CNN’s Kyra Phillips: ‘Iraq War is Not About Protecting Us From Terrorism’

May 21st, 2008 4:14 PM

"American Morning" substitute co-host Kyra Phillips pressed former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani on the Iraq war on Wednesday, asserting that her liberal talking point was a fact. When Giuliani defended President Bush’s legacy, that he "will go down as he has protected us against terrorism when nobody thought it could be done," Phillips retorted, "But the Iraq war is not about protecting us from terrorism. It's been the most unpopular and controversial war." When the former mayor challenged this statement as her opinion, Phillips became rather defensive. "Oh, I’m not saying that. No, no, no, I'm not voicing my opinion.... I'm voicing what's out there. I’m voicing the realities" [audio available here].

Earlier in the interview, which began 26 minutes into the 7 pm hour of the CNN program, Phillips asked Giuliani, "[Y]ou’ve got Republicans, leading Republicans in the party saying McCain has got to disassociate himself from President Bush. President Bush has ruined the image of the Republican Party, taken the Republican Party down into the tank. You don't agree with that?" Giuliani responded, "I think President Bush has been -- has not been treated as fairly as he should be, and I think President Bush is going to be a very different President when we look at him from historical purposes...."

Phillips then brought the Iraq war into the discussion: "How is he going to go down in history? You don't think it’s going to be the Iraq war?" Giuliani then gave his "protected us against terrorism" answer, which Phillips followed with her Iraq war assertion.

Giuliani stuck to his point that Phillips was voicing her liberal opinion on the Iraq war. "That’s your opinion, your opinion is the Iraq war is some kind of a big mistake. My opinion is we wouldn't be safe against terrorism if we hadn't taken the action we took in Afghanistan and in Iraq...." He continued that the success against al Qaeda and "other elements" in Iraq has made John McCain, whom Giuliani is campaigning for, look "a lot better than he did a year ago," and made the case for McCain’s "proven commodity" versus Barack Obama’s lack of experience.

In response to Giuliani’s answer, Phillips then brought up how "68 percent of the people here in the U.S. oppose the war in Iraq." Giuliani then claimed that "they do, but also a majority of them don't want us to precipitously to pull out the way Barack Obama does." Phillips’ last words on the matter: "Well, that will be interesting to see how the candidates take on the issue."