CNN's Blitzer to Giuliani: "[Y]ou can give me your honest answers, as you always do"

During an interview on The Situation Room, CNN's Wolf Blitzer said to Rudy Giuliani: “Quick couple of questions, and you can give me your honest answers, as you always do.” Giuliani then proceeded to make a false statement about Sen. Clinton's health care proposal, which Blitzer did not challenge.

On the December 19 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, host Wolf Blitzer interviewed Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani and said, “Quick couple of questions, and you can give me your honest answers, as you always do.” Blitzer then asked Giuliani: “Has [Senator] Hillary Clinton [D-NY] been a good senator for New York state?” After stating, "[n]ot from my point of view," Giuliani falsely claimed that Clinton “want[s] to move toward mandated government medicine, socialized medicine.” In fact, as The Washington Post's Fact Checker blog noted on October 24, "the Clinton plan does not force Americans to accept 'government insurance.' It offers people a choice. If they are happy with their present health plan, they can keep it. Otherwise, they can switch to the plans offered to members of Congress, or a government-run plan similar to Medicare." Blitzer did not challenge Giuliani's false statement, which echoed a similar comment Giuliani made about Clinton's health care proposal on September 17: “What [Clinton] will do is socialized medicine.” PolitiFact, a project of Congressional Quarterly and the St. Petersburg Times, said Giuliani's statement was “inaccurate” since “the government would not control the system and because of the heavy involvement of private insurance companies.” Additionally, Media Matters for America and several media outlets -- including CNN, Blitzer's assertion notwithstanding -- have documented that Giuliani has made other false or misleading statements throughout his presidential campaign.

For instance:

  • In a radio ad released on October 29, Giuliani claimed that when he had prostate cancer, his “chance of surviving ... in the United States [was] 82 percent” but that his “chance of surviving prostate cancer in England [was] only 44 percent under socialized medicine.” But as Media Matters documented, an October 30 entry by Michael Dobbs on's Fact Checker blog noted that “the survivability figures tell us little about the differences in the quality of treatment received by prostate cancer patients in the United States and Britain.” Dobbs wrote that “the two countries are much closer” in terms of the “mortality rates from the disease,” adding, “About 25 men out of 100,000 are dying from prostate cancer every year” in both countries. Dobbs quoted Howard Parnes, chief of the Prostate Cancer Research Group at the National Cancer Institute, saying, “When you introduce screening and early detection into the equation, the survival statistics become meaningless.” Similarly, during the November 6 edition of The Situation Room, medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen noted that “all the folks we talked to -- they said [Giuliani] did not get his numbers right” and that Cancer Research U.K., the English equivalent of the American Cancer Society, asserted that Giuliani's “survival numbers are really not the operative numbers here. They said it is actually more accurate to look at the chances that -- of men dying from prostate cancer once they are diagnosed.” On October 31, the New York Times reported: “Asked if Mr. Giuliani would continue to repeat the statistic, and if the advertisement would continue to run, [Giuliani spokeswoman Maria] Comella responded by e-mail: 'Yes. We will.'”
  • On the December 12 edition of the CBS Evening News, Giuliani claimed that “Iran is moving toward accomplishing the worst nightmare of the Cold War -- nuclear weapons in the hands of an irresponsible regime. And then they're threatening the use of these weapons, which is something unheard of.” But, contrary to Giuliani's assertion, the most recent National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran concluded with “high confidence” that Iran had “halt[ed]” its nuclear weapons program in 2003, and “assess[ed] with moderate confidence Tehran had not restarted its nuclear weapons program as of mid-2007.”
  • The New York Times' Michael Cooper asserted in a November 30 article, headlined “Citing Statistics, Giuliani Misses Time and Again,” that of the “fusillade of statistics and facts” Giuliani has used “to make his arguments about his successes in running New York City and the merits of his views,” a notable portion of them “are incomplete, exaggerated or just plain wrong.” Cooper further claimed that while “all candidates use misleading statistics from time to time, Mr. Giuliani has made statistics a central part of his candidacy as he campaigns on his record.”
  • In a campaign ad released on November 29, Giuliani claimed that “I know that reducing taxes produces more revenues. Democrats don't know that. They don't believe that.” However, numerous current and former Bush administration economists and officials have stated the opposite -- that tax cuts do not bring in more revenue.
  • During the October 9 Republican presidential debate, Giuliani falsely claimed that Clinton “once said that the unfettered free market is the most destructive force in modern America.” In fact, in a 1996 C-SPAN interview, Clinton agreed with author Aren Ehrenhalt's characterization of the “unfettered free market” as “the most radically disruptive force in American life in the last generation” -- not the “most destructive.” Clinton went on to say that the “market is the driving force behind our prosperity” but that it “cannot be permitted just to run roughshod over people's lives.” Giuliani made similar false assertions in an August 13 interview on CNBC's Kudlow & Co., and in a May 15 Republican presidential debate.
  • During the October 9 Republican presidential debate, Giuliani claimed Clinton is “going to give out $1,000 to everybody to set up a 401(k). The problem is, this one costs $5 billion more than the last one.” However, as noted, “It's simply not true that Clinton proposes to give out $1,000 to 'everybody.' That sum would only go to those making $60,000 a year or less, and only if they also contribute $1,000 of their own to their 401(k) plans.” Clinton's plan also “provide[s] a 50% match on the first $1000 of savings for every couple making between $60,000 and $100,000, which will be phased out after that.”

From the December 19 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:

BLITZER: We're almost out of time. Quick couple of questions, and you can give me your honest answers, as you always do. Has Hillary Clinton been a good senator for New York state?

GIULIANI: Not from my point of view, from the point of view of my ideology, my thinking, the things that I would like to see, which would be, you know, smaller government, tax cuts. She made the right vote on Iraq in -- in having to deal with Saddam Hussein. I think her backing away from that vote, I know that was popular within the Democratic Party. To me, that was very disappointing.

She's worked hard, if that's what you're saying. Has she been a hardworking senator? Absolutely. And, for the short time that we overlapped, when I was the mayor, I was able to work with her, and she was always cooperative in doing what the city needed. But her ideology is so different, her wanting to move toward, you know, mandated government medicine, socialized medicine.

BLITZER: If you became president, would you be able to work with her and other Democrats?

GIULIANI: Of course.