Misleading NY Times: Giuliani Didn't Give Clinton's Terror Policies a Pass at CPAC

Chief New York Times political reporter Adam Nagourney went to CPAC, the 3-day conservervapalooza gathering in Washington, D.C., and came back with profiles of Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani, both trying to appeal to social conservatives despite their past liberal stands on some social issues.

But Nagourney also guarded the Clintons' right flank on its history of fighting terror by misleadingly suggesting former New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani gave the Clinton administration a pass in its response to terrorism before 9-11, although Giuilani devoted several minutes of his CPAC speech to criticizing the Democratic mindset on fighting terror.


"Mr. Giuliani focused on what has been one of his electoral strengths: his performance as mayor after the attacks on the World Trade Center. Mr. Giuliani departed from a standard criticism of President Bill Clinton by Republicans, who have faulted him for not recognizing the emerging terrorist threat after the first attack on the World Trade Center and the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole.

"'I don’t blame people for that,' he said. 'I don’t think it’s instructive or helpful to do that.'"

But as blogger Ace of Spades first pointed out, Nagourney misled by wrenching the quote out of context from Giuliani's speech, in which the former mayor made clear he faults the pre-9-11 mindset of the Democratic party on fighting terror.

You can watch the relevant excerpt of Giuliani's speech at YouTube. Here's an excerpt of Giuliani's speech, with Nagourney's quote highlighted.

"They would attack us, and sometimes we would respond and sometimes we wouldn't. And when we responded we would not respond as if they were at war with us, we would respond as if it was a criminal act. That's what happened when they attacked us in 1993 in my city, in the same place. We prosecuted them as if it were one of the 1,900 or 2,000 murders that happened that year. We didn't get the fact that they were at war with us. And they attacked us a number of times after that, our interest and our people, and we responded, but never recognizing that it had to be a very, very significant long-term response. And then they attacked us on the U.S.S. Cole and we didn't respond at all. I don’t blame people for that. I don't. I don’t think it’s instructive or helpful to do that. There were a lot of things going on, and very, very hard sometimes to see these things as they're developing. It's only with the hindsight of a shocking event or history that you can see these things. But I do blame people for not seeing it after September 11, 2001….we have to be on offense against them….you can see that the Democrats are very, very uncomfortable on all of this as they are on Iraq and everything else. And they want to, they want to, and here's what I really believe they want to do, they want to go back to the way they were doing it in the 1990s, which is, let's be on defense, let's negotiate, let's bring in the United Nations, or let's bring in France and let's bring in Germany."

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Clay Waters
Clay Waters
Clay Waters was director of Times Watch, a former project of the Media Research Center.