Edwards challenges Clinton on U.S. safety
NEW YORK – Presidential contender John Edwards on Thursday disputed Democratic rival Hillary Rodham Clinton’s claim that the U.S. is safer since Sept. 11 and contended GOP candidate Rudy Giuliani will never win if he embraces President Bush’s policies.Speaking on the New Yorkers’ home turf – and not far from Ground Zero – Edwards dismissed Clinton’s comments in Sunday’s debate in which she said the nation is safer now that it was before the terrorist attacks. Clinton’s other top rival, Sen. Barack Obama, also has challenged her claim.”Today, as a result of what George Bush has done, we have more terrorists and fewer allies,” Edwards said at a news conference. “There was no group called al-Qaida in Iraq before this president’s war in Iraq.”He never mentioned Clinton by name but the subject was obvious.Clinton advisers said she had been referring to improvements in domestic and airline security in the wake of the attacks.Like Clinton, Edwards, the former North Carolina senator, voted to authorize military action against Iraq in 2002 and supported the concept of a global war on terror throughout his 2004 presidential bid. He was quoted during that campaign as saying he believed the country was safer than it had been before Sept. 11.On Thursday, he said his views had changed as the situation in Iraq has deteriorated.Edwards also assailed the Republican candidates for their tough talk on Iraq and global terror, arguing that they were trying to be “George Bush on steroids.” He singled out Giuliani, the former New York City mayor widely praised for his leadership after the attacks.”If Mayor Giuliani believes that what the president has done is good … and runs a campaign for the presidency saying ‘I will give you four more years of what this president has done,’ he’s allowed to do that. He will never be elected president, but he is allowed to do that,” Edwards said.In response, Giuliani campaign spokeswoman Katie Levinson said, “John Edwards’ track record of predicting election outcomes speaks for itself.”Clinton’s campaign declined to comment, pointing to a statement released by New York Sen. Chuck Schumer after Sunday’s debate.Despite the Bush administration’s failures, America’s first responders have worked tirelessly over the last six years to make the nation’s cities and towns safer,” Schumer said. “As a senator from New York, Hillary Clinton is grateful every day for their efforts.”
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