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$9.11 For Rudy

Beyond tasteless, a California fundraising event for Rudy Giuliani is asking for $9.11 per person. Dogged by accusations of politicizing the 9-11 attacks, Giuliani spokeswoman Maria Comella is scrambling to distance the candidate from what she described as "two volunteers who acted independently of and without knowledge of the campaign."

According to the invitation, "$9.11 for Rudy" is an "independent, non-denominational grass-roots campaign to raise $10,000 in small increments to show how many individual, everyday Americans support 'America's Mayor."'

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Of course, this isn't the first time Giuliani's campaign has skirted a bit too close to 9-11 in an attempt to highlight the candidate's perceived leadership skills. In April, Giuliani said if a Democrat is elected president in 2008, America will be at risk for another terrorist attack on the scale of Sept. 11, 2001.

"If any Republican is elected president —- and I think obviously I would be the best at this —- we will remain on offense and will anticipate what [the terrorists] will do and try to stop them before they do it," he said.

A September 7, 2007 New York Times article starts with:

During a Republican presidential debate on Wednesday, Rudolph W. Giuliani asserted, "The reality is that I'm not running on what I did on Sept. 11."

Two days later, a crowd of nearly 1,000 filed into a ballroom here for a 9/11 Remembrance Luncheon. Graphic images of the exploding towers, dust-covered survivors and even a series of photos that showed someone leaping from a tower were flashed on two giant screens flanking the stage where Mr. Giuliani was about to speak.

"America must never forget the lessons of Sept. 11," Mr. Giuliani, the former New York City mayor, later told the crowd.

More recently, Giuliani was criticized for claiming to have been at Ground Zero as much or more than most of the rescue workers, a bold and undeniable lie that angered those workers, many of whom now suffer from severe medical conditions connected to their exposure to toxins during the recovery effort.

It clearly worked for Bush in 2004 when fundraisers sold photos of the President peering out of a window aboard Airforce One shortly after the attacks, but as Americans learn more about the rhetorical tricks played to inflame their need for retribution and garner support for an invasion of a country that had NOTHING to do with 9-11, falling back on that event as a backdrop for more Republican muscle flexing becomes more and more dangerous. Nevermind that it's also shameful and wrong.

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