Giuliani Contradicts Statements on Bhutto in Ad

(CBS)
From CBS News' Ryan Corsaro:

HOOKSETT, N.H. -- In a television advertisement set to run nationally the same day as Iowa's caucus, Rudy Giuliani's campaign uses a photo of assassinated Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto despite previously saying her death "should not be viewed in a political light."

The ad, entitled "Ready," shows a visual montage that includes video of Bhutto, as well as footage of Osama Bin Laden, scenes of political and social unrest in Middle Eastern countries, and the image of a collapsed World Trade Center tower.

The narration of the ad says, "An enemy without borders. Hate without boundaries. A people perverted. A religion betrayed. A nuclear power in chaos. Madmen bent on creating it. Leaders assassinated. Democracy attacked. And Osama bin Laden still making threats. In a world where the next crisis is a moment away… America needs a leader who's ready."

Footage of Bhutto is used during the line "Leaders assassinated," and it ends with Giuliani's voice approving the message.

But the ad, set to run on Fox News and local stations in Florida and New Hampshire, seems to contradict statements Giuliani made less than a week ago about the use of Bhutto's death for political purposes.

Last Friday, while campaigning in Fort Lauderdale, Giuliani responded to the death of Bhutto that morning by saying "I think it's inappropriate to see it in political terms."

He went on to say, "The reality is this is an issue of security, national security. Obviously for the region of Pakistan. The people of Pakistan (and) Afghanistan are one region in many respects, right? What happens in one effects the other. It's a matter of national security for all of us because it reminds us that we're all in this together."

The mayor ended his statement on Bhutto's death by saying "It should not be viewed in a political light. Now, having said that, everything ultimately gets viewed in a political light. But I don't think that would be the most appropriate thing right now to talk about."

When reached for comment, Giuliani campaign spokesperson Maria Comella said that the "right now" part of the statement is the most noteworthy, and that the mayor's intention was to stress that it should not be politicized "that day".

"The ad is about national security and the context of what we're facing," said Comella. "It's about the big challenge of what we're facing and a brutal reminder of the war on terror."

Several other candidates, including Hillary Clinton, Joseph Biden, John Edwards, and Mitt Romney made statements following the death of Bhutto. Giuliani is the first and only candidate to include her image in a political advertisement.

"The ad uses this as a reminder of the war on terror," Comella reiterated when asked about the apparent contradiction between Giuliani's statements in Florida last week. "As the mayor has always said, this is one of the greatest challenges our country faces."


  • Ryan Corsaro

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