Giuliani vs. McCain
It was only a matter of time. With Bernard Kerik’s indictment and Giuliani’s unwavering support for the former New York Police Commissioner, someone had to come out swinging. McCain was the first out of the gate criticizing Giuliani’s judgment and Kerik’s performance during his time in Iraq training the Iraqi Police Force.
“I don’t know Mr. Kerik. I do know that I went to Baghdad shortly after the initial victory and met in Baghdad with (Ambassador Paul) Bremer and (Lt. Gen. Ricardo) Sanchez. And Kerik was there. Kerik was supposed to be there to help train the police force. He stayed two months and one day left, just up and left,” McCain told reporters traveling on his campaign bus, according to the Associated Press. “That’s why I never would’ve supported him to be the head of homeland security because of his irresponsible act when he was over in Baghdad to try and help train the police. One of the reasons why we had so much trouble with the initial training of the police was because he came, didn’t do anything and then went out to the airport and left.”
The Giuliani campaign responded in kind:
“Americans need someone in the White House who knows how to balance their own checkbook before they try to balance the federal government’s,” Levinson added. “They don’t need John McCain; they need Rudy Giuliani — who has actually balanced a budget and made a payroll.”
The Giuliani campaign also released a series of 12 quotes from McCain praising Rudy Giuliani. The quotes ranged from calling for Giuliani’s appointment as Secretary of Homeland Security and calling Giuliani an “American hero.” The campaign once again responded to McCain.
“Is this what desperation looks like? Bernie Kerik’s issues have been known since 2004 and John McCain still had glowing things to say about Rudy Giuliani and his leadership. What, exactly, changed today? Best as I can tell, it’s just John McCain’s pure desperation in the face of a failing and flailing campaign trumping his so-called straight talk. It is truly a shame that John McCain has chosen to stoop this low.”
Mitt Romney has yet to respond in full, but said the following:
“We can’t have ethical standards that are a punch line for Jay Leno. When Republicans act like Democrats, America loses.”
Fred Thompson did not have much to say:
“I heard about it a while ago; it’s been in the news, obviously for a long time, but I don’t know anything about the facts of that case, and I really can’t comment on it.”
It looks like McCain tried to seize at the opportunity, but the Giuliani campaign was more than ready for a fight.