Home Store In Memoriam Deborah Newsletter Forum Topics Blogfeed Blogroll Facebook MySpace Contact Us About

On Hannity & Colmes, Bill Sammon Smears Firefighters Against Giuliani

Reported by Ellen - January 24, 2008 -

On last night’s (1/23/08) Hannity & Colmes, the supposedly non-partisan guest Bill Sammon mischaracterized and denigrated the firefighters union that is speaking out against Rudy Giuliani by calling them “basically an arm of the Democratic Party.” Sammon also brushed aside the union's criticisms with the false claim that rank and file firefighters “actually believe that Rudy was a hero on 9/11.” In fact, the firefighters union in question gave a substantial portion of its donations to Republicans and the sentiment toward Giuliani among rank and file firefighters is hardly unanimously admiring. With video.

Alan Colmes raised the issue of the firefighters' criticisms of Giuliani near the end of the first of a two part panel on the presidential campaign. There was a Republican strategist, “Democratic strategist” Tanya Acker and Sammon, presented merely as an author. Acker, I’m sorry to say, was another in the endless stream of nice, likeable but ineffectual and disappointing Democratic spokespersons. She giggled through most of the two segments, providing little else in the way of rebuttal even while the Republican strategist smeared Democrats as wanting “socialized health care” and Sean Hannity claimed that the economy is doing well. You can hear her giggling, but offering nothing to support Colmes, during his exchange with Sammon about Giuliani.

Colmes opened the subject by saying, “The International Association of Firefighters, on the eve of the Florida primaries, putting out their first direct mail to Florida voters attacking Rudy Giuliani’s judgment.”

As a picture of the mailer went up on the screen, Colmes continued, “They say Rudy Giuliani isn’t qualified to be president. He shamelessly used events of 9/11 for his own political gain, that he used poor judgment leading up to and on the day of the attacks, unprepared to (protect) New York, etc. etc. It targets him for showing bad judgment, hiring unqualified yes-men and a testimonial quote from the father of a firefighter who died on 9/11 who calls Rudy a coward.”

Colmes then asked guest Sammon, “Do these people know what they’re talking about? These are firefighters in New York City who were there that day and lived under his mayorship.”

Sammon answered, “Well, as someone who comes from a long line of firefighters, my grandfather, my father, my brother’s a fireman, I can tell you that there’s a world of difference between the union leadership, which is making this endorsement, which is basically an arm of the Democratic Party, and rank and file firefighters who actually believe that Rudy was a hero on 9/11 like most Americans believe. I think Rudy’s – you can say what you will about Rudy’s social positions but one thing that I think is unshakeable in the public consciousness and that is he was a hero on 9/11.”

“Well, that’s a matter of debate” Colmes said.

Contrary to Sammon’s claim, the IAFF union gave 30% of its funds in the 2005-2006 election cycle to Republicans. Furthermore, a New York Times article states:

Officials with another union, the Uniformed Fire Officers Association, said they planned to work against Mr. Giuliani’s campaign. “I don’t think the person in Nebraska has any idea yet how we feel,” said John J. McDonnell, a battalion chief and president of the association. “He probably assumes that we think he’s great.”

Historically, the New York City firefighters unions have backed presidential candidates from both parties. The International Association of Fire Fighters and the Uniformed Fire Officers Association have endorsed Democratic candidates for president in recent elections, but the union for rank-and-file firefighters, the Uniformed Firefighters Association, endorsed President Bush in 2004. And both the fire officers and the firefighters unions endorsed Mr. Giuliani for re-election in 1997.

The article also contradicts Sammon’s allegation that Giuliani is a hero to New York’s rank and file firefighters:

Interviews with more than 50 firefighters and department officers show a mix of admiration and disdain for the former mayor. Many firefighters praise his years in office, citing his success in reducing crime and his leadership after the terrorist attacks. Others harbor a resentment for what they describe as his poor treatment of the department before and after Sept. 11.

Even more telling, there has not been a groundswell of support for Giuliani from the firefighters to dispute those who have spoken out against him.