Former New York Gov. George Pataki, who was in office during the 9/11 terrorist strikes in Manhattan, said he is tired of seeing President Obama “trotting out a victory lap” over the killing of 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden.
And the veteran Republican politician declares that attempts to blame President George W. Bush for the attacks are “utterly absurd.”
Pataki was elected governor in 1994, defeating three-term Democratic Gov. Mario Cuomo, and was re-elected in 1998 and 2002. He previously served in the New York State Senate and House.
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV on Tuesday’s anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, Pataki shared his feelings about that “terrible day of loss.”
“Eleven years later it feels the same. The same emotion. The same sense of loss,” he says.
“I remember that morning having this unbelievable sense of loss but then understanding that, as a leader, I had to put those emotions aside and we had to work.
“To me it was not just tremendously sorrowful to learn of those who we lost as the course of the day and the next few days rolled in, but I was also proud of how well not just the political leadership but New Yorkers from every walk of life responded.
“It was a terrible day of loss but it was also a day of pride, a day for us to understand that we live in a unique country, the greatest country that’s ever been created, and that the freedoms we too often took for granted others want to take from us, and we can’t let that happen.”
On “Morning Joe” earlier Tuesday, Pataki debated New York Times reporter Kurt Eichenwald, whose Op-Ed alleges that President George W. Bush received more frequent and detailed warnings about al-Qaida’s plans to attack than have previously disclosed.
Asked what blame, if any, Bush deserves, Pataki responds: “It’s utterly absurd to try to blame President Bush. President Bush would never look the other way when our country was threatened. He is and was as patriotic and loyal and protective an American as we’ve ever had as commander in chief.
“And what bothers me is this selective revision of history where you take this piece of information and this quote 11 years later and try to pretend that somehow it creates this image that actions should have been taken before that date.
“If you want to point fingers, and I don’t think it serves any good, the towers were blown up in 1993, when President Clinton was in office.
“We were aware then of the al-Qaida threat but I don’t think it does any service to try to make a partisan point 11 years after the fact. The fact of the matter is we were attacked, this great country was attacked by those who hate the freedoms we believe in, and we have got to be prepared not just today, but every day to be aggressive in defense of those freedoms.”
President Obama likes to boast about killing Osama bin Laden, but Pataki says Obama’s politicizing the killing doesn’t translate to a legitimate post-9/11 foreign policy that he can really campaign on.