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Interview with Rudolph Giuliani

Aired September 11, 2002 - 07:21   ET


AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Boy, that shot of the mayor walking down the street that first morning is one of the most unforgettable images. At this morning's ground zero ceremony, Mr. Giuliani will begin the reading of the names of those who died in the tragedy of the Trade Center. One hundred and ninety-six readers will follow the former mayor, who joins us now.
It's always a pleasure to talk to the former mayor of New York City, Rudolph Giuliani.

Mr. Mayor, good morning to you.


BROWN: At the risk of asking the most ordinary of questions, your first relevant thought when you woke up this morning?

GIULIANI: That the day is here. I'm thankful that it's here because I want to get it over with and, you know, get through this, a day of what is going to be enormously painful memories for me, personal memories of the people I was informed of that died that I knew, the large numbers that I started to realize that we had lost.

And then it's going to be one of those really contradictory days where I have this tremendous feeling of pride in the bravery of the response of the uniformed people and the others who saved more people in a short period of time than ever before in American history.

So it's both. I mean it's going to be the saddest day and it's going to be a day of pride and a day of, in a very solemn way, celebration about their bravery.

ZAHN: Mr. Mayor, along the way you have talked about the overwhelming sense of anger you had on every return visit to ground zero. In some cases you went there 12 times a day. As you individually read the names of folks who lost their lives down there, what is going to be going through your mind?

GIULIANI: Well, there's no question that part of the emotion today had already happened when I came down here early this morning and I just sort of passed by the periphery of it. We have to commit ourselves to ending global terrorism. This shouldn't happen, I mean. And we have to make sure that we element the possibility of people killing innocent people for some insane cause or for some cause that has to become insane once the method you use is the slaughter of innocent people. And maybe we have to learn this. We can't accommodate terrorism. When someone uses the slaughter of innocent people to advance a so- called political cause, at that point the political cause becomes immoral and unjust and they should be eliminated from any serious discussion, any serious debate.

And I think if we stood for that, then this terrorism that really began plaguing us in the '70s, maybe we'd see a real end to it if we could get all of these countries to come together. I brought a lot of world leaders down to ground zero. And I would often make the point to them -- and many of them would make it spontaneously on their own -- this could happen to us.

Well, it could happen to them. In some cases it has. And we should use this day to unite in the cause of ending global terrorism, however that has to be done.

BROWN: Mr. Mayor, we should have said when we introduced you, our condolences to you on the passing of your mother the other day, which only makes this day that much more difficult.

GIULIANI: Thank you.

BROWN: Certainly the country's view of New York has been changed by what happened a year ago. I wonder if you think the City of New York has been changed or if it is simply that better self that has always been in New York that has, that people have seen.

GIULIANI: It's, it is exactly that. It's a city that's become stronger because it's, you know, cities are like people, if you think about it, right? A person withstands the worst attack they could possibly imagine, maybe even worse than they could ever imagine. They wake up the next morning, they're there, they're fighting back. You become stronger when you do that.

And I think it's also brought out something that's always been there that's maybe a little bit hidden by the fact that we're so crowded and we have to move so fast, tremendously big-hearted people that represent the entire country and the entire world.

I mean we have representatives from every place in the country and every place in the world here. And there's a generosity of spirit that comes out when we're really tested. And maybe that's hidden when, you know, times are good and everybody's taking everything for granted.

So I think you're right. I think it has brought out a generosity and spirit that's there. Sometimes it's a little hidden.

ZAHN: We thank you for trying to bring attention to that generosity of spirit here this morning.

BROWN: Thank you. Thank you.

ZAHN: Mr. Mayor, a final question for you. The reality, though, is that New York has some challenging problems that lie ahead, the cost of these terrorist attacks coming to some $100 billion. What is your chief concern as the city tries to rebuild its downtown infrastructure?

GIULIANI: My chief concern is the concern I've always had, that the city maintain its optimistic spirit and understanding of the tremendous strengths that it has as a most diverse city in the world. And my chief concern is not about whether the city can recover. The city has already, in large measure, you know, recovered and is stronger than it was before. It's a place that has taken on even more legendary status, which actually can be of tremendous use to the city.

But my big concern is I'm sure the same as the concern of the president and the governors and the mayors and that is, you know, any further attacks. That's really the thing that we have to be concerned about. If what we have to deal with is the aftermath of this attack, there will be a lot of mourning and a lot of personal loss, much of which I feel myself for the people that I knew that are gone. But we have the strength to get beyond this. And we are, in large measure, you know, we've grown from this tremendously as a people. Maybe we don't even understand it yet.

BROWN: Mr. Mayor, it's always good to see you. It's especially good and important to see you today.

GIULIANI: Thank you.

BROWN: Thank you for all of your work of a year ago and god bless.

Thank you, sir, the former mayor...

GIULIANI: And thank you for the kind words about my mom. I appreciate it.

BROWN: You're very welcome.

The former mayor of New York, Rudolph Giuliani.




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