Giuliani: Obama dropped the ball on Sandy
November 3rd, 2012
11:15 AM ET
10 years ago

Giuliani: Obama dropped the ball on Sandy

(CNN) - Rudy Giuliani, a former New York City mayor, accused President Barack Obama in a Friday appearance on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight" of putting his own campaign ahead of handling the fallout from Superstorm Sandy.

"If I were the president of the United States, I sure wouldn't be flitting around the Midwest and the West," Giuliani said. "My job would be making sure this thing was followed through to the very end. Maybe the first couple of days he was keeping his eye on the ball, but we got gas lines now that are a mile long. We got bodies still being discovered, and we got a president who is playing campaigner in chief."

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His comments on CNN came the same evening that Giuliani rallied thousands at an Ohio rally for GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, where he called for the president's resignation on the grounds of mishandling the economy. He blasted Obama as the "worst president for our economy in our lifetime" and said that if Obama "was paying attention, we wouldn't be going through all this investigation of what's being covered up about Libya."

"What the heck is he doing, flying all over the country and not keeping his attention on what's going on there, making sure people don't have to wait until November 11th or November 12th for the power to go back on?" he asked on CNN. "I understand he's still running for re-election, but his first responsibility is as commander-in-chief, and I think he's taken his eye off the ball at least for the last couple days. Maybe the first couple days he kept concentration on it. But I feel pretty darned offended seeing my president floating around campaigning while people are suffering the way people in New York, New Jersey and elsewhere are suffering."

White House officials have said Obama remains very much up to speed on the response to Sandy. The number of deaths in the United States blamed on the storm rose to 106 on Friday, and damage has been estimated at between $30 billion and $50 billion.

Obama visited the headquarters of the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Saturday morning before his day of campaign events, and White House officials have said that while on the campaign trail, he continues to be briefed on the response. As the storm approached and hit, Obama canceled several days of events and only returned to campaigning on Saturday.

"I can assure you, everybody on this team, everybody sitting around the table, has made this a No. 1 priority, and this continues to be my No. 1 priority," Obama told reporters after the meeting. "There is nothing more important than us getting this right, and we're going to spend as much time, effort and energy as is necessary to make sure that all the people in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut know that the entire country is behind them in this difficult recovery effort."

Obama convened meetings in the White House Situation Room on Monday and Tuesday, a senior administration official said, as the storm ravaged the Mid-Atlantic and then Northeastern United States.

"The president is focused on the response to Sandy, on making sure the federal government is doing everything within its means to assist state and local officials and the millions of people affected by the storm. He's very intense about it," a White House official said Tuesday.

Obama canceled campaign events on Wednesday and instead traveled to New Jersey and surveyed the damage with Gov. Chris Christie. After the tour, Obama thanked first responders for their efforts, expressed his sympathy for those who lost homes and loved ones and said the federal government would continue to participate in the response efforts.

"What I can promise you is that the federal government will be working as closely as possible with the state and local officials, and we will not quit until this is done," Obama said. "We are not going to tolerate red tape. We're not going to tolerate bureaucracy. And I've instituted a 15-minute rule, essentially, on my team: You return everybody's phone calls in 15 minutes, whether it's the mayors, the governors, county officials. If they need something, we figure out a way to say yes."

The president held "conference calls throughout the day with local elected officials from impacted areas to ensure that available federal resources are being provided in support of local response efforts," on Thursday, a White House official said. Obama also held campaign events on Thursday and Friday.

On Friday, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano visited New York, including the hard-hit Staten Island, and issued a waiver to expedite the delivery of fuel by ship to Northeastern ports. The Department of Defense also announced it would deliver an additional 24 million gallons of fuel to the region.

Pressed by CNN's Piers Morgan, Giuliani maintained Obama's efforts were not enough.

"It's a heavy charge to level at him, Rudy," Morgan said. "Wouldn't people just say straight away well, if Mitt Romney is campaigning over the last 48 hours, then surely the president who only has four days left until the general election has to campaign, too? Doesn't he?"

"Sure he can, but he could divide his time, couldn't he?" Giuliani replied. "I don't see how he's spending any time focused on this."

- CNN's Jessica Yellin, Dan Lothian, Paul Steinhauser, and Ashley Killough contributed to this report

Filed under: 2012 • Rudy Giuliani
soundoff (121 Responses)
  1. MikeH

    Someone show Giuliani the door out, preferably into a greasy alley, that's Giuliani's kind of place.

    November 3, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  2. Bosko21

    Let me throw this back at Mr. G – When George Bush fist came in office President Clinton WARNED him of the threat of Osama Bin Laden. George Bush and his advisors ignored the warning. The head of Mr Gs communication services (Police,Fire and rescue ) expressed the need for a better communication system for first responders. Most of the transmitting and receiving equipment was in one place THE TWIN TOWERS. He did not act on any of it. WE can blame Bush for not heeding the threat and blame Mr. G for HIS lack of preparedness which all resulted in the deaths of many first responders. Mr G libya is a foreign country our President has little control on their actions. New York is our country and you had control. Libya cost four lives. 911 cost 400 first responders their lives. YOU WERE responsible.

    November 3, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  3. GI Joe

    Rudy was a loud-mouthed thug, is a loud-mouthed thug, and will always be a loud-mouthed thug. He has half the mafia in NYC working on his staff. I know - I worked there when he was Mayor and saw the strong-arming and threats for myself. They paid off local media to suppress it.

    November 3, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  4. John

    I have never seen a man that Is so full of Crap than Guliani has. I guess the Republican think that Lying if you keep doing It long enough than It become the Truth. I sure hope that most of the American people can see thought this CRAP and LIES.

    November 3, 2012 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  5. GI Joe

    Rck McDaniel and Truth and Nothing

    Are paid trolls. They show up every election and bad-mouth all dems. What jerks. I don't even read past their names.

    November 3, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  6. Bucco

    The President started out well, but reverted to his style once again.

    What I am more upset about is the media. Katrina we had faces of suffering people on tv almost 24 hours a day. That same kind of suffering and hurting is happening now in just about the same ratio, yet you do not see those pictures on main stream. Why is that ?

    November 3, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  7. zumz

    Fouls will be fouls...

    November 3, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  8. Jake A

    I join the chorus of people who are mystified that anyone cares or would even publicize what Giuliani has to say anymore

    November 3, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  9. tony gendenning

    Mr. Giuliani, Mr. Sununu, Sen. McCain, Mrs. Huckabee, and others should be thanked for thier dissertations on President Obama. Thank you for once again showing decent American people that you are prepared to say anything thing, to defeat our President. However I have bad news for you: We can see right through you!

    November 3, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  10. hfranqui

    I'm from New York and Giulani just demonstrated he is a tool. He is the one making this targedy a politcal attack point. Shame.

    November 3, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  11. Arun

    This guy is a cheating, had affairs while still married, loser!! His whole life is based on the tragic events of 9/11. Rudy get lost. Your 15 minutes have been over for more than 11 years!!!

    November 3, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  12. Joan Konzek

    Rudy nauseated me with his appearance on Piers Morgan. He isn't privy to security measures as far as Libya was concerned and neglected to mention Paul Ryan was one of the Republicans who voted not to increase security coverage for the diplomats. Obama did contact New York and was told they had it under control and he didn't need to make an actual appearance there. He, like the rest of the Republicans need to get their facts straight before making total fools of themselves with the wrong information. What a sad, pathetic little has been man.

    November 3, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  13. davedave2

    Rudy – shouldn't you be marching in a parade somewhere with your mistress . Typical Republican

    November 3, 2012 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  14. KM

    The GOP cry that the federal government should be smaller and leave the decisions to the states and local communities to handle because they know best. Now they are saying, where is the federal government and why isn't the President here all day everyday? GOP, don't change your positions when it suits your needs. This is why most liberals want government there because a lot of times state and local governments DO NOT have the resources to handle certain situations. In regards to the former Mayor of New York, the President has cabinet members and individuals in key positions to accomplish any task he has asked them to complete. The President himself do not need to be on the ground handing out bottles of water and food himself. If he did you would complaint that the police, fire and rescue workers are being diverted from helping those in need to securing the President whenever he go somewhere. Getting others within his administration to get things done is called delegating, try it sometimes, every manager/supervisor do it. I would rather have a President that can multi task rather than one that can only focus on one crisis at a time.

    November 3, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  15. Anne

    This was a good one at Romney's Ohio rally: “Who in the world would vote for ‘forward’ when we’re going 80 mph at a brick wall?” Jindal said.

    November 3, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  16. Expat American

    When challenged by General Wesley Clark – Giuliani promptly spewed out more empty rhetoric to the cheers of the 11-person crowd behind him; before putting down the microphone and running off camera.
    Giuliani didn’t even give the General a chance to respond to his lies.
    What a coward.

    November 3, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  17. anonoymous

    Rudy who....

    November 3, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  18. M. Hudson

    Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani has been married three times. His first wife, Regina Peruggi, was also his second cousin. The pair was aware of their family connection, but did not realize just how closely related they were at the time of the wedding. They decided to divorce in the early 1980s, and were granted an annulment by the Roman Catholic Church in 1983. Xfinity Entertainment Programmers – People.. given his background and decision making deficiences, Is he REALLY somebody that can criticize anyone?

    November 3, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  19. jane

    Giuliani who???? Oh yeah, a noun, verb and 911

    November 3, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  20. Susie

    I'm puzzled...why did Guiliani not voice so much anger and disdain against President Bush (and himself, for that matter) when multiple threats were revealed months ahead of time to President Bush, yet he ignored them, deeming them as "fake"? And Guiliani failed to prepare his "charge" where the actual attack, 9-11-2001, occurred. Alerts were issued, eventually, but obviously not enough to prevent thousands of innocents deaths.

    November 3, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  21. Susan L.

    Perhaps Guliani should speak with Bloomburg, the CURRENT mayor of NYC. Oh, by the way, Bloomburg ENDORSED Obama. Guliani is posturing.

    November 3, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
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