Yesterday when Giuliani said “I was at ground zero as often, if not more, than most of the workers” he was immediately and roundly criticized.
Looking at the larger quote it seems to me his subsequent clarification—that he was trying to express empathy for the 9-11 workers whose health is suffering--rings true:
“This is not a mayor or a governor or a president who's sitting in an ivory tower. I was at ground zero as often, if not more, than most of the workers. I was there working with them. I was there guiding things. I was there bringing people there. But I was exposed to exactly the same things they were exposed to. So in that sense, I'm one of them."
So have Giuliani’s words been taken out of context? Are his detractors being unfair? No.
Even without the offending line, his words are self-aggrandizing and his attempt at empathy politically calculated and patently false. The one line that has been seized-upon is in fact entirely in-context. Giuliani has convinced himself (with a little help from his friends) that he is the one and only hero of 9-11.
By not providing for the rescue workers, by setting himself up as a “terrorism expert” (despite having placed his anti-terrorism center against other advice, in a known target), by claiming his first thought in the attack was “thank God George Bush is our president” (at the 2004 RNC convention, when the content of the 2001 August 6 PDB that Bush ignored was well known), and certainly by his utter lack of support for rescue-workers subsequent health claims, his newly expressed “empathy” is obviously complete bullshit.
The actual meaning behind his words is that as he’s not suffering the health effects of the rescue workers their complaints must be exaggerated. Giuliani didn’t actually “misspeak” nor are his words being taken out of context or being purposely misconstrued. He’s fooled himself into thinking he can fool everyone else, and oh, how he thinks he suffers!
Well he isn’t suffering, and those who truly are suffering refuse to suffer fools any more.