LAS VEGAS — Rudolph Giuliani, former mayor of New York, Time magazine’s Person of the Year in 2001 and a possible presidential candidate (he still won’t commit), shared his thoughts on former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat during a speech to a crowd of real estate professionals during a Help-U-Sell conference in Las Vegas. Arafat was a joint winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994.
Using a housing analogy that stirred applause from the audience, he said, “We were letting him out-negotiate us. We kept making concessions and he never kept his word. It was like buying a house from someone who didn’t own the house – over and over and over again.”
While Giuliani is a former Justice Department official, he didn’t offer any thoughts on ongoing antitrust litigation between the federal agency and the National Association of Realtors trade group over the association’s Internet property listings policies.
But he did utter the following “Giulianisms”:
- “Just think if we had confronted Hitler when Churchill first warned about him. Just think of how many lives would be saved if we took Hitler out … confronted him in 1933 or 1934 instead of 1945.”
- “When you get into history people get into this blame thing. When you are going through events, you can’t see how things are going to turn out. You have to have as a goal defeating terrorism completely, because if you don’t it will emerge again and attack us again.”
- (Speaking in a Brando-esque “Godfather” voice): “‘Welcome to Las Vegas – a city which we used to own.’ I listened to over 4,000 hours of men on tape talking that way (while he served as a prosecutor of mobsters).”
- “A leader considers public opinion polls but decides what (to) believe from someplace much deeper than that.”
- “Abraham Lincoln was terribly unpopular during the Civil War. Leadership is about knowing where you want to go and being able to stick with it.”
- On Osama Bin Laden: “I don’t think there’s any doubt he should be executed when he’s caught. I wish we would capture him. Having gone through this with (prosecuting) regular crime a lot, there is a closure that people get when (criminals) get justice. Justice is an elemental human desire for good people.”
- About a firefighter who ran three miles toward the burning World Trade Center towers on Sept. 11: “He wasn’t at work. He didn’t have to go to work. He decided he was going to go there and volunteer. He ran through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel — three miles in order to go to the fire. Here are all these thousands of people being evacuated, all going the opposite direction. He’s running toward the worst fire, maybe in the history of America. He’s running toward it and everybody else is running away from it. He died being himself … not letting fear destroy him.”
- On Sept. 11: “I was in a building. I got trapped in a building for 20 minutes. If the building fell in a different way I would have never got out.” He also recalled that he left a fire department command post to call the White House for military air support in case there were further terrorist attacks by airplane, and his departure from that scene may have saved his life. “Ultimately you don’t have control over whether you live or die. You’ve got to make the best decisions possible while you can. I became probably more spiritual. I realized that we’re just a part of this – there’s a much bigger plan. I became totally convinced that Americans under stress are magnificent. Maybe if we would recognize it when we’re not … We’re just as strong as we used to be when we’re pushed. It really is remarkable how strong people who live in freedom are when you push them.”
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