Paul officials deny involvement in Giuliani Mackinac ferry taunting

Detroit Free Press
Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Texas congressman and Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul does not believe that 9/11 was an “inside job” and his campaign distanced itself from a raucous pro-Paul demonstration on a Mackinac Island ferry Friday night, a Paul spokesman said Monday.

In the incident, Paul's supporters taunted former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani for alleged complicity in the attacks.

Spokesman Jesse Benton said the campaign was aware of Internet reports about the demonstration, which occurred late Friday when Giuliani boarded a ferry loaded with Paul supporters leaving a Michigan GOP conference. No Paul campaign officials were involved, Benton said.

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According to one eyewitness, Giuliani was beset by dozens of Paul enthusiasts as he was leaving the island, some of whom shouted taunts about 9/11, including: “9/11 was an inside job” and “Rudy, Rudy, what did you do with the gold?” -- an apparent reference to rumors about $200 million in gold alleged to have disappeared in the collapse of the World Trade Center towers.

Ed Wyszynski, a longtime party activist from Eagle, said the Paul supporters threatened to throw Giuliani overboard and harrassed him as he took shelter in the ferry’s pilothouse for the 15-minute journey back to Mackinaw City.

“It was awful,” said Wyszynski, who supports Mitt Romney for the GOP presidential nomination.

“I was embarrassed to be a Republican. Never, ever, have I seen such a disgraceful performance.”

A blurry video of the incident was posted on the Website in which chants of “Ron Paul, Ron Paul” predominate, but also include someone shouting “Lies cannot stand the light of day.”

Several other pro-Paul forums carried triumphant accounts of the event, suggesting that Giuliani was intimidated by the show of support for a rival.

Giuliani campaign spokesman Jeff Barker said Monday that Giuliani was not intimidated, and welcomes exchanges with those who disagee with him. Barker declined to comment on whether or not the ferry passengers accused Giuliani, widely viewed as a stalwart presence in the aftermath of the attacks, with complicity in 9/11.

Paul spokesman Benton said Monday he understood that the group on the ferry, part of an impressive Paul presence at the Republican conference, was excited when Giuliani joined the trip from the island and “turned up the volume to show support” for Paul.

But the Paul campaign had no direct involvement in the incident and does not share the views about 9/11 witnessed by Wyszynski, Benton said.

“They were not employees. They were not enlisted,” he said. If they expressed the view that Giuliani somehow knew in advance about the attacks, they were not representing the campaign, he said.

“If you’re asking whether Ron Paul believes our government was involved” in 9/11, “the answer is unequivocally no,” Benton said. “Ron Paul does not think that 9/11 was an inside job.”

Harrassing Giuliani in that fashion is “not something we would condone in any way.” Benton said.

Giuliani has drawn the ire of both the so-called 9/11 truthers, who don’t believe Islamic jihadists were responsible for the attacks, and Paul supporters, who endorse their candidate’s push for a new commission to review events leading up to the attacks.

Benton said the latter is based on Paul’s belief that another review of 9/11 would reveal additional government incompetence, but not complicity, in what happened.

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