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Text of Rudy Giuliani's speech

The text of former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's speech as prepared for delivery Monday at the Republican National Convention.

Associated Press
Published August 31, 2004

Welcome to the capital of the World.

New York was the first capital of our great nation. It was here in 1789 in lower Manhattan that George Washington took the oath of office as the first President of the United States.

It was here in 2001 in lower Manhattan that President George W. Bush stood amid the fallen towers of the World Trade Center and said to the barbaric terrorists who attacked us, "They will hear from us."

They have heard from us! They heard from us in Afghanistan and we removed the Taliban. They heard from us in Iraq and we ended Saddam Hussein's reign of terror.

They heard from us in Libya and without firing a shot Gadhafi abandoned weapons of mass destruction.

They are hearing from us in nations that are now more reluctant to sponsor terrorists.

So long as George Bush is President, is there any doubt they will continue to hear from us until we defeat global terrorism.

We owe that much and more to those loved ones and heroes we lost on September 11th.

The families of some of those we lost on September 11th are here with us. To them, and all those families affected by September 11th, we recognize the sacrifices your loved ones and you have made. You are in our prayers and we are in your debt.

This is the first Republican Convention ever held in New York City. It makes a statement that New York City and America are open for business and stronger than ever.

We're not going to let the threat of terrorism stop us from leading our lives.

From the first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, to President George W. Bush our party's great contribution is to expand freedom in our own land and all over the world.

And our party is at its best when it makes certain that we have a powerful national defense in a still very dangerous world.

I don't believe we're right about everything and Democrats are wrong about everything.

Neither party has a monopoly on virtue.

But I do believe that there are times in our history when our ideas are more necessary and important for what we are facing.

There are times when leadership is the most important.

On September 11, this city and our nation faced the worst attack in our history.

On that day, we had to confront reality. For me, standing below the north tower and looking up and seeing the flames of hell and then realizing that I was actually seeing a man - a human being - jumping from the 101st or 102nd floor drove home to me that we were facing something beyond anything we had ever faced before.

We had to concentrate all of our energy, faith and hope to get through those first hours and days. And I will always remember that moment as we escaped the building we were trapped in at 75 Barclay Street and realized that things outside might be even worse than they were inside the building.

We did the best we could to communicate a message of calm and hope, as we stood on the pavement seeing a massive cloud rushing through the cavernous streets of lower Manhattan.

Our people were so brave in their response.

At the time, we believed we would be attacked many more times that day and in the days that followed. Spontaneously, I grabbed the arm of then Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik and said to Bernie, "Thank God George Bush is our President."

And I say it again tonight, "Thank God George Bush is our President."

On September 11, George W. Bush had been President less than eight months. This new president, vice president, and new administration were faced with the worst crisis in our history.

President Bush's response in keeping us unified and in turning the ship of state around from being solely on defense against terrorism to being on offense as well and for his holding us together.

For that and then his determined effort to defeat global terrorism, no matter what happens in this election, President George W. Bush already has earned a place in our history as a great American president.

But let's not wait for history to present the correct view of our president. Let us write our own history. We need George Bush now more than ever.

The horror, the shock and the devastation of those attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and over the skies of Pennsylvania lifted a cloud from our eyes.

We stood face to face with those people and forces who hijacked not just airplanes but a religion and turned it into a creed of terrorism dedicated to eradicating us and our way of life.

Terrorism did not start on September 11, 2001. It had been festering for many years.

And the world had created a response to it that allowed it to succeed. The attack on the Israeli team at the Munich Olympics was in 1972. And the pattern had already begun.

The three surviving terrorists were arrested and within two months released by the German government.

Action like this became the rule, not the exception. Terrorists came to learn they could attack and often not face consequences.

In 1985, terrorists attacked the Achille Lauro and murdered an American citizen who was in a wheelchair, Leon Klinghoffer.

They marked him for murder solely because he was Jewish.

Some of those terrorists were released and some of the remaining terrorists allowed to escape by the Italian government because of fear of reprisals.

So terrorists learned they could intimidate the world community and too often the response, particularly in Europe, was "accommodation, appeasement and compromise."

And worse the terrorists also learned that their cause would be taken more seriously, almost in direct proportion to the barbarity of the attack.

Terrorist acts became a ticket to the international bargaining table.

How else to explain Yasser Arafat winning the Nobel Peace Prize when he was supporting a terrorist plague in the Middle East that undermined any chance of peace?

Before September 11, we were living with an unrealistic view of the world much like our observing Europe appease Hitler or trying to accommodate ourselves to peaceful coexistence with the Soviet Union through mutually assured destruction.

President Bush decided that we could no longer be just on defense against global terrorism but we must also be on offense.

On September 20, 2001, President Bush stood before a joint session of Congress, a still grieving and shocked nation and a confused world and he did change the direction of our ship of state.

He dedicated America under his leadership to destroying global terrorism.

The president announced the Bush Doctrine when he said: "Our war on terror begins with al-Qaida, but it does not end there.

It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.

"Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists."

And since September 11th President Bush has remained rock solid.

It doesn't matter how he is demonized. It doesn't matter what the media does to ridicule him or misinterpret him or defeat him.

They ridiculed Winston Churchill. They belittled Ronald Reagan.

But like President Bush, they were optimists; leaders must be optimists. Their vision was beyond the present and set on a future of real peace and true freedom.

Some call it stubbornness. I call it principled leadership. President Bush has the courage of his convictions.

In choosing a president, we really don't choose a Republican or Democrat, a conservative or liberal.

We choose a leader.

And in times of danger, as we are now in, Americans should put leadership at the core of their decision.

There are many qualities that make a great leader but having strong beliefs, being able to stick with them through popular and unpopular times, is the most important characteristic of a great leader.

Winston Churchill saw the dangers of Hitler while his opponents characterized him as a warmongering gadfly.

Ronald Reagan saw and described the Soviet Union as "the evil empire" while world opinion accepted it as inevitable and belittled Ronald Reagan's intelligence.

President Bush sees world terrorism for the evil that it is. John Kerry has no such clear, precise and consistent vision. This is not a personal criticism of John Kerry. I respect him for his service to our nation.

But it is important to see the contrast in approach between the two men; President Bush, a leader who is willing to stick with difficult decisions even as public opinion shifts, and John Kerry, whose record in elected office suggests a man who changes his position often even on important issues.

When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990, John Kerry voted against the Persian Gulf War. Later he said he actually supported the war.

Then in 2002, as he was calculating his run for president, he voted for the war in Iraq.

And then just 9 months later, he voted against an $87 billion supplemental budget to fund the war and support our troops.

He even, at one point, declared himself an anti-war candidate. Now, he says he's pro-war. At this rate, with 64 days left, he still has time to change his position at least three or four more times.

My point about John Kerry being inconsistent is best described in his own words when he said, "I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it."

Maybe this explains John Edwards' need for two Americas - one where John Kerry can vote for something and another where he can vote against the same thing.

Yes, people in public office at times do change their minds, I've done that, or they realize they are wrong or circumstances change.

But John Kerry has made it the rule to change his position, rather than the exception. In October, 2003, he told an Arab-American Institute in Detroit that a security barrier separating Israel from the Palestinian Territories was a "barrier to peace."

A few months later, he took exactly the opposite position. In an interview with the Jerusalem Post he said, "Israel's security fence is a legitimate act of self defense."

The contrasts are dramatic. They involve very different views of how to deal with terrorism. President Bush will make certain that we are combatting terrorism at the source, beyond our shores, so we can reduce the risk of having to confront it in the streets of New York.

John Kerry's record of inconsistent positions on combatting terrorism gives us no confidence he'll pursue such a determined course.

President Bush will not allow countries that appear to have ignored the lessons of history and failed for over thirty years to stand up to terrorists, to dissuade us from what is necessary for our defense.

He will not let them set our agenda. Under President Bush, America will lead rather than follow.

John Kerry's claim that certain foreign leaders who opposed our removal of Saddam Hussein prefer him, raises the risk that he would accommodate his position to their viewpoint.

It would hardly be the first time he changed his position on matters of war and peace.

I remember the days following September 11th when we were no longer Democrats or Republicans, but Americans determined to do all we could to help the victims, to rebuild our city and nation and to disable our enemies.

I remember President Bush coming here on September 14, 2001 and lifting the morale of our rescue workers by talking with them and embracing them and staying with them much longer than originally planned.

In fact, if you promise to keep it just between us so I don't get in trouble it was my opinion that the Secret Service was concerned about the president remaining so long in that area.

With buildings still unstable, with fires raging below ground of 2000 degrees or more, there was good reason for concern.

Well the president remained there and talked to everyone, the firefighters, the police officers, the healthcare workers, the clergy, but the people who spent the most time with him were our construction workers.

Now New York construction workers are very special people. I'm sure this is true all over but I know the ones here the best. They were real heroes along with many others that day, volunteering immediately. And they're big, real big. Their arms are bigger than my legs and their opinions are even bigger than their arms. Now each one of them would engage the president and I imagine like his cabinet give him advice. They were advising him in their own words on exactly what he should do with the terrorists. Of course I can't repeat their exact language.

But one of them really went into great detail and upon conclusion of his remarks President Bush said in a rather loud voice, "I agree."

At this point the guy just beamed and all his buddies turned toward him in amazement.

The guy just lost it.

So he reached over, embraced the president and began hugging him enthusiastically.

A Secret Service agent standing next to me looked at the president and the guy and instead of extracting the president from this bear hug, he turned toward me and put his finger in my face and said, "If this guy hurts the president, Giuliani you're finished."

Meekly, and this is the moral of the story, I responded, "but it would be out of love."

I also remember the heart wrenching visit President Bush made to the families of our firefighters and police officers at the Javits Center.

I remember receiving all the help, assistance and support from the president and even more than we asked.

For that I will be eternally grateful to President Bush.

And I remember the support being bipartisan and actually standing hand in hand Republicans and Democrats, here in New York and all over the nation.

During a Boston Red Sox game there was a sign held up saying Boston loves New York.

I saw a Chicago police officer sent here by Mayor Daley directing traffic in Manhattan.

I'm not sure where he sent the cars, they are probably still riding around the Bronx, but it was very reassuring to know how much support we had.

And as we look beyond this election - and elections do accentuate differences - let's make sure we rekindle that spirit that we are one - one America - united to end the threat of global terrorism.

Certainly President Bush will keep us focused on that goal. When President Bush announced his commitment to ending global terrorism, he understood - I understood, we all understood - it was critical to remove the pillars of support for the global terrorist movement.

In any plan to destroy global terrorism, removing Saddam Hussein needed to be accomplished.

Frankly, I believed then and I believe now that Saddam Hussein, who supported global terrorism, slaughtered hundreds of thousands of his own people, permitted horrific atrocities against women, and used weapons of mass destruction, was himself a weapon of mass destruction.

But the reasons for removing Saddam Hussein were based on issues even broader than just the presence of weapons of mass destruction.

To liberate people, give them a chance for accountable, decent government and rid the world of a pillar of support for global terrorism is something for which all those involved from President Bush to the brave men and women of our armed forces should be proud.

President Bush has also focused on the correct long-term answer for the violence and hatred emerging from the Middle East. The hatred and anger in the Middle East arises from the lack of accountable governments.

Rather than trying to grant more freedom, create more income, improve education and basic health care, these governments deflect their own failures by pointing to America and Israel and other external scapegoats.

But blaming these scapegoats does not improve the life of a single person in the Arab world. It does not relieve the plight of even one woman in Iran.

It does not give a decent living to a single soul in Syria. It certainly does not stop the slaughter of African Christians in the Sudan.

The changes necessary in the Middle East involve encouraging accountable, lawful governments that can be role models.

This has also been an important part of the Bush Doctrine and the president's vision for the future.

Have faith in the power of freedom.

People who live in freedom always prevail over people who live in oppression. That's the story of the Old Testament. That's the story of World War II and the Cold War.

That's the story of the firefighters and police officers and rescue workers who courageously saved thousands of lives on September 11, 2001.

President Bush is the leader we need for the next four years because he sees beyond today and tomorrow. He has a vision of a peaceful Middle East and, therefore, a safer world. We will see an end to global terrorism. I can see it. I believe it. I know it will happen.

It may seem a long way off. It may even seem idealistic. But it may not be as far away and idealistic as it seems.

Look how quickly the Berlin Wall was torn down, the Iron Curtain ripped open and the Soviet Union disintegrated because of the power of the pent-up demand for freedom.

When it catches hold there is nothing more powerful than freedom. Give it some hope, and it will overwhelm dictators, and even defeat terrorists. That is what we have done and must continue to do in Iraq.

That is what the Republican Party does best - when we are at our best, we extend freedom.

It's our mission. And it's the long-term answer to ending global terrorism. Governments that are free and accountable.

We have won many battles - at home and abroad - but as President Bush told us on September 20, 2001 it will take a long-term determined effort to prevail.

The war on terrorism will not be won in a single battle. There will be no dramatic surrender. There will be no crumbling of a massive wall.

But we will know it. We'll know it as accountable governments continue to develop in countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq.

We'll know it as terrorist attacks throughout the world decrease and then end.

And then, God willing, we'll all be able on a future anniversary of September 11th to say to our fallen brothers and sisters, to our heroes of the worst attack in our history and to our heroes who have sacrificed their lives in the war on terror.

We will say to them we have done all that we could with our lives that were spared to make your sacrifices build a world of real peace and true freedom.

We will make certain in the words of President Bush that they have heard from us.

That they have heard from us a message of peace through free, accountable, lawful and decent governments giving people hope for a future for themselves and their children.

God bless each one we have lost, here and abroad, and their families. God bless all those defending our freedom. God bless America.

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