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Friday, March 09, 2007
Giuliani camp responds to firefighter union's allegations

Giuliani faces criticism from the firefighter's union.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Rudy Giuliani's presidential campaign sharply responded to allegations by a firefighters' union that the former New York City Mayor ordered to have Ground Zero debris removed before several firefighter's remains were recovered, releasing a statement Friday that called the presidential candidate a "steadfast and unrelenting supporter of firefighters and first responders."

"Firefighters have no greater friend and supporter than Rudy Giuliani and I am proud to join thousands of firefighters across the country in supporting him," former New York City firefighter Lee Ielpi wrote in a letter "to America's firefighters" released by the campaign. Ielpi's son, Jonathan, also a firefighter, was killed in the 9/11 attacks, according to the Giuliani campaign.

Ielpi's comments come after International Association of Fire Fighters Union President Harold Schaitberger claimed Giuliani sought to shut down search and recovery efforts at ground zero before hundreds of firefighter's remains were found.

"Many people consider Rudy Giuliani 'America's Mayor,' and many of our members who don't yet know the real story, may also have a positive view of him,'' Schaitberger wrote in a memo to union members, according to Bloomberg news. "[The Union] wants to make all of our members aware of the egregious acts Mayor Giuliani committed against our members, our fallen on 9/11, and our New York City union officers following that horrific day."

"The IAFF's accusations in its "draft letter," which made its way into the hands of the media, flies in the face of the facts," Ielpi wrote. "It is offensive and inaccurate."

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-- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

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