Is Rudy Running For President? On The Anniversary of 9/11 CBS Wants To Know
On Monday morning, the fifth anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani appeared on the morning shows of each of the three broadcast networks, ABC’s "Good Morning America," NBC’s "Today," and CBS’s "Early Show. While "Good Morning America," and "Today" avoided talk of possible future campaigns, Rene Syler on the "Early Show" looked ahead to the Presidential campaign in 2008 and inquired if Mr. Giuliani would himself be a candidate:
"If I could, sir, ask you about your political aspirations because there's been a lot of talk. You remain a presidential prospect for 2008, will you run for president?"
It would be one thing to ask President Bush about politics, as the nation is in the midst of a midterm election cycle. Or to ask Senator Hillary Clinton these questions as she is running for reelection to the Senate in New York. Yet, Rudy Giuliani holds no elective office at the current time, so why does CBS feel it necessary to pursue this question now? And, while Senator Clinton was also interviewed on the "Early Show," CBS didn’t find it necessary to ask her about her future political ambitions.
While all interviews had political components, Ann Curry on "Today" asked Mr. Giuliani to respond to a statement made by Hillary Clinton:
"Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton said this morning that we are, 'Safer but not safe enough.' Do you agree with her, sir?"
And all three networks inquired about how Mr. Giuliani could have done things differently. "Today" and "The Early Show" seemed to limit their scope of inquiry to New York and things Giuliani was directly involved with:
CBS’s Rene Syler: "If you had it to do again, would you have done anything differently as you look back on this now?"
NBC’s Ann Curry: "What would you differently, excuse me for interrupting you, but that's a very interesting point. What would you do differently given everyone seems to say that you did such a great job?"
Diane Sawyer on "Good Morning America" asked Giuliani to take a look at the overall War on Terror and what he would have done different had he been president:
"I think a lot of people thought in five years America would be energy independent or at least on its way to independence from Middle East oil. That in Afghanistan, the Taliban will be completely routed. We know that is not the case and the opium fields are starting to begin again. If you had been president for these five years, is there anything you would have done differently?"
Additionally, all three networks asked Giuliani to respond to comments made by former EPA administrator Christie Todd Whitman that the responsibility for ensuring that rescue workers at ground zero wore respirators lied with New York City officials and not with the federal government.
Yet, only the "Early Show" directly inquired about the future ambitions of the former mayor. While it is fair to question the lessons learned and what could have been different in New York’s recovery over the past five years, it was in bad taste for CBS to inquire about political plans on this day. It is the fifth anniversary of the worst terrorist attacks ever perpetrated on American soil. CBS should have marked this solemn occasion and remembered the victims of 9/11by leaving politics out of the picture. Politics and questions regarding Presidential campaigns should have and could have waited for another day.