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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 12/16/2007

Most Revealing Fibs: Rudy Giuliani

By Michael Dobbs

All political candidates make mistakes, but some mistakes are more revealing than others. A candidate's fibs and exaggerations, and his or her willingness to correct them, tell us something about that person's character and approach to campaigning. To coincide with "The Front Runners" series in the newspaper this week, The Fact Checker is taking a look at the "most revealing fibs" of each of the candidates. Last but not least: Rudy Giuliani.

Sports Hall of Fame, Chicago, Dec. 7

"I brought down crime more than anyone in this country -- maybe in the history of this country -- while I was mayor of New York City...I took the crime capital of America and I turned it into the safest large city in the country."
--Rudy Giuliani, Republican presidential debate, Orlando, FL, October 21, 2007.

Rudy Giuliani has taken a good record in reducing crime in New York City--and tried to make himself look like Superman. FBI statistics show that the New York crime rate had been falling for four years before he became mayor in 1994. Furthermore, New York was hardly the "crime capital of America" when Giuliani took over. Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, and Detroit had higher violent crime rates in 1994.

The reasons for the falling New York crime rate are disputed. Giuliani can certainly claim credit, together with his first police commissioner, William Bratton, for improved policing methods, including the CompStat system for tracking crimes. But other factors, including demographic changes and an overall improvement in the economy, also played a role. For a more detailed look at the mayor's crime-busting exploits, and a comparison with other cities, see my post here.

The endless recycling of dubious boasts has become a staple feature of the Giuliani presidential campaign. The mayor has made a series of claims about his record in New York City, ranging from cutting taxes to boosting adoptions to transforming budget deficits into surpluses, that turn out to be not quite accurate on closer examination. When challenged, Giuliani has often responded by ignoring the critics and repeating the original claim. A few examples:

  • The claim that city expenditures decreased in New York City while he was mayor. According to the Independent Budget Office, spending rose between 1994 and 2002.

  • The claim that he cut taxes 23 times as mayor. Many of these tax cuts had nothing to do with Giuliani and were the responsibility of the state legislature.

  • The claim that he added 12,000 cops to the New York police force. Our fellow fact checkers at found that the police force increased by about 3,600 cops.

  • Perhaps the most blatant example of Giuliani digging in his heels and refusing to admit error came in November when he claimed that his chances of surviving prostate cancer were twice as high in the United States as in England, "under socialized medicine." Numerous cancer researchers disputed the Giuliani statistics, but the mayor simply repeated his false claim. The Giuliani campaign has so far been unable to cite a reputable cancer researcher who agrees with the mayor


    The Pinocchio Test

    It is still too early to rank the candidates in terms of their overall truthfulness. I am giving all the candidates a pass this week on the Pinocchios, but will be back in business next week. See you then.

    By Michael Dobbs  | December 16, 2007; 6:00 AM ET
    Categories:  Candidate Record, Candidate Watch, Social Issues  
    Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Most Revealing Fibs: Mike Huckabee
    Next: Pinocchios for Huckabee on Illegal Immigrants


    Giuliani was Governor? that's biggest lie of all, if he said it. Check your facts too.

    You know the biggest secret: Giuliani loves opera! He'll never talk about it; america is not ready for a president that loves opera. Too much cross-dressing and incest, not to mention castrati.

    Posted by: joseph t. | December 16, 2007 12:04 PM | Report abuse

    Giuliani's statements aren't merely "not quite accurate" they're false. Such equivocating MSM-speak violates the purpose of Dobb's worthy column.

    Posted by: jhbyer | December 16, 2007 3:18 PM | Report abuse

    Josepht, you're so right about opera, but surely it's no more profane than the Bible, just more fun. Admittedly, the latter is a problem for the anti-gay voting bloc.

    Posted by: jhbyer | December 16, 2007 3:40 PM | Report abuse

    Giuliani loves opera -- almost all of which is sung in (close your eyes, Republican rabble) a foreign language!

    Yes, a foreign language! Imagine! No wonder he has been weak on immigration.

    Posted by: pali2500 | December 16, 2007 8:07 PM | Report abuse

    Those in the post are just the easy ones. There's also his claim that he could "end" illegal immigration:

    He said that in his big speech, but he also said it months ago and even printed it on his website. Yet, for some completely unknown reason, the MSM hasn't called him on an obviously impossible claim.

    And, the WaPo's resident NAFTASuperhighway-denier will be happy to learn that Ruuudy's never heard of it either:

    Of course, his LawFirm is involved in the Texas precursor to the NAFTASuperhighway, so maybe he was just confused over the term or something.

    Posted by: LonewackoDotCom | December 16, 2007 11:42 PM | Report abuse

    If you read the Book : Rudy an investigative biography by Wayne Barrett, you would find that Rudy has lied his whole life, and also blatantly cheated on every wife he has had. He is not a moral man. He has switched from loving the homeless to hating the homeless even in one election cycle between the primary and the general election, just because it suited his purposes. He's just a creepy politician, with loyalty only to himself. As a child he was an only child and absolutely spoiled and doted on. His family called him The Prince. He has an over inflated idea of himself as a result. We don't need that kind of personality running the country.

    Posted by: goldie | December 17, 2007 1:04 PM | Report abuse

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