From NBC/NJ's Matthew E. Berger
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Giuliani said the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto "leads us to the conclusion that we have to remain on offense against terrorism."
Giuliani told veterans Thursday that the events should make the United States consider redoubling its efforts in Afghanistan and should remind the world that the country is engaged in an ongoing battle against terrorism.
"The United States military had a great victory in Afghanistan back in 2001 and 2002 in routing the Taliban, removing them, driving Al Qaeda back," Giuliani said at the War Memorial Auditorium. "We've got to make sure that those gains are made permanent and we have to work with the people of Pakistan to make certain that they preserve a democracy, they preserve a rule of law, they move even further in that direction."
Giuliani said the United States should also see what efforts could be made to stabilize and move towards peace in Pakistan, "a country in which people are protected, a country in which the rule of law is predominant," he said. "All of those things are too difficult to answer all in one day but that has to be the direction that we go in."
He continued to call for an expanded military to help defeat terrorism.
Giuliani said he did not want to politicize the assassination, but the timing is significant for him. It comes on the same day that Giuliani introduced a national television ad, speaking of the threat of Islamic terrorism and using images from the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. The events in Pakistan could put the nation's attention back on terrorism, which is when Giuliani is viewed in the best light.
"I think this should be seen from the point of view from the national security of Pakistan, the national security of the United States, the whole effort against terrorism, and it should not be viewed in the political light," he said. "Now, having said that, everything ultimately gets viewed in a political light, but I don't think that would be the most appropriate thing right now to talk about."
He also said he believed all presidential candidates would have "complete unanimity behind what the president and the administration decides to do."
Giuliani also said he believed his new television ad used 9/11 images in a "proportionate way," noting that other candidates have used similar images, including Hillary Clinton.
"It is part of my life," he said. "It is part of my life that helps to define me. It isn't the only part of my life. But it would seem to me that maybe the critics want you to, like, remove a part of your life in which people have every right to draw judgments about how you would handle a crisis, how you would handle a difficult situation, how you would handle terrorism."
He said that he believed he would be criticized no matter what type of ad he ran, but said the ad places "proportionate emphasis on something that was an important part of my life but by no means my whole life."