Rudy Giuliani is moving to contain the potentially damaging notion, expressed by critics in stories in the Daily News and New York Post, that he exaggerated his presence at Ground Zero after the attacks of Sept. 11.
(He had said that he was "at Ground Zero as often, if not more, than most of the workers. I was there working with them. I was exposed to exactly the same things they were exposed to. So in that sense, I'm one of them.")
In a radio interview this morning, Giuliani told conservative host Mike Gallagher,
"(W)hat I was trying to say yesterday is that I empathize with them because I feel like I have that same risk. And the way I said it, I probably could have said it better, but what I was trying to say was I was there quite a bit, there are people that were there more than me, people that were [there] less than me. There were people there less than me, people on my staff, who already have had serious health consequences and they weren’t there as often as I was."
Giuliani went on to praise first responders and staff members who worked at Ground Zero and called for them to receive compensation for any illness they might have suffered as a result of that work.
"We should give them everything," he said. "I mean they are heroes in my estimation. And what I was trying to say was even those that were there less than me and the reality is that we’re all in this together and I’m there with them and I feel that I have the same concerns that they have."