Presidential candidate Rudolph Giuliani’s emphasis on terrorism is not consistent with his overall record as a public official, says the Washington Post. He accuses Democrats of reverting to their “denial” in the 1990s, when, he said, President Bill Clinton erred by treating terrorism as a law enforcement matter, not a war. For most of Giuliani’s career as a Department of Justice official, prosecutor, and New York mayor, terrorism was a narrow aspect of his broader crime-fighting agenda, which was dominated by drug dealers, white-collar criminals and the Mafia. Giuliani expressed confidence that Islamic extremism could be contained through investigation by law enforcement agencies and prosecution in the court system — the same approach he now condemns.
Joe Lhota, a former deputy mayor, said Giuliani’s shift from not dwelling on terrorism to full-throated warnings could be attributed to the difference between being a mayor and a presidential candidate. “It’s really the role of the [mayor] to reassure the public that the situation is under control. It’s the role of national leader to tell Americans that we are vulnerable,” he said. Jerome Hauer, former New York City emergency commissioner, says of the rhetorical shift that in the 1990s, Giuliani “wanted to play the threat down. Rudy felt like talking about [terrorism] was alarmist. He never talked about it except in reaction to something. Now he’s screaming that the sky is falling.”