On Monday, MoveOn.org launched a new TV ad slamming former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani for quitting the Iraq Study Group last year, saying that even though he’s “a big fan of George Bush’s war in Iraq,” he went “AWOL” when he “had the chance to actually do something about the war.”
In an interview with CNN’s John King today, Giuliani responded to the ad, claiming that he quit because he didn’t want to “politicize” the report with his presidential ambitions:
I knew, that ultimately, I could very well be running for President of the United States. I wasn’t sure at the time. And had I stayed on that group, their report was put out just around the time I announced for President, and I would have totally politicized it. It was a mistake to join in the first place.
As TPM’s Greg Sargent noted at the time, Giuliani’s role on the Iraq Study Group was anounced in March 2006, but as early as October 2005, he was touting himself as a potential presidential candidate. “I will be considering it next year,” Giuliani told the AP.
Additionally, “several” members of the bipartisan commission told NBC’s Tim Russert in June “that presidential politics never entered the discussion, it was all about Giuliani’s schedule and commitments versus showing up for the Iraq Study Group”:
RUSSERT: The Giuliani campaign said part of the equation is he was considering to run for president at that time and his presence on the group may pose a potential conflict. Several commission members said to me that presidential politics never entered the discussion, it was all about Giuliani’s schedule and commitments versus showing up for the Iraq Study Group.