In a new interview with ABC News, Rudy Giuliani states that he decided to run for president after 9/11, “while leading [New York City] through the crisis”:
Toward the end of his 7½ year tenure as mayor, New York City was attacked by terrorists on Sept. 11, 2001. At some point while leading the city through the crisis, he decided he wanted to be president.
During the crisis, he realized just how much his term as mayor had prepared him for catastrophe. “I remember having this sense that I can do this. You know, I’m not going to do it perfectly. I’m going to make a certain number of mistakes. But maybe in some ways, it’s fortunate I’ve been mayor for 7½ years.”
Giuliani has constructed a grand narrative about how 9/11 not only changed the country, but also his outlook on the world and his political ambitions. He even invoked 9/11 to explain why he rudely answered his cell phone while giving a speech to the National Rifle Association.
But Giuliani was considering running for president long before 9/11. According to a Nov. 20, 1998 New York Daily News article, Giuliani was thinking about running for president in 2000:
Mayor Giuliani yesterday pledged he won’t wait until “the final hour” as former Gov. Mario Cuomo did to decide if he’ll launch a White House run.
Offering the first tiny clue to his timetable, the mayor said he will decide “sometime next year” if he’ll vie for President or senator or bow out of the political fray altogether. […]
Asked when he’d make up his mind, Giuliani said, “Sometime next year we’ll focus on what happens to me in the future, whether I decide to be a candidate and for what.“
Yet earlier this year in September, Giuliani told CNN that the reason he quit the Iraq Study Group in 2006 was because he was thinking of running for president:
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.
So did Rudy decide to run for president in 2001? Or was it 1999? Or post-2006? Whatever the date, it’s clear that 9/11 is more of a convenient symbol than a truly transformative experience in this case. TPM has more on Giuliani’s exploitation of 9/11.