New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani named Time’s Person of 2001 for response to terrorist attack
NEW YORK (AP) _ Heralded for his steadfast response to a grief-torn city after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani on Sunday was named Time magazine’s Person of the Year.
“I was stunned, a little,” Giuliani said at a news conference Sunday. “It was really strange. It’s hard to think of yourself that way.”
The magazine’s editors chose Giuliani “for having more faith in us than we had in ourselves, for being brave when required and rude where appropriate and tender without being trite, for not sleeping and not quitting and not shrinking from the pain all around him.”
The mayor shared the praise with New Yorkers.
“I got all the credit resting on the shoulders of these people that have had one of the most heroic three months I think any people have ever had,” he said.
The award’s criteria was set by Time founder Henry Luce: “The person or persons who most affected the news of our lives, for good or ill, this year.”
Managing Editor Jim Kelly said he knew on Sept. 11 that the Person of the Year would have some connection to the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Editors spent hours debating whether to name Osama bin Laden, the prime suspect in the terror assault, for the spot, Kelly said.
But bin Laden was “too small a man to get the credit for all that has happened in America in the autumn of 2001,” the magazine said. “It is what came after his men had finished their job that has come to define this year.”
Giuliani agreed with that judgment.
“I think it’s much better that I was selected as a representative of the people of New York City rather than him,” the mayor said at his news conference. “His ultimate objective was obviously not just to kill people, his objective was to destroy the spirit of America. The spirit of America is now stronger than it has ever been before.”
The Person of the Year package includes an oral history of Sept. 11 as told by Giuliani and his aides. The issue hits newsstands on Monday, one week before Giuliani’s last day in office after eight years.
Giuliani was barred by term limits from seeking a third consecutive term. Michael Bloomberg will be sworn in as mayor at midnight on Dec. 31.
Giuliani, 57, departs amid an outpouring of praise that contrasts with the period prior to Sept. 11, when newspapers were full of tidbits about his divorce and accounts of his angry public outbursts.
But in the span of a few days, Giuliani’s unusually gentle handling of a city in despair after the attack vaulted him from being regarded as a prickly lame duck politician who had run out of ideas to a civic saint mentioned for the Nobel Prize.
Giuliani has acknowledged recently that there are some things he could have done better.
“I have the feeling that you have when you’ve done everything you can do,” Giuliani said. “Where you feel, ‘Well, I haven’t held back any effort.’ There are things probably I would do differently in terms of judgments I would make if I could make them again, but I’ve given every effort that I’m capable of and tried to do as good a job as mayor as I possibly could do. So I feel happy about that at least.”
President George W. Bush was Person of the Year in 2000.
On the Net:
Time magazine: http://www.time.com
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