. Bubba, Swainsboro GA

    Let me make this 100% clear, just in case I ever run for high political office myself: any moron who runs a country is welcome to come here and get laughed at. I wanna see Hugo Chavez on the podium next, being introduced by Carrot Top. Maybe he'll say something endlessly hilarious that will go down in history, like when Saddam said he'd give us the "Mother Of All Battles." Heck, I'd give bin Laden a three-day pass if he'd agree to debate religion with Britney Spears while she was fondling her snake just to see the look on his face.

    September 24, 2007 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  7. Austin, San Diego, CA

    Both of these candidates got it wrong. I would hope they would be more in favor of hearing people speak instead of silencing them. Virtually no one in this country agrees with Ahmadinejad, but our country is founded on the principle that opposing voices be heard. If either of these two get elected, who else are they going to try to silence?

    September 24, 2007 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  8. Paul, Philadelphia

    Yes, let's completely shut him out. No meeting at the U.N., no speaking at an American institution of higher learning.

    That way, we can blindly force upon him our perception of him rather than actually learning what he is about, for better or for worse.

    Why would we ever want to communicate with other leaders from other countries? What could our country possibly have to gain from communicating with the world community?

    September 24, 2007 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  9. Bill, Streamwood, IL

    Two points.

    First, the only reason President Ahmadinejad is even relevant is because George Bush screwed up big time. Had Bush not taken Saddam out of the picture, Iran and Iraq would still be at each others throats. Iran would not be exporting terrorists to other countries, nor would they be on the verge of developing their own nuclear weapons. As a bonus, the troops we sent to Iraq could have gone to Afghanistan and Osama would either be dead or in Gitmo.

    Second. Does anyone really take Rudy Giuliani seriously any longer? I mean he looks and acts like a demented Bob Newhart. The only difference is that Bob Newhart has a punch line and make you laugh, Rudy just goes on and on and on ... trying to be a hard core conservative, trying to be relevant.

    September 24, 2007 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  10. Bubba, Swainsboro GA

    Austin, the next person they will attempt to silence will be, of course, me. Everyone wishes I'd shut up. But it's too late now, I'm through. B'bye.

    September 24, 2007 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  11. Sarah, Kansas City, MO

    For a free country with freedom of speech, it is amazing to me that my fellow Americans would like to deny someone that right. How ignorant we have become.

    Yes, The Iranian president is repugent man, but it is nice to see him exposed to all that freedom of speech and not be able to stop it.

    We also need to stop all war drum beating and start talking. It is not getting us anywhere. Remember we created the Iran that exists today with our own stupid polices. Had we not meddled in their affairs and installed the Shah, we might not be faced with the problems we have today.

    Kent from Wisconsin, is right, it was us who supplied Iraq with all those weapons to fight Iran. We are only getting what we asked for with some of our stupid, short-sighted polices.

    As much as I hate to admit it, the Iranian president is right about our messing around in middle-eastern affairs. It has gotten us in a world of trouble.

    September 24, 2007 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  12. Linda Feldman, Playa del Rey, CA

    I wonder how many Iranian universities would invite Guiliani to speak? This is not Iran, Rudy. We are open-minded.

    September 24, 2007 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  13. Sarah, Kansas City, MO

    oh yes, I forgot to mention, Giuliani is not much better the Iranian president. He has the personality of a dictator. He is ignorant of America's history in dealing with middle-east and Iran in particular.

    September 24, 2007 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  14. Ryan, New York, NY

    Posted By Pam A Summerside PEI : September 24, 2007 4:04 pm,

    You do realize that he was already going to be on US soil, as he's attending the UN, which is only a few miles downtown from Columbia. He was in Manhattan at the UN last year, too.

    September 24, 2007 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  15. Steve, Phoenix, Arizona

    Sarah in KS, you are right on!!

    An earlier blogger accused President AHmandinejad of being one of the students who took over the US embassy in Tehran during President Carter's tenure as president.

    Why did the Iranian students do it? The Shah had just been deposed and was being admitted to the US for cancer treatment.

    Why were the Iranian people so upset at America? Guess what? The US put the Shah into power. Look into what his secret service, the SAVAK, did to the Iranian people. The Shah's regime was no better than Saddam Hussein's.

    Then the US armed Saddam to the teeth to fight the Iranians staring in 1980, killing nearly one million of them.

    No wonder President Ahmadinejad is tired of America's meddling in Middle Eastern affairs.

    September 24, 2007 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  16. Larry, Fairfax, VA

    First, I find it hilarious that righty tighties find this 5 foot nothing ex-mayor threatening, let along as "the next Hilter" – that is priceless! You may be surprised to hear that the UNSC has verified Iran to be in compliance with the NPT and verified specifically that no declared nuclear material has been diverted to a nuclear purpose. Under the NPT (though Bush et al have no time nor care for treaties though), Iran is perfectly within its rights to obtain and experiment with various nuclear materials, provided that they declare them to the UNSC before bringing them on-line. As Bush knows, there is no way that Iran could develop nukes as a party to the NPT (that's why North Korea withdrew and DID develop nukes after Bush abrogated the agreed framework and cut off the oil shipments). The US reporting on this visit is even funnier/scarier depending on your viewpoint. I see very vew facts reported in the US media coverage of any big events, just diatribes and echoing the US govt line. Like Chomsky says, you can't talk about Israel/Palestine w/o using the term "peace process". Wake up people. What countries has Iran attacked? Name 1, just 1.

    September 24, 2007 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  17. Sandie Donati, Desoto TX

    Amendment 1 – Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791.

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    What part of "Freedom of Speech" don't you understand Giuliani?

    September 24, 2007 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  18. David, Encinitas, CA

    Why aren't these candidates reacting more to the important issues? MoveOn and Ahmadinejad are so much noise in comparison to the war, healthcare, the economy, education and energy.

    CNN – why aren't you paying more attention to these issues as well?

    September 24, 2007 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  19. Tricia M Charlottetown PEI

    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?

    September 24, 2007 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  20. Bob, San Francisco, CA

    If our ideology is correct, then why the calls for censorship? Are we insecure in our side of the issues? If not, then let ignorance or weak arguments come forth. We're not exactly setting a good example for freedom here.

    September 24, 2007 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  21. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Well Giuliani as much as you and the vast majority of Americans don't like Ahmadinejad, he has spoken and this matter is closed. Now what's on your political radar? I'm still waiting.

    September 24, 2007 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  22. James, Phoenix AZ

    I am amazed at the comments some of you are posting:

    "For a free country with freedom of speech, it is amazing to me that my fellow Americans would like to deny someone that right. How ignorant we have become."

    Earth to Sarah... "Freedom of Speech" is a US freedom (citizens of this country). Our laws do not permit anyone that wants to come and make speeches – non-Americans must be invited approved by the State Department. You think ANYONE should be allowed to enter our country and be given a forum?

    Tom, Albuquerque writes,
    "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."

    Tom, you are an example of the naive in this country! Today the Iranian leaders stood behind his comments: 1) Holocaust needs to be examined for myths, 2) Israel should be removed if the "Palestinians" voted for it, 3) Homosexuality doesn't exist in Iran.

    Thankfully our country has freedom of speech for comments like yours. It's good to know you're more in line with the Iranian President than Rudy Guiliani. Very telling.

    September 24, 2007 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  23. Omar, Phoenix, AZ

    Both of these jokers are trying to appear tough on Foreign policy. Giuliani has no foreign policy experience, so he has to act like he does by screaming and yelling.

    Romney suggests trying Ahmedinijad under the 'Genocide Convention'? Does he mean the Geneva Convention? For doing what, excercising speech?

    Give me a break

    September 24, 2007 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  24. Ed,Ellenville,New York

    Ahmadinejad has twice the IQ of bush and that's not saying much.We have people like james of phoenix to thank for that.Aligning theocracy with liberals is hilarious.Is the earth flat in Arizona?Or is it just too hot down there?Our country was founded on LIBERTY not fascism,remember?Those liberals that thought about freedom,remember those guys?

    September 24, 2007 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  25. laurinda,ny

    Thank God, Rudy put his glasses back on instead of being so vain. Now he won't be squinting and popping his eyes wide open. That was awful.

    September 24, 2007 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
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