October 9th, 2007
06:20 PM ET
9 years ago

Paul, Giuliani exchange sharp words over 9/11

Rep. Ron Paul sparred with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani again during Tuesday's debate.

(CNN) - Reminiscent of the tussle the two had in a May GOP debate, on Tuesday, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Texas Rep. Ron Paul reignited a war of words over 9/11.

Giuliani took issue with Paul's contention that in "220 years" Americas has never been under imminent attack. Paul was responding to a question on whether the president needs Congress to approve a potential invasion of Iran.

"I don't know where he was on September 11," Giuliani said in response to Paul's comments.

"That was 19 thugs," Paul sharply fired back. "That had nothing to do with a country."

"Well, I think it was kind of organized in Afghanistan and Pakistan," Giuliani said. "And if we had known about it, maybe - maybe hitting a target there, quickly, might have helped prevent it."

The debate was similar to an exchange the two had in a May 23 debate, when Giuliani sharply criticized Paul for saying the 9/11 attacks were the result of America's involvement in the Middle East.

"As someone who lived through the attack of September 11 - that we invited the attack because we were attacking Iraq - I don't think I've ever heard that before, and I've heard some pretty absurd explanations for September 11th," Giuliani said then.

In response, Paul stood by his comments and said that "if we think that we can do what we want around the world and not incite hatred, then we have a problem ... They come and they attack us because we're over there."

- CNN Ticker Producer Alex Mooney

Filed under: Michigan • Ron Paul • Rudy Giuliani
soundoff (122 Responses)
  1. Allen, Orlando, FL

    The people who criticize Ron Paul are people who only get their information from television. You cannot take the opinions of television analysts as fact. This isn't a popularity contest, it's our future! Do yourself a favor and actually do research on Ron Paul before you open your mouth and criticize him. Please!

    October 10, 2007 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  2. Go Hillary Ft Lauderdale, Fl

    Check out Ron Paul's face – dude looks like a halloween jack-o-lantern. I hope the Republicans nominate this baffoon – it would be the easiest election since Clinton v. Dole!

    October 10, 2007 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  3. Eric, Richmond, VA

    Imminent threat is a standard criterion in international law, developed by Daniel Webster, for when the need for action is "instant, overwhelming, and leaving no choice of means, and no moment for deliberation." So for all the people crying about the Cuban Missile Crisis and Pearl Harbor, etc. etc. you mean to tell me that there was no time to think it over and formulate a solution without getting thousands of troops killed? Didn't we use negotiation to end the Cuban Missile crisis? Looks like Ron Paul was right after all. Iran does not pose an Imminent Threat to us! That was what the argument was about!

    October 10, 2007 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  4. Arnie, Brooklyn, NY

    Ron Paul is correct in his statement to Giuliani. He seems to be objective but patriotic. It's about time US changed its policy of dictatorship. Ron Paul for President!

    October 10, 2007 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  5. Cameron F, Redondo Beach, CA

    It makes me sick to see people attack someone who speaks the truth. The only people I have seen attack Dr. Paul in this forum have nothing to say but unfounded insults and name calling. Dr. Paul makes the most sense, and is the greatest hope for this nation. I am democrat who believes there is a place for government services in some cases, but Dr. Paul is the best candidate to balance our government the way it should be. I sincerely hope he wins the republican nomination, because I would seriously consider switching parties just to vote for him for president. He is truly the only small government candidate in a field of supposedly small government candidates.

    October 10, 2007 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  6. Sarah Bent, Kansas City, MO

    On this one issue Rep. Paul is right. It is our bullying and meddling that has gotten us into the mess that is the middle east. Most of the 9/11 terrorists came from Saudi Arabia not Iraq.

    This country has a lot of trouble learning from its mistakes.

    October 10, 2007 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  7. Chris, Middletown, CT

    I think...wow....they are typing this and believing it too....then I think I should say x and they will become "informed" – yet....this is not a political discussion – its more of a religious debate....faith based...facts aside...put it this way...and maybe you can relate...if the mafia hires a hitman to kill someone – who is accountable – the hitman...or the mafia...or both....in this case...the hitmen were killed...the mafia...is being hunted down...and held accountable...(after the Sopranos...Mafia analogies work so well...don't they?)

    October 10, 2007 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  8. Heather, Scotch Plains NJ

    What's this? Mr. "9/11" Giuliani doesn't even know where the attackers came from. Or where they trained? Should we attack Florida? Because that's where they learned how to fly planes. Considering Giuliani has collected millions using 9/11 you would think he'd have the facts. I never even had Ron Paul on my radar until now but he definitely nailed it on this one. Do I believe we deserved what we got on 9/11? Absolutely not! But did the Iraqi civilians deserve what they got when we bombed them because of 9/11? NO! We need to start taking some responsibility for our actions in the Middle East. Hopefully Ron Paul will get more air time now. Doubt it though. The only ones that seem to matter to the media are Hillary, Obama, Giuliani & Romney.

    October 10, 2007 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  9. Henry Tucker, Ga

    Ron Paul has the views of Paul Revere. He thinks the next attack on America will come by pirates in wooden ships.

    Nothing imminent happening. Let's close down the FBI, CIA, and homeland security. If anything DOES become imminent – we'll be able to see them coming on the horizon with my trusty telescope!

    Ron Paul – 18th Century thinking!

    October 10, 2007 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  10. Mike, NY

    The closest we've been to an immediate attack is Pearl Harbor, though we did have several sources telling us of the incoming Japanese forces. FDR would have been justified in setting up defenses around Hawaii and engage if the Japanese don't turn back. But he would have had to go to Congress if he wanted to strike back at Japan.

    Someone, for some reason, brought up the Cuban Missile Crisis. I don't recall Kennedy dropping bombs on Cuba to resolve the issue. Paul's point is that, realistically, we're not going to have some nail-biting, "the bombers are incoming, can we engage!?" situation. And in such a situation, the President obviously has a right to take action. But he can't bomb and invade Iran because, some day, Iran might get weapons which it might sell off to terrorists who might in turn sneak them into the US. That's not an imminent threat, and the Congress should declare war.

    October 10, 2007 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  11. Jason, Atlanta Georgia

    John from Sacremento, first of all, Ron Paul has never stated that America has never been under a threat of an attack. (and if he has, and i'm honestly asking, give me the quotation, when and where he said it) But lemme ask you a quick question that I ask to most people who think that Iraq had something to do with 9/11. Do you think a country is safer with it's military at home, building the country's defenses and preparing to stop another attack, or do you beleive that it is best for a country if it's military is stretched completely thin in god knows how many different countries fighting preemptive wars and involving itself in business that it has nothing to do with? (i.e. civil wars) Honestly, it amazes me how littel common sense people have. "Hmm...I think my country is safer now that our military is overseas and if there ever was an attack in this country (god forbid) they wouldn't be able to stop it or be home fast enough to protect us." I'm not trying to be disrespectful bro, but seriously, if you're not military you should join, because we're missing recruiting goals left and right. So not only is our military overstretched, we're not even going to be able to sustain the level we are at now because we're missing goals left and right. Not only that, WE'RE DISCUSSING ANOTHER PREEMPTIVE WAR!?! I'm sorry, but Ron Paul is the ONLY candidate *Rep. or Dem. (with the exception of Kucinich and Gravel)* that makes sense on this issue. Oh, by the way, he is the only Rep. besides John McCain who has sereved in the military. I could go on for hours, but I'm just gonna stick with that common sense question for now.

    October 10, 2007 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  12. Terry, El Paso, TX

    To all fifty Ron Paul supporters: you guys must be getting really tired of posting all of that stuff on blogs and voting for him ten thousand times on every internet poll. I know you dream that we will all listen to him one day and say, "Dang! That Ron Paul guy makes sense! Why didn't I realize it before!"

    Your time would be better spent buying lotto tickets. Most of us have listened to him and dismissed him as just another Libertarian dingbat. Somebody from the Constitution Party or the Libertarian Party or some other fringe group says the exact same things every election. They get a few protest votes (I voted for Nader once myself), but it just ain't gonna happen guys. Give it up.

    October 10, 2007 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  13. Sameer - Clawson, MI

    "Well, I think it was kind of organized in Afghanistan and Pakistan"

    Uh... Rudy, it was also "kind of organized" in America too. Are you saying that we should attack America because it caused 9/11? What a dunce.

    Ron's got thought to back his words up. Giuliani's got contrived soundbytes.

    October 10, 2007 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    paul is just soo much smarter than rudy

    October 10, 2007 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  15. James Cantrell, Houston,Tx.

    Its pretty easy to figure out why America is so screwed up when you read negative comments about Ron Paul.Americans are just plain azz stupid when it come to electing a President.Why do folks seek out punishment.

    October 11, 2007 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  16. Mark, Portland, OR

    Once again, Ron Paul demonstrates that he is the most intelligent candidate in this race. He's right on foreign policy, monetary policy, and constitutional theory. It baffles me as to why this man is not the clear favorite to win the whole schbang here.

    October 11, 2007 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  17. Daniel ~ Longview WA.

    Fortunately, Ron Paul supporters will continue to grow, his donations...TRUE CAMPAIGN donations from THE PEOPLE...will continue to grow, more comments left by many more individuals who are "getting it" will be left, and this crooked election process will be taken back by us, the people of the United States of America.

    Ron Paul will do the right thing.
    Ron Paul does the right thing.
    Ron Paul speaks for the patriot.

    October 11, 2007 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  18. MCD, San Francisco

    I hate the way the Right uses every opportunity to obscure the truth to make themselves look better... Rudy's "if we had but known..." is pure garbage. When the Bush admin took over, Condi was handed an intelligence report entitled "Bin Laden determined to strike within the U.S. using Planes." Hell, you don't even have to read the report... the title says it all. As I remember her testimoney in front of congress, she didn't bother to read the report but passed it along to somebody else... she really couldn't remember just who it was.

    October 11, 2007 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  19. tony,Amman,jordan

    Professor Ron Paul knows history.Giuliani,if he reads Mearsheimer and Walt:THE ISRAEL LOBBY AND U.S.FOREIGN POLICY,will become a better candidate!

    October 11, 2007 03:22 am at 3:22 am |
  20. Chris, FL

    You are a fool Terry. There are 123 Ron Paul supporters! I'm sorry, that's just my neighborhood meetup group. Yes, they are all unique and not dopple gangers.

    I think I've told you before you eat too much spicy salsa, but now I know you are a fool.

    It doesn't really matter to me if you don't understand or want to participate in life. I'm not thinking you have many close friends so you attack those that love "the 18th century".

    Even if Ron Paul had 51 supporters, I'd be one of them that voted on Primay Day. I'd rather vote my conscience than have to choose between communism and socialism candidates.

    All that matters is we try. If our brothers and sisters like what's coming down the pipe, God speed my friend.

    October 11, 2007 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  21. Thom Jefferson Midland TX

    Ron Paul is absolutely correct,"That was 19 thugs," (Muslim thugs of pagan relgion)"That had nothing to do with a country."

    Giuliani wants to leave the borders open so more can cross with the Illegal Aliens.

    October 12, 2007 02:33 am at 2:33 am |
  22. Scott, Lowell Indiana

    Well look at this! A Ron Paul story at the bottom of the page. I think the media as well as the rest of the GOP candidates don't want us to hear what he has to say. People wat to hear the truth good or bad and Ron Paul is bringing it on! Gulianni is another puppet/war monger/uninformed screwball. Although sometimes I think Ron Paul is holding back on some issues such as 911. 'd like to know why we were not given an answer, a believable answer as to why that buliding blew down like it had dynamite charges placed on every floor. Also why did the greatest military let those planes into the air space and do nothing? Why do we let this go unanswered? Ron Paul deserves better coverage by the media. Stop spoon feeding us Rudy and Billary please

    October 12, 2007 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
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