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Giuliani Under Fire From Right, Left Over Obama Comments

By    |   Friday, 20 Feb 2015 09:02 AM

Democrats are slamming former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani for questioning whether President Barack Obama "loves America," while several potential 2016 GOP candidates either distanced themselves from his statements or said they believe Obama loves his country but engaged in questionable policies.

While the firestorm was going on, the former mayor made the interview circuit, where he clarified his statements slightly but did not back down on what he'd said during a private Republican dinner event on Wednesday night at Manhattan's elite "21" Club.

At the dinner, Giuliani said that he knows "this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America ... 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."

Former lawmaker Joe Scarborough, on his MSNBC "Morning Joe" show Friday, said that Giuliani's comments left him wondering if the 2016 election will be another race full of such slurs.

Scarborough said in the 2012 election, he was critical of GOP nominee Mitt Romney because "people were going out and saying terrible things and calling the president racist, saying he hated all white people, and you could go down the list of things, that he was a Marxist, that he was a communist" and no one changed the conversation.

He said that he'd like to hear a candidate say he disagrees with the president, "economically, I think he has a disastrous economic policy, disastrous foreign policy, but let's agree on one thing, he loves this country."

Instead, Giuliani's comments left Scarborough wondering if the nation is "really going to go through another cycle where Republican candidates are too stupid to get out of the way of the stupidest people in their party, that keep them from winning presidential elections by spewing hatred, instead of telling people how they're going to get back to work," he said.

But Giuliani, while softening his comments, didn't back down, telling Fox News' Megyn Kelly on Thursday night that he felt his opinion was "perfectly reasonable," and that he wants to repeat that "all I've heard of him [Obama], he apologizes for America, he criticizes America."

Story continues below video.

"He sees Christians slaughtered and doesn't stand up and hold a press conference although we hold a press conference for the situation in Ferguson," Giuliani told Kelly. "He sees Jews being killed for anti-Semitic reasons. Doesn't stand up and hold a press conference.

"This is an American president I've never seen before."

He admitted that patriots are "allowed to criticize," but he doesn't feel Obama's "love of America ... if we look at his rhetoric, [he] has not displayed the kind of love of America ... the exceptionalism that other American presidents have displayed.

"That he has gone abroad and criticized us over and over again, apologized for us. Every time he does it embarrasses me."

And Giuliani said he will not back down unless he hears the president make a speech praising the country and admitting that "Islamic fundamentalist terrorism is our enemy."

The former mayor also defended his comments about Obama not being brought up to love the United States, which some critics Thursday called racist.

"Some people thought it was racist — I thought that was a joke, since he was brought up by a white mother, a white grandfather, went to white schools, and most of this he learned from white people," Giuliani told The New York Times.  "This isn’t racism. This is socialism or possibly anti-colonialism."

Meanwhile, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said that it is time for Republican leaders to "stop this nonsense" when it comes to comments like Giuliani's, and called on them to repudiate his statements, reports Time. 

"One of the Republican frontrunners was sitting just feet away and didn’t say a word," she said, referring to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who was at the dinner. "I would challenge my Republican colleagues and anyone in the Republican Party to say: Enough. They need to start leading."

Giuliani stopped short of endorsing Walker at the dinner, held for the governor to meet key GOP donors. In his speech there, Giuliani also said he is looking for a candidate to express that the United States is the most exceptional country in the world, "and if it's you, Scott, I'll endorse you. And if it's somebody else, I'll support somebody else."

Walker, interviewed Thursday on CNBC, did not say if he agrees with Giuliani, reports Time.

"The mayor can speak for himself. I'm not going to comment on whether — what the president thinks or not. He can speak for himself as well," Walker said. "I'll tell you, I love America, and I think there are plenty of people, Democrat, Republican, independent, everywhere in between, who love this country."

Many Democrats, though, said they thought Giuliani's comments reflected badly on Walker.

Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said that he heard a "deafening silence" from the Wisconsin governor, reports The Associated Press, and called on him to "disassociate himself immediately" from Giuliani's statements.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a potential GOP presidential candidate, though, said he backed Giuliani's statements, noting that the president had "obviously demonstrated for everyone is that he is incapable of successfully executing his duties as our commander in chief."

But others steered clear of the subject.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky did not comment.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said he has no doubt that Obama loves America, "but I just think his policies are bad for our nation."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Democrats are slamming former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani for questioning whether President Barack Obama "loves America," while several potential 2016 GOP candidates either distanced themselves from his statements.
giuliani, obama, love, america, walker, scarborough
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2015-02-20
Friday, 20 Feb 2015 09:02 AM
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