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Election 2008: Terror Town

July 12, 2007 |  1:59 pm

Rudy A friend of mine calls Rudy Giuliani the Mayor of Terror Town. I find this to be a clarifying and possibly break-out nickname. Why, just this morning on CNN I saw the chilling headline: “Al Qaeda Resurgence?” This was accompanied by B-roll of presumed Al Qaeda trainees practicing their kick-boxing techniques!

Mayor of Terror Town, won’t you help?

The trouble with painting yourself as a hero writ large, of course, is that this same heroism can die hard (see John Kerry’s “reporting for duty” moment at the 2004 Democratic National Convention). Now the Mayor of Terror Town is the subject of a 13-minute video put out by the International Assn. of Firefighters Wednesday. The video, up at and on YouTube, uses testimonials of current and former New York City firefighters and their loved ones, who accuse Giuliani of missteps like replacing old, defective radios with new, defective radios and giving up the search for remains of firefighters and others prematurely, opting instead to move mounds of debris to a landfill.

The video, to be sure, has the effect of a campaign ad.

“Who’s paying for this?” Chris Matthews of MSNBC’s “Hardball” asked IAFF General President Harold A. Schaitberger Wednesday. “Why are you going after a Republican candidate before we even have a Republican nomination?”

Schaitberger, noting that the ad was funded not by union dues but by a voluntarily funded political action committee (it’s called the International Assn. of Firefighters Interested in Registration and Education Political Action Committee), says in the video that “the urban legend of America’s mayor needs to be balanced by the truth.”

On “Hardball,” Schaitberger suggested a tug-of-war is going on between Mayor of Terror Town operatives and the union over whether firefighters should make themselves available for photo-ops.

On its website, the Giuliani campaign responded with that most visual of media -- the press release. In fact, Giuliani took extensive steps to prepare the city "for all emergencies,” it reads, before laying out the Mayor of Terror Town’s accomplishments on this sensitive issue and defending his post-9/11 decisions.

Is this the opening salvo in a Swift Boat Veterans for Truth Redux?

-- Paul Brownfield

(Photo: AP)