A group of New York City firefighters who lost sons in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center is organizing a political committee to oppose former Mayor Rudy Giuliani in key Republican primary states.
A leader of the 9/11 Firefighters and Families group met Tuesday with political consultants and union leaders to discuss plans to establish a tax-exempt committee to fund appearances and a media effort against Giuliani.
The group aims to cast doubt on the major premise of Giuliani’s presidential campaign — his leadership role on 9/11, according to Jim Riches, a deputy fire chief whose firefighter son perished on Sept. 11.
“If we have to follow him around all 2008, we’ll do it,” Riches said in remarks reported by the Los Angeles Times.
The firefighters in the group blame Giuliani for decisions that they feel contributed to the death toll from the terrorist attacks, including failing to provide first responders with proper radio equipment before the attacks and scaling back recovery efforts at the World Trade Center site before many firefighters’ bodies had been found.
According to the Times, “The 9/11 group is already being compared by some political observers to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth group that damaged the candidacy of Sen. John Kerry in 2004 by impugning his Vietnam War service in the Navy.”
But Howard Safir, who headed the New York Fire and Police departments under Giuliani and now heads First Responders for Rudy, said: “A majority of firefighters believe that Rudy was a great leader on 9/11.”
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