Rudy Giuliani Draws Ire of Top Dem for Saying Obama Doesn’t Love America

Ex-NYC mayor softens comments to add that president is "a patriot."

“I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America,” Giuliani said at the dinner in New York City, Politico reported. “He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.”

Wasserman Schultz, in a speech to the Association of Democratic State Chairs at the DNC Winter Meeting today in Washington, D.C., called on the possible candidates to “start leading.”

Wasserman Schultz mentioned several of the possible contenders by name and said she “rarely agreed with President Bush, but I never questioned his love for our country. I don’t often agree with my Republican colleagues on the Hill, but I know they love America.”

At the dinner, Giuliani said “with all our flaws we’re the most exceptional country in the world. I’m looking for a presidential candidate who can express that, do that and carry it out,” according to Politico. "And if it’s you Scott, I’ll endorse you. And if it’s somebody else, I’ll support somebody else.”

Walker appeared on CNBC today, but wouldn’t respond to Giuliani’s comments. “The mayor can speak for himself, I'm not going to comment on what the president thinks or not, he can speak for himself as well,” Walker said.

A spokeswoman from Walker’s political operation, “Our American Revival,” declined to comment further, instead referring ABC News to Walker’s comments on CNBC.

Giuliani tried to walk back the comments this morning on Fox News, saying he is “not questioning his patriotism,” referring to the president.

Obama spokesman Eric Schultz said this afternoon, "Mr. Giuliani test ran this line of attack during his 2007 run for the presidency. I wasn’t at the dinner and will leave it to those at the dinner to assess whether that was appropriate. He seems to be doing damage control this morning. But I agree with him on one thing: it was a horrible thing to say.”

ABC News' Mark Crudele, John Parkinson and Arlette Saenz contributed to this report.