ABC News’ Rick Klein and Jan Simmonds Reports: "America’s Mayor" is about to come under attack.
The nation’s largest firefighters union is set to launch a video on Wednesday that seeks to tarnish former mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s reputation as a strong leader before and after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
The 13-minute video — set for distribution to firefighters and the general public courtesy of the International Association of Fire Fighters — uses interviews with New York City firefighters and families of 9/11 victims to argue that Giuliani has exaggerated his record as mayor.
"He’s running on his 9/11 leadership and it was lacking — and there was none," Jim Riches, a deputy chief in the New York Fire Department and a father of one of the 9/11 victims, says on the video, according to a transcript obtained by ABC News. "I blame Giuliani. He was the leader that day. And he was the leader for the eight years leading up to that."
The documentary-style video — titled "Rudy Giuliani: Urban Legend" — specifically criticizes Giuliani for failing to ensure "interoperability" of communications devices; placing the city emergency command center in the World Trade Center even after the 1993 terrorist attack at the Twin Towers; and Giuliani’s decision to abandon efforts to recover remains of dead firefighters as he sought a quick clean-up of Ground Zero.
The Giuliani campaign has faced such criticism before and has dismissed it as politically motivated griping from a union that has aligned itself with Democrats in the past.
Just this afternoon, the Giuliani campaign released a "Research Briefing" featuring a quote from former New York City Fire Commissioner Howard Safir citing Giuliani’s commitment to New York’s firefighters and first responders.
"Firefighters across the country have no greater friend than Rudy Giuliani," Safir is quoted. "Those of us who have worked with Rudy Giuliani know he has always been a strong and consistent supporter of firefighters and first responders."
Following Safir’s quote, the "Research Briefing" lists over a dozen citings from publications outlining ways in which Giuliani worked to improve and support the New York City Fire Department.
But the firefighters’ union — which had a testy relationship with Giuliani throughout his eight years as mayor — is seeking to dramatize its argument with a video that will be available to its 280,000 members as well as the public at large.