Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani stopped by Starting Point Monday morning, where he was asked to weigh in on the upcoming debate between Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama. He thought Romney was a consistently good debater and would turn in a strong performance this week, but thought Obama’s last showing was “really troubling” and a “shock.” Giuliani was also unimpressed by Joe Biden‘s performance during last week’s vice presidential debate, calling it “very damaging” to the re-election campaign. “What the heck’s he laughing at?” he asked.
Host Soledad O’Brien then brought up the Obama campaign’s argument that, if Republicans are criticizing laughter, they actually don’t have anything of substance with which to find fault.
“There’s plenty to criticize,” said Giuliani. “I mean, the cover-up of Benghazi is startling…” At that point, when guest Richard Socarides attempted to cut in, Giuliani pressed forward. “Can I finish?,” he asked. “Can I finish my statement before you get all upset? I mean, the reality is he said we didn’t know they were asking for more security. Where the heck was he? I mean, they were demanding more security. They were begging for more security. Susan Rice goes on television four days later — I was on CNN with her that morning — and says it was a spontaneous demonstration. I knew it wasn’t. I knew it wasn’t; I’m not part of the administration. I knew it wasn’t the day after. And she had to know it wasn’t. They were saying it wasn’t. The National Security adviser said it was a terrorist plot.”
The White House is essentially trying to run out the clock by holding off on giving real answers until after the election, said Giuliani, who did not hesitate to label the matter a “cover-up.” “The statement was made, including by the President of the United States, that this was due to this terrible movie about Mohammed,” said Giuliani.
“He actually didn’t say that,” O’Brien replied. “The actual verbatim of what he said, he did not say it was something other than that. But it was mentioned, but he did not specifically say this was due to a movie.”
“Man, the defensive — Am I debating with the President’s campaign? […] I mean, the defense of the President is overwhelming,” said Giuliani.
“This sounds like a cover-up. I mean, if this weren’t a Democratic president I think all you people would be going crazy,” he added.
“The one thing I’m debating with you is just specifics,” said O’Brien. “So when you quote someone or you paraphrase them, the only thing I ask is that you get that accurate. That’s all I ask. We’re going to pull those, because you’re not, you’re a little bit off.”
“We’re also entitled to interpret what the President is saying without this, like, massive defense of everything he says,” he replied. He later said that, as a Republican, he’s not included — as some others are — to give the President an automatic benefit of the doubt. “Something’s rotten in the state of Denmark,” he concluded.
Later, when Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else author Chrystia Freeland attempted to ask Giuliani a question, she became visibly upset with fellow panelist Margaret Hoover for speaking over her.
Have a look at their discussion, via CNN:
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