On Hardball, Chris Matthews asked, "So, why do people think [Rudy Giuliani] did serve well and perform well, as the leader of New York, during that crisis [9-11]? Why do people think that?" In fact, Matthews himself has repeatedly reinforced the notion of Giuliani's purported heroism on 9-11, calling him a "hero," "gutsy," and "tough."
Discussing former New York mayor and Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani's performance on September 11, 2001, during the May 1 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, HBO host Bill Maher told host Chris Matthews that "the reason why [Giuliani] was on the streets that day is because his office was blown up" and said, "All of the experts told him to move the command-and-control center out of the World Trade Center. He put it in the World Trade Center." Maher added: "He's not a terrorism fighter. He has no credentials in this. In fact, he failed at the one time he had an opportunity, just like Bush." In response, Matthews asked, "So, why do people think he did serve well and perform well, as the leader of New York, during that crisis? Why do people think that?" In fact, as Media Matters for America has documented, Matthews himself has repeatedly contributed to the perception that Giuliani performed admirably on 9-11. Matthews has presented Giuliani as a "hero," "gutsy," "tough," and having "street cred":
- On the March 1 edition of Hardball, Matthews touted Giuliani as a "hero," saying that Southerners "can't spell his name necessarily, but they know Rudy was a hero." Matthews also praised Giuliani as "the one tough cop who was standing on the beat when we got hit last time and stood up and took it."
- On the February 7 edition of MSNBC's Imus in the Morning, Matthews heaped praise on Giuliani, calling him "the kind of gutsy, street-corner politician we all grew up with" who "stood on the corner during the fire and told us what was going on."
- On the February 5 edition of MSNBC Live, Matthews declared that Giuliani "has street cred" on the issue of "protect[ing] this country against the bad guys," citing "the image [Giuliani] conveys," and asserted, "voters like this guy because during 9-11, he was the one guy there on the street corner, answering questions, not hiding like all the other pols did."
- On the July 18, 2006, edition of NBC's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Matthews predicted that "the next president of the United States will be Rudy Giuliani." Matthews also suggested that Giuliani is someone who is "really good on the streets, who's very good on giving the information as they get it, just like in The Godfather."
- On the July 16, 2006, broadcast of NBC's syndicated Chris Matthews Show, Matthews compared Giuliani to President John F. Kennedy. Matthews suggested that both Kennedy and Giuliani "prove[d] themselves in moments that matter" -- Giuliani in responding to September 11, and "Kennedy before the Cuban missile crisis."
- On the June 14, 2006, edition of Hardball, discussing President Bush's performance at a press conference, Matthews asserted, "I think he spoke a lot like the best of Churchill today, in the beginning of that press conference: facts, bad information, complete information. Giuliani at his best at 9-11: facts on the ground immediately as it came in. I thought he was very effective in briefing us this morning in that press conference, which convinces me again that Giuliani is the guy -- with all his problems -- who may well be the perfect candidate to replace this guy."
Additionally, as Media Matters has documented, Matthews continues to tout then-Mayor Giuliani's purported elimination of the urine smell in New York City subways.
From the May 1 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews:
MAHER: Well, he put the -- the Trade Center was attacked in 1993. All of the experts told him to move the command-and-control center out of the World Trade Center. He put it in the World Trade Center.
That's where his -- the reason why he was on the streets that day --
is because his office was blown up, Chris. He's not a terrorism fighter. He has no credentials in this. In fact, he failed at the one time he had an opportunity, just like Bush.
MAHER: Well, he was a good rallier of what happened after the buildings fell down, yes. I'm not saying he's an incompetent. But he made a terrible decision. And just like Bush, he ignored terrorism when he should have been paying attention to it.
MATTHEWS: What do you make of his style as a New Yorker? I mean, this is classic big-city style, maybe New York uniquely, when he told Yasser Arafat of the PLO he couldn't go to Lincoln Center one night? He told that Saudi prince that he didn't want his $10 million.
Is that ethnic politics? Is that street-corner tough guy? Or is that smart diplomacy? What would you call it?
MAHER: I was a fan of both those moves. So, you know, that's the kind of Rudy Giuliani stuff I like.
He also busted up the mob pretty good before he got to be mayor, when he was the prosecutor. So, he can be a good, tough guy in certain situations. But, you know, he also is in a number of pictures wearing a dress.