A Giuliani liability: 9/11?

The firefighters' union goes on the attack against "America's Mayor."

Published March 9, 2007 6:07PM (EST)

If Karl Rove and the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth could somehow turn John Kerry's military service in Vietnam into a liability when he ran for president, could someone do the same to Rudy Giuliani's handling of the aftermath of 9/11?

It looks like we're about to find out.

As the New York Daily News reports today, the nation's largest firefighters' union has "all but declared war" on Giuliani. The immediate impetus is the former mayor's decision to bail out of a presidential candidates' forum the International Association of Fire Fighters is holding in Washington next week. The underlying beef: Many New York firefighters are still furious at Giuliani for deciding, on Nov. 2, 2001, that only 25 members of the FDNY would be allowed to continue searching for their fallen brethren at Ground Zero. The mayor's office said he was acting out of safety concerns, but that's not how the firefighters' union saw it then or sees it now.

"The disrespect that [Giuliani] exhibited to our 343 fallen FDNY brothers, their families and our New York leadership in the wake of that tragic day has not been forgiven or forgotten," New York City firefighters' union officials say in a draft of a letter that will soon be sent to all 280,000 of the IAFF.

"The events of November 2001, we think, showed the true character of Rudy Giuliani," IAFF spokesman Jeff Zack tells the Daily News, "and we are going to make sure the firefighters of this country know that story."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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