Giuliani Says Yes to Press, Campaign Volunteer Says No

(CBS)
From CBS News' Ryan Corsaro:

BEDFORD, N.H. -- A small skirmish between a Rudy Giuliani campaign volunteer and local media erupted following a New Hampshire town hall, showing confusion among Giuliani's people about granting press access to the mayor.

Reporters and camera people followed the mayor for questions but were stopped and told there would be no access to and no questions for the mayor - despite Giuliani saying he would take questions during the town hall earlier.

A supporter had asked the former mayor about his feelings on Hillary Clinton allegedly ignoring reporters' questions. Giuliani said he thought it was important for candidates and the president to take questions, and that he does so as much as he can.

"When we finish here later, I'll take three or four questions from the press" said Giuliani.

But Giuliani event organizers halted members of the media and told them to file out of the building when trying to get a few questions from Giuliani as he headed toward a back room.

"No way, move back! He's not taking questions!" said organizers.

Reporters were directed to speak with New Hampshire campaign organizer Jeff Grappone, who was "somewhere in the back," but a campaign spokesperson later said Grappone had not been at the Bedford event.

Kelley Tuthill from Boston affiliate WCVB-TV asked if the mayor would take questions later, as he had promised during the town hall.

"No, he's not going to talk to you," said the organizer, wearing a "Rudy" sticker on his shirt.

"So we'll just use that soundbite…it was a lie," Tuthill responded.

"That's correct – well, it wasn't a lie," said the organizer, who would not give his name. "I didn't say it."

Another event organizer told us "that wasn't the context in which [Giuliani] meant it."

After mentioning repeatedly that the mayor had said publicly he would take a few questions, reporters were still asked to leave the property.

A half hour following the incident, a full news conference was finally organized, and Giuliani took questions for twenty minutes.

A Giuliani campaign official apologized for the incident later this afternoon, saying: "Our campaign goes above and beyond to accommodate the press, and it is unfortunate that this happened. This was an overzealous volunteer's mistake and will not be repeated on the campaign trail."

  • Ryan Corsaro

Comments