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Originally published August 11, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified August 11, 2007 at 2:06 AM

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Critics demand Giuliani apology

Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani said Friday that he misspoke when he said he spent as much time, if not more, at Ground Zero...

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani said Friday that he misspoke when he said he spent as much time, if not more, at Ground Zero exposed to the same health risks as workers combing the site after the Sept. 11 attacks.

"I think I could have said it better," he told nationally syndicated radio host Mike Gallagher. "You know, what I was saying was, 'I'm there with you.' "

The former New York mayor upset some firefighters and police officers when he said Thursday in Cincinnati that he was at Ground Zero "as often, if not more, than most of the workers."

"I was there working with them. I was exposed to exactly the same things they were exposed to. So in that sense, I'm one of them," he said at a Los Angeles Dodgers-Cincinnati Reds baseball game.

Fire and police officials responded angrily, saying Giuliani did not do the same work as those involved in the rescue, recovery and cleanup from the 2001 terrorist attacks, which left many workers injured.

On Friday, Giuliani said he was trying to show his concern for the workers' health.

"What I was trying to say yesterday is that I empathize with them, because I feel like I have that same risk," he said.

The explanation further angered his Ground Zero critics, prompting several to issue a statement demanding an apology.

"He is such a liar, because the only time he was down there was for photo-ops with celebrities, with politicians, with diplomats," said deputy fire chief Jimmy Riches, who spent months digging for his firefighter son.

"On 9/11 all he did was run. He got that soot on him, and I don't think he's taken a shower since."

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