Giuliani Pivots from Bhutto News to Military Funding
By Juliet Eilperin
MIAMI -- GOP presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani cited today's assassination of Benazir Bhutto as yet another example of why the U.S. needs to "go on offense" against Islamic terrorism and expand its military might.
Speaking to a group of retired law enforcement officers in Broward County, Giuliani said the assassination "should unite us in facing the terrorist war against us. This is a war that is ongoing. This is a war that we have not chosen."
The former New York mayor, who is in the midst of a three-day swing through Florida before heading to Iowa tomorrow, said if elected president he would expand every branch of the military, adding 10 combat brigades and ensuring the country had a 300-ship Navy.
"We need a military that is ready for anything the terrorists might throw at us," he said, speaking before a chapter of the 10-13 Club, a group of retired police officers and firefighters who hail primarily from New York. "The reality is we need a larger military so these things don't become a strain."
Giuliani also suggested the U.S. should enlarge its military force in Afghanistan in order to prevent the Taliban and Al-Qaeda from reemerging there as influential forces in the region. In light of America's military victories in Afghanistan five years ago, he said, "We've got to makes sure... those gains are made permanent."
After an earlier meeting in Ft. Lauderdale with a group of veterans, Giuliani told reporters Bhutto's assassination reminded him of both the Sept. 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center and the subsequent 2005 terrorist bombings in London.
"These attacks are taking place in so many parts of the world," said Giuliani, who was traveling in London at the time of the 2005 attack. "These attacks are affecting all of us."
Giuliani, who unveiled a new national ad today that includes footage from the Sept. 11 attacks, said he is using the image of those attacks "in a proportional way," adding that other political candidates had used similar footage in the past.
"I believe [New York Democratic Sen.] Hillary Clinton has, President Bush did in the last campaign," he said. "It is part of my life. It is a part of my life that helps define me."
In an interview this morning, Giuliani said Democrats including Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) would take the opposite approach to fighting terrorism. These presidential aspirants would merely react to terrorist attacks, he said, rather than working actively to prevent them.
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