- The Washington Times - Monday, August 30, 2004

Excerpts from the prepared text of last night’s speech by former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani to the Republican National Convention at Madison Square Garden in New York:

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. …

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. …

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.” …

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. … Terrorists came to learn they could attack and often not face consequences. …

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? …

On September 20, 2001, President Bush stood before a joint session of Congress … [and] dedicated America under his leadership to destroying global terrorism. …

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. … 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 nine 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.

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