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What Giuliani Learned From Ed Koch: 'I Tried to Copy Him'

Friday, February 01, 2013

Former mayors Rudy Giuliani and Ed Koch had a long-standing love-hate relationship that played out in the pages of New York’s daily newspapers for nearly three decades.

Although the two never went toe-to-toe in the political arena, Giuliani was often the target of Koch’s ire in his Daily News columns, which were eventually compiled into a book called Giuliani: Nasty Man.

But in later years, their relationship mellowed, and even became amicable. Giuliani even said he took some tips from Koch, when he became the city’s mayor.

"I always admired Ed Koch even when I was disagreeing with him," said Giuliani, who noted he met Koch when he was cross-examining him as assistant U.S. attorney during a trial against a Congressman in which Koch appeared as a character witness.

Giuliani said he tried to emulate some parts of Koch's administration.

“He was always leading from the front. If there was a fire, if there was a hostage situation, Ed Koch was there, showing the people of the city that the mayor, you know, was concerned, the mayor was interested, the mayor was involved, the mayor empathized,” he said. “I tried to copy that.”

Giuliani also praised Koch’s legacy as a “consequential mayor” in the city’s history.

“He led the city during very difficult times,” Giuliani said. “And I think through it all, he always kept a sense of optimism, a sense that you can solve problems.”

Listen to Giuliani’s full interview with WNYC’s Eddie Robinson by clicking the audio above.

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Eddie Robinson

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Comments [5]

Elizabeth from New Jersey

I'm currently exiled in New jersey but I lived in NYC from the early 60s, and Guiliani was a terrible mayor because he was -- and still is -- a terrible person. He was lucky the his terms coincided with Bill Clinton as the President because it was the Democratic economic policies that made the 1990s a great time to be in NYC. A professed Catholic who commits adultery and doesn't have the decency to tell his wife in person that he's divorcing her is a total scum.
There won't be many tears shed when Guiliani dies.

Feb. 03 2013 11:16 AM
suzinne from Bronx

Obviously, he failed, and I'd venture to say that Mr. Guiliani was one the most reviled mayors in the history of New York. Although he had his share of haters, Koch's ebullient personality allowed him to connect with the people of New York City in a way Guiliani never did. You can be sure he's back in the spotlight for 5 minutes because of Koch, and we don't even want to listen. Crawl back into your hole.

Feb. 02 2013 04:15 PM
yvonne skorpanich from nyc

WOW, so many mean spirited comments...
just wondering if they are native NEW YORKER...
3rd generation born NYC gal ... high school in the mid 60's, college and working into the year 2000 in manhattan... great grandparents settling in the village early 1900's.
KOCH was a true NEW YORKER... but Guiliani the BEST MAYOR in my life time... truly cleaned up my city...
please, take off your blinders and admit it...

Feb. 02 2013 12:57 PM

only works, rudy, if your integrity is absolutely impeccable. While i didn't always agree with hizzoner, your words are but stains (admittedly minuscule) on his legacy. Sorry but I had to say that.

Feb. 02 2013 12:15 PM

Couldn't care less what Guiliani thinks. About anything.

Feb. 02 2013 11:00 AM

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