Like Chris Cillizza, I think that the aggressive attempt by Rudy Giuliani's presidential campaign to prebut the IAFF's "documentary" video is a revealing example of the opportunities and dangers of modern politics.
The decision by the Giuliani campaign to get out in front of the story reflects the post-Swift Boats, post-Macaca world of campaign politics. In previous campaigns, responding to a web-based video would have been considered poor form; it would have almost insured the video would get more attention than it might have gotten on its own.
But, in the new viral world of politics, a link is a link. Giuliani's campaign knows that if the video catches on in the world of YouTube and Drudge it could get out of control very quickly. By seeking to discredit the messenger before the video even hits the Internet, the Giuliani campaign hopes it can deaden the impact before it has a chance to grow.
I agree, but one thing we'll never know is how far and wide the video would spread if the campaign hadn't decided to call so much attention to it. It seems to be that the campaign is more worried about the spread of the meme -- Rudy's 9/11 Sheen Is Undeserved-- rather than the video itself, which is rather transparently intemperate.
(The video peddles the claim that Giuliani was more concerned about a vat of gold stored in a vault near Ground Zero than he was about the firefighters' recovering their comrades' bodies. The reality is, ah, much more complex and much less sexy.)
The IAFF's video purports to be about Giuliani and the firefighters, but it really targets, in no particular order:
## -- Giuliani's judgment
## -- Giuliani's tempermanet
## -- Giuliani's personality
## -- Giuliani's reputation
It's safe to assume that many Republican primary voters aren't predisposed to look askance at the IAFF, so it's incumbent upon the Giuliani campaign to remind them that it is a labor union and is predisposed to attack Republicans.
Check out this acrimonious exchange between an IAFF spokesperson, and MSNBC's Tucker Carlson.
The Giuliani campaign's complete response follows the jump.
SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT: INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF PARTISAN POLITICS MISLEADS ON MAYOR GIULIANI’S RECORD
IAFF MISLEADS ON EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS
IAFF Claims Mayor Giuliani Did Not Adequately Prepare City For Terrorist Attacks
Steve Cassidy, President, IAFF Local 94 UFA FDNY: “[T]he Things That We Needed To Do Our Job Even Better We Didn’t Have Because Of His Administration.” (IAFF’s “Rudy Giuliani: Urban Legend,” Released 7/11/07)
In Fact, Giuliani Took Extensive Steps To Prepare City For All Emergencies …
Safety Expert: “New York City Is The Cadillac Of Preparedness.” “‘New York City is the Cadillac of preparedness. On a scale of one to 10, I’d give them a 9.5,’ [Michael Wermuth, senior policy analyst at RAND Corp.] said. Firefighters and police were on the scene of the Sept. 11 attack within minutes. The evacuation of the scene was about as orderly as could be expected.” (Charles Oliver, “Be Prepared - New York Was, But How Will Other Cities Cope?” Investor’s Business Daily, 9/25/01)
Giuliani Created The Office Of Emergency Management In 1996 To Prepare City For Disasters. “In a bid to improve the city's disaster planning and response, Mayor Giuliani [1/16/96] created a new Office of Emergency Management with a … director. The department … will help coordinate the response of the Police and Fire departments, Emergency Medical Service and other agencies to disasters ranging from major fires to blizzards and terrorist threats.” (David L. Lewis, “Rudy Taps Crisis Chief,” Daily News, 1/17/96)
• “[Giuliani] Said Tragedies Like The 1993 Terrorist Bombing Of The World Trade Center And Last Year's Poison Gas Attack In The Tokyo Subway System Demonstrated The Need To Prepare For Increasingly Difficult Disasters.” (David L. Lewis, “Rudy Taps Crisis Chief,” Daily News, 1/17/96)
… And Specifically Focused On Preparing City For Terrorist Attacks
“Experts Say New York … Is Ahead Of The Nation In Preparing For 21st Century Terror” (“Is New York City Ready For Unconventional Terror?” The Associated Press, 5/3/99)
Giuliani’s OEM Performed Anti-Terrorism Exercises. Giuliani: “We try every day every month every year to improve and we -- we're doing more about the possibility of attack than we've ever done before. I've established a couple of years ago an office of emergency management which the city never had before … They have gone through table top exercises, actual drills. We've worked with the Defense Department -- worked with foreign agencies. We're trying to improve everyday our ability to react and to detect and we have - - I think the only joint anti-terrorism force in the country where the police and the FBI agents work together as partners to try to sift through this information.” (Fox News’ “Hannity & Colmes,” 2/19/98)
Prior To 9/11, City Staged Terror Drills To Test Emergency Response. “Emergency strike teams of cops, firefighters, doctors, surgeons and federal agents recently staged a series of terror drills from Tribeca to Kennedy Airport to gauge the city’s readiness.” (“Rudy: Feds Didn’t Tell Us,” Daily News, 2/20/98)
Giuliani Invested Significant Resources To Improve Firefighter Safety
Giuliani Secured $10 Million Of Bunker Gear For All Firefighters At Same Time Mayor Was Cutting The City’s Budget. After a terrible fire killed two firefighters shortly after he took office, Mayor Giuliani directed the FDNY to purchase and outfit every firefighter with new, state-of the-art protective bunker gear. By the end of his first year in office, the City had distributed 11,300 sets of bunker gear at a cost of approximately $10 million. The new bunker gear resulted in a decrease of burn injuries by nearly 60% between 1994 and 1996. (Norimitsu Onishi, “A Bittersweet Graduation As Fallen Firefighters Are Mourned,” The New York Times, 4/1/94; FDNY, “With New York Firefighters,” 4th Issue, 2001, p. 16; Alison Mitchell, “Mayor's Bet: Safety Carries More Weight With Public,” The New York Times, 5/11/94)
• The New Bunker Gear Helped Reduce Medical Leave Time From 9.7% In The Last Six Months Of 1993 To 7.6% In The Last Six Months Of 1994. (Julio Laboy, “Sharp Drop In Overtime At Fire Dept.,” Newsday, 1/8/95)
Giuliani Secured Purchase Of Thermal-Imaging Cameras For FDNY, Giving Firefighters Additional Abilities To “See” Fires Behind Walls And Locate Victims. Giuliani Administration purchased thermal-imaging cameras for all FDNY Ladder Companies, allowing firefighters to see into smoke-filled spaces, locate victims more quickly, and detect hidden pockets of fires in walls and ceilings. (Mayor’s State of the City Address, Jan 13, 2000; FDNY, “With New York Firefighters,” 4th Issue, 2001, p. 9)
Giuliani’s FDNY Purchased Personal Alarms For All Firefighters, Aiding In Search And Rescue Of Downed Firefighters. In 1998, FDNY purchased Personal Alert Safety System (PASS) alarms for all firefighters to assist in the search and rescue of immobile/unconscious firefighters. The PASS alarms are integrated with the self-contained breathing apparatus, activating the alarm any time the air pack was in use so that firefighters no longer had to worry about activating their PASS in the middle of a fire response. (FDNY, “With New York Firefighters,” 4th Issue, 2001, p. 17)
Giuliani’s FDNY Established Special Operations Command Battalion To Oversee Role Of Specialized Units At Emergency Scenes. FDNY established the Special Operations Command Battalion in 1998 to oversee the role of specialized units at incidents concerning hazardous materials, chemical/biological threats, confined space operations and high-angle rope rescue. The Special Operations Command Battalion is responsible for five Rescue Companies, seven Squad Companies, three Marine Units, and one Haz-Mat unit, as well as the Tactical Support, De-Watering, De-Con, and Recuperation and Care (RAC) units. (FDNY, “With New York Firefighters,” 4th Issue, 2001, p. 9)
IAFF MISLEADS ON EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER
IAFF Video Criticizes Mayor For Emergency Operations Center Placement
Steve Cassidy, President, IAFF Local 94 UFA FDNY: “The Mayor Who’s Claiming To Run On 9/11 Built His OEM Center, His Communications Center, The Basis For All Decisions To Be Made On The Site Of The World Trade Center That Had Been Attacked Just Eight Years Earlier.” (IAFF’s “Rudy Giuliani: Urban Legend,” Released 7/11/07)
But Placing Emergency Operations Center At 7 World Trade Center Made Sense
NYC Director Of Emergency Management Jerry Hauer Said Site Was Chosen After Study Of 50 Different Options. “Asked about the center's location in the World Trade Center, in a building across the street from the site of the 1993 terrorist bombing that killed six people, Mr. Hauer, who is director of the city's Office of Emergency Management, said the location was chosen after a study of some 50 alternative sites. The complex now has tight security and is close to the Mayor's office, the Police and Fire Departments and the headquarters of other high city officials, he said, adding that in the event of an emergency, personnel would want to reach the center on foot.” (Judith Miller, “With Crisis In Mind, Center Opens,” The New York Times, 6/8/99)
Major National Security Agencies Already Had Offices In 7 WTC When EOC Location Was Chosen. “The IRS, the Department of Defense, and the CIA kept offices on the 25th floor. The Secret Service occupied the ninth and tenth. The Securities and Exchange Commission (home to vast records of bank transactions) was on floors 11 through 13.” (Mark Jacobson, “The Ground Zero Grassy Knoll,” New York Magazine, 3/27/06)
Giuliani’s Plan For EOC Was Widely Praised By National Security Agencies. “Lost in the press clatter was the fact that the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Clinton White House and National Security Council, the FBI, CIA, and Secret Service (the latter three also had offices in [the] World Trade Center) praised the mayor’s plans for an emergency command center.” (Fred Siegel, “The Prince Of The City,” 2005, p. 226)
• “Asked What He Thought Of The Facility, Col. Robert Fitton, A Visiting Official From The U.S. Department Of Defense, Said ‘This Is Certainly State Of The Art. It’s One Of The Better Ones I’ve Seen.” (Graham Rayman, “City Unveils Command Center,” Newsday, 6/8/99)
New York Times Editorial: “The Mayor’s Proposal [For The EOC] Makes Sense.” (Editorial, “The Bunker Is Not A Laughing Matter,” The New York Times, 6/17/98)
7 WTC Was A Secure Building “With Backup Electricity, Phone Lines And Elevators.” “As now planned, [The Mayor’s Crisis Center] would occupy space on the 23d floor of 7 World Trade Center in downtown Manhattan, commanding unobstructed views and proximity to Federal agencies whose expertise is often crucial in emergencies. City officials decided to lease the space as the most secure and usable of more than 50 buildings surveyed in the last year and a half. Once constructed, the command hub would be able to withstand hurricane winds, bullets and some kinds of bombs. It will have work space for 100 people with backup electricity, phone lines and elevators.” (Editorial, “The Bunker Is Not A Laughing Matter,” The New York Times, 6/17/98)
IAFF MISLEADS ON RECOVERY EFFORTS AT GROUND ZERO
IAFF Claims Giuliani Did Not Care About Remains Of Firefighters
But Simply Wanted To Recover Gold And Silver From Bank Vault
VOICEOVER: “Fire Fighters Began The Difficult Task Of Respectfully Recovering The Remains Of Civilians And Their Fallen Brothers. But Then Gold Belonging To The Bank Of Nova Scotia Was Found And Removed. …Within Hours Of Announcing That The Gold Had Been Recovered, Rudy Pulled FDNY Members Off The Pile Claiming He Was Worried About Their Safety.” (IAFF’s “Rudy Giuliani: Urban Legend,” Released 7/11/07)
But Giuliani Wanted To Honor And Record All Those Who Lost Their Lives On 9/11
Giuliani Was “Touched” By Treatment Of Lost Firefighters, Called Recovery Effort “Sad … But Magnificent.” “The mayor said he was touched to watch a squad of New York City firefighters carry out the body of one of their own yesterday, noting that the men stood saluting while the victim's remains were brought from the rubble and blessed by a department chaplain. ‘It gives you a sense of the honor that is being paid to those who have been lost,’ Giuliani said, calling the effort ‘sad ... but magnificent.’” (Greg Clary, “Their Mission Remains The Same,” The [Westchester County] Journal News, 9/23/01)
Giuliani Insisted That Debris Be Removed Carefully So Human Remains Could Be Located. Giuliani: “The mission is going to remain the same for some time …The firefighters and construction workers and police officers that are there are removing debris carefully in order to find human beings or human remains. The way in which we go about what we're doing will remain exactly the same.” (Greg Clary, “Their Mission Remains The Same,” The [Westchester County] Journal News, 9/23/01)
“City Officials Also Decided To Reduce The Number Of Large Earth-Movers On The Site To Prevent Bodies Or Body Parts From Accidentally Being Lifted And Dumped Into Piles Of Rubble That Are Sent To Staten Island For Sorting.” (Jennifer Steinhauer, “Ex-Firefighter's Quiet Plea Ends Conflict Over Staffing,” The New York Times, 11/17/01)
Throughout Search And Recovery Operation, Safety Was Primary Concern ...
Giuliani Said That Nothing Could Justify Losing Another Firefighter In The Rescue Effort. “Giuliani: All of us standing here have friends that continue to remain there, and we would love to recover them. But none of us standing here can possibly justify seeing a human being die in this effort.” (Rudy Giuliani, As Quoted On NBC’s “Today,” 11/2/01)
Mayor Giuliani And FDNY Deputy Chief Peter Hayden Made The Safety Of Those Involved In The Search And Recovery Operations Their Top Priority. Every “Incident Action Plan” from FDNY had as its first objective, “provide for the health, safety and welfare of all personnel working in and around the incident.” (FDNY Incident Action Plans, 9/23/01-1/14/02)
The Mayor’s Concern For Worker’s Safety Was Evident In The Fact That Not One Person Died In Recovery Operations At The World Trade Center Site And That Only 35 Workers Suffered Non-Life Threatening Injuries Resulting In Lost Workdays. (Occupational Safety & Health Administration, “Injury And Illness Rate At World Trade Center Site Nearly Half National Average For Similar Sites,” Press Release, 4/12/02)
... And Safety Considerations Dictated Number Of Firefighters Permitted On Site
Due To Safety Concerns, The Number Of Firefighters Involved In Search And Recovery Operations Had Been Steadily Declining Since At Least September 23, When The Number Of Firefighters Stood At 350 Per Shift, To October 31, When The Number Of Firefighters Involved In Search And Recovery Operations Were 120 Per Shift. (FDNY Incident Action Plans, 9/23/01, 10/30/01)
Mayor Giuliani Based Recovery Plan That Included Drawdown Of Firefighter Presence On Recommendations Of Safety Experts. “Mayor Rudy Giuliani said the plan was based on the recommendations of safety experts brought in by the New York City Department of Design and Construction and the engineering-construction firm, Bechtel. ‘This is all about safety,’ Giuliani said Wednesday. ‘We don't want any more casualties. We don't want any serious injuries. This is a very dangerous operation. We have to make certain everybody's wearing their equipment, everybody's being careful, and everything's being done in a coordinated way,’ he said.” (“Cops, Firefighters Scaled Back At Ground Zero,” CNN.com, 11/1/01)
• Mayor Giuliani: “All Of The Changes Being Made At Ground Zero Are Being Made For Safety Reasons … If The Safety Experts Can Be Convinced That We Can Make Exceptions To It