NEW YORK—At a well-attended rally in front of his new Ground Zero headquarters Monday, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani officially announced his plan to run for president of 9/11.
"My fellow citizens of 9/11, today I will make you a promise," said Giuliani during his 18-minute announcement speech in front of a charred and torn American flag. "As president of 9/11, I will usher in a bold new 9/11 for all."
If elected, Giuliani would inherit the duties of current 9/11 President George W. Bush, including making grim facial expressions, seeing the world's conflicts in terms of good and evil, and carrying a bullhorn at all state functions.
"Let us all remember how we felt on that day, with the world watching our every move, waiting on our every word," said Giuliani, flanked by several firefighters, ex-New York Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, and Judith Nathan, his third wife. "With a campaign built on traditional 9/11 values, and with the help of every citizen who believes in the 9/11 dream, I want to make 9/11 great again."
According to Washington–based political analyst Gregory Hammond, Giuliani's candidacy "should not be underestimated."
"Sure, he has no foreign or national policy experience, and both his personal life and political career are riddled with scandal," said Hammond. "But in the key area of having been on TV on 9/11, the other candidates simply cannot match him. And as we saw in 2004, that's what matters most to voters in this post-9/11 world."
After his downtown Manhattan announcement, Giuliani held an afternoon rally near the Pentagon. In the early evening, he flew to a field outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where he hosted a $5,000-a-plate fundraising dinner in a tent decorated with clouds of ash, streaming sheets of singed office paper, and small piles of authentic rubble from the World Trade Center site.
Among the policy planks listed on his website are his Cleaner Air Act, which would severely limit the levels of smoke and harmful gases allowed to pour from 747s flying into 110-story office buildings, guaranteed health insurance covering burns caused by shards of burning metal, and his "No Child Left Behind In A Smoldering Skyscraper" initiative.
Giuliani supporters praised the candidate for his "early and unwavering commitment" to 9/11.
"People talk about Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, but did either of them happen to be mayor of New York in September 2001?" Bedford, NH resident Helen Rolfe said. "Guiliani was. To me, that speaks volumes about this man."
Though his campaign apparatus is not yet fully operational, Giuliani's "mobile campaign units"—refurbished fire trucks decorated with banners, balloons, and bloodstains, whose droning sirens continuously blare Giuliani's official campaign song—have already begun canvassing towns in Iowa and New Hampshire.
Giuliani's pro-9/11 message seems to be resonating with potential voters. Said Ames, IA voter Alan Benoit: "I remember seeing Rudolph Giuliani's face, on television, saying reassuring things during a highly emotional moment filled with fear and confusion. He's got my vote."
With more than a year until the primaries—unless Giuliani's court-filed request to hold New York's primary on the second Tuesday in September is approved—Giuliani said it is too early to discuss potential running mates, though he refused to rule out the possibility of naming a twisted, half-melted aluminum beam, an FDNY ball cap, or even John McCain. Giuliani, however, called rumors that he had met with a large shard of glass from the wreckage of the Pentagon "patently untrue."
"Letting 9/11 fall into the hands of the Democrats in 2008 would be nothing short of a national tragedy," Giuliani said. "Ever since 9/11 was founded that fateful day on 9/11, 9/11 has stood for one thing: 9/11."