Since 2002, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) has traveled nationwide and around the world to deliver countless speeches on the topics of “leadership” and “crisis management” at business conferences, motivational seminars, fundraisers, and universities. In these addresses — for which he charges a reported $100,000 apiece — Giuliani regularly speaks at length about his first-hand experiences during the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. As Media Matters for America has noted, significant questions surround Giuliani’s record on homeland security and public safety, including his performance during, before, and after the 9-11 attacks. Nonetheless, the media have routinely advanced the depiction of Giuliani as a “hero of 9/11” and “America’s Mayor,” bolstering his image and enhancing his credibility. Now, as he explores a run for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, will the media properly scrutinize how Giuliani has capitalized on this image — legitimate or not — for substantial personal profit?
According to the Associated Press, in 2002, Giuliani’s estimated income from the lecture circuit exceeded $8 million. This would indicate that he gave more than 80 speeches that year, assuming he consistently collected his reported $100,000 speaking fee. Various reports have indicated that Giuliani has maintained a similarly brisk schedule of speaking engagements in the years since, including an estimated 20 paid speeches since he announced his presidential exploratory committee on November 15, 2006. In a February 7 article, the Chicago Tribune detailed the luxurious treatment Giuliani requested from one of his hosts, a state university:
Since he left office, Giuliani has leveraged his image as “America’s mayor” to his decided financial advantage and in ways that belie his man-of-the-people persona.
He commands $100,000 for a speech, not including expenses, which his star-struck clients are happily willing to pay. In one speech last year at Oklahoma State University, Giuliani requested and received travel on a private Gulfstream jet that cost the school $47,000 to operate. His visit essentially wiped out the student speakers annual fund.
Like other high-priced speakers in the private sector, Giuliani routinely travels in style. Besides the Gulfstream, which is a standard perk on the big-time speakers circuit, his contract calls for up to five hotel rooms for his entourage, including his own two-bedroom suite with a preferred balcony view and king-size bed, in the event of an overnight stay.
The Tribune further reported that Giuliani’s contract for this address restricted “what questions he might be asked”:
The Oklahoma contract also required a sedan and an SUV, restrictions on news coverage and control over whom Giuliani would meet, how he would be photographed and what questions he might be asked.
In 2006, Giuliani’s speaking schedule showed no sign of slowing, including at least these speeches:
- 01/24/06: Keynote address, 7th Annual Six Sigma Summit, Miami Beach
- 02/22/06: Keynote address, 15th Annual Sir Dorab Tata Memorial Lecture, Mumbai, India
- 03/05/06: Keynote address, The JCK NYC Invitational, New York City
- 04/04/06: Keynote address, Richard J. Daley Urban Forum, Chicago
- 04/05/06: Keynote address, Investment Capital Conference, Los Angeles
- 04/12/06: Keynote address, The Financial Times Asian Financial Centres Summit, Seoul, South Korea
- 04/21/06: Keynote address, Ivey Builds Conference, London
- 04/25/06: Keynote address, Washington Metropolitan Area Corporate Counsel Association monthly luncheon, Washington, D.C.
- 04/26/06: Keynote address, Center for Practical Bioethics’ Annual Dinner, Kansas City
- 05/2006: Keynote address, Third Annual Corporate Counsel Forum, New York City
- 05/04/06: Keynote address, Winnipeg City Summit, Winnipeg, Manitoba
- 05/07/06: Keynote address, 17th Annual Stainton Society Brunch, Atlantic City, New Jersey
- 05/10/06: Keynote address, RedPrairie’s 9th Annual User Conference and Logistics Industry Summit, Tucson, Arizona
- 05/11/06: Keynote address, 26th Annual MAILCOM Global Conference and Exhibition, Atlantic City
- 05/12/06: Keynote address, Project Management Institute Mile Hi Chapter Symposium, Denver
- 05/21/06: Commencement address, Suffolk University Law School, Boston
- 05/22/06: Commencement address, Middlebury College, Vermont
- 05/22/06: Keynote address, Boston Business Hall of Fame Gala, Boston
- 06/02/06: Keynote address, Fifth Annual Employee Benefits Leadership Forum, White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia
- 06/05/06: Keynote address, Insurance Accounting & Systems Association Annual Conference, Boston
- 06/09/06: Keynote address, America’s Health Insurance Plans Annual Meeting, San Diego
- 06/15/06: Keynote address, Greater Dallas Chamber Leadership Luncheon, Dallas
- 09/19/06: Keynote address, Walton County Chamber of Commerce 80th Anniversary Annual Meeting, Destin, Florida
- 09/20/06: Keynote address, World Affairs Council of Philadelphia Suburban West Speakers Series, Philadelphia
- 10/05/06: Keynote address, ISSA/INTERCLEAN USA 2006, Chicago
- 10/16/06: Keynote address, Institute for International Research, Warsaw, Poland
- 10/25/06: Speech, World Business Forum, Frankfurt, Germany
- 10/26/06: Speech, World Business Forum, Milan, Italy
- 11/11/06: Keynote address, 2006 Hospitality Leadership Forum, International Hotel/Motel & Restaurant Show, New York City
- 11/14/06: Keynote address, 2006 Global Leadership Forum, Vancouver, British Columbia
- 11/14/06: Keynote address, 2006 Global Leadership Forum, Edmonton, Canada
- 11/18/06: Keynote address, Hindustan Times Leadership Summit, New Delhi, India
Giuliani’s current schedule indicates that he will continue to appear at such events in the future. Indeed, on January 31, he addressed the AFCEA/U.S. Naval Institute Warfare and Technologies Conference in San Diego, and on February 13, he gave the keynote address at the 40th World Ag Expo in Tulare, California. Further, he is scheduled to speak at the National Truck Equipment Association Annual Convention in Indianapolis in early March, as well as at the 19th Annual Buyouts Symposium East in New York City in April.
In advertising himself as a paid speaker, Giuliani emphasizes his first-hand experiences on September 11, 2001. Until recently, the Washington Speakers Bureau managed his speaking engagements. Its online description (via Google cache) of Giuliani depicted him as “someone who found himself on the frontlines of the War on Terror” and “helped lead New York — and the U.S. — out of the devastation that followed the attacks on 9-11.” From the Washington Speakers Bureau biography of Giuliani:
Sharing with audiences the principles of leadership which he detailed in his book, Rudy Giuliani looks back at the important lessons he learned in a lifetime of public service and how he drew on those lessons to provide strength at a defining moment in America’s history.
Perhaps there’s no greater test of a leader or leadership skills than to lead during difficult times. It’s during trying or complicated circumstances that people turn to leaders for direction, motivation and understanding – and studying their actions for guidance. Perhaps no one understands that better than Rudy Giuliani, who helped lead New York — and the U.S. — out of the devastation that followed the attacks on 9-11. Giuliani shares his strategies about leading during trying circumstances, providing audiences with unparalleled insights and compelling anecdotes to help them overcome unforeseen or unprecedented challenges — and put them back on the path towards success.
As someone who found himself on the frontlines of the War on Terror, Giuliani understands the grave personal price already paid to maintain freedom.
In his speeches, Giuliani regularly describes his experiences on the day of the attacks. For instance, in his May 21, 2002, commencement address at Syracuse University, Giuliani depicted the scene near the World Trade Center on 9-11 as akin to “a nuclear holocaust” and referred to those who perished in the attacks, including “people that I love and care about and people I had seen 25 minutes before they died.”
From the address:
GIULIANI: When I got out on the street, it was like being in a nuclear holocaust. It was cloudy, almost impossible to see and debris falling through the street. I was trying to communicate with people in New York City, to try to tell them to remain calm, that everything was being done that could be done and to evacuate to the north, because that’s what the head of the fire department, who died about 20 minutes after I talked to him, told me to do, Chief Gansey.
GIULIANI: And immediately, even within 30 to 35 minutes of the collapse and extricating ourselves from a building, I began to get a sense of strength and optimism, that something was happening here that would overwhelm the ferociousness of this attack. And then later that day, as I thought about the enormity of the numbers of people that we had lost, including close friends of mine, and people that I love and care about and people I had seen 25 minutes before they died, as I was feeling the burden of that, I first saw a copy of a photograph that I know you’ve seen.
But it was the first time I really felt optimism and strength. And it was the photograph of the three firefighters who placed the American flag on top of six stories of fallen building. I knew what those firefighters were encountering. The flames there were 2,000 to 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit. The flames were going on below them, and they were standing six stories above, and they raised the American flag, and it said to me right there emotionally that there’s nothing stronger than the spirit of a free people.
Giuliani similarly evoked his personal experiences on 9-11 several years later in a May 22, 2005, commencement address at Middlebury College:
GIULIANI: But when I got to the site of the World Trade Center, and I got below the North Tower at the fire department command post, and the police were telling me to look up because debris was falling down, I realized in one particular moment that what I was watching was not debris falling down, but a man who was throwing himself out of the 101st, 102nd floor because he wanted to escape the awful flames.
And I stopped and froze and watched it, and my emotions and my intellect just changed. I said to myself, this is way beyond anything that we’ve ever faced before. It is much worse, and we’re not prepared for this, and we don’t have a plan for it. And I said that to my police commissioner and the other people that were there with me.
And then we just had to respond. We couldn’t think that very long, so we had to ask for air support, ask for fighter jets to protect the city because we thought we’d be attacked again by air. We had to deploy the police to different parts of the city that we thought would be the next ones to be attacked by suicide bombers. We had to close down the bridges and the tunnels. We had to set up evacuation routes. We had to triage the hospitals. We had to bring in generators to light up Ground Zero.
While transcripts of the numerous addresses Giuliani has given to private conferences and institutions are generally not available, reports of these speeches suggest that his September 11, 2001, anecdotes are a consistent feature.
From a July 16, 2005, Palm Beach Post article on Giuliani’s keynote address a day earlier at the Southeast Building Conference:
Speaking without notes for 45 minutes and forgoing the speaker’s podium, Giuliani admitted he was afraid when he arrived at the World Trade Center the day of the terrorist attacks. His city had at least 25 different plans to deal with fires, bombs and power outages, but none to handle a catastrophe of such unthinkable horror.
“We didn’t have a plan for airplanes being used as missiles attacking our buildings,” he said.
He didn’t even realize the scope of the human tragedy that had befallen his city.
“I didn’t know how bad the damage really was until I arrived at the base of the north tower and saw a man throw himself out of the 102nd floor,” Giuliani said.
“I turned to the police commissioner and said ‘This is off the charts. We have to come up with a plan quickly.’ ”
He and his team did just that, and so can you, Giuliani said, outlining principles of leadership.
“The most important is to have strong beliefs,” he said. “You have to know what you believe if you’re going to lead other people. You can’t make decisions based on public opinion.”
From an October 6, 2005, Washington Times article on a keynote address Giuliani delivered at a conference on identity theft in Washington, D.C.:
He said when he arrived at ground zero on September 11, 2001, after terrorists rammed hijacked airplanes into the World Trade Center, he told a police officer who accompanied him, “We have no plans for this.”
Instead, New York City officials improvised with parts of other disaster plans for fires, subway derailments and chemical attacks to figure out a response, he said.
The lesson for the financial security industry is that, “Success comes about because of relentless preparation,” said Mr. Giuliani, now the chief executive of Giuliani & Partners, a consulting firm that has a security division.
About 10 percent of U.S. consumers believe they have been victims of identity theft, according to a report from McLean-based credit-card issuer CapitalOne.
Debit and ATM card theft alone cost U.S. consumers $2.75 billion in the year prior to May 2005, with an average loss of $900, according to a study released in August by information technology firm Gartner Inc.