Former New York City mayor Rudy GIuliani penned an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal on Sunday in which he conceded that the "bluntness" of his recent statements about President Barack Obama's upbringing and patriotism may have been problematic.
The 70-year-old former presidential candidate has been under fire all week for saying he doesn't believe Obama "loves America" during a private dinner for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker last week. Later, in an interview with the New York Post, he suggested the president had been influenced by communists since he was 9 years old.
"I didn't intend to question President Obama's motives or the content of his heart," Giuliani wrote. "My intended focus really was the effect his words and his actions have on the morale of the country, and how that effect may damage his performance."
Giuliani goes on to say the president needs to start “acting and speaking in a way that draws sharp, clear distinctions between us and those who threaten our way of life,” while comparing him unfavorably to former presidents John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan.
Despite his attempts to clarify his remarks, the firestorm they created shows no signs of dying down. Giuliani's remarks resurrected old charges that the president doesn't sufficiently support American exceptionalism, and even questions about his religious affiliation.
Walker, who has refused to condemn or distance himself from Giuliani's comments, told the Washington Post on Saturday that he "didn't know" if the president was Christian. A staffer for the governor later said Walker does indeed know what Obama's faith is and called the raising of the issue by the Post a "gotcha question."
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For his part, Giuliani had previously steadfastly refused to apologize for his remarks and when the New York Times suggested they could be perceived as racist the former mayor scoffed at the notion, pointing out that Obama "has a white mother."
Still, it appears that the negative reaction took its toll. On Sunday, Giuliani told CNN's Jim Acosta his office was receiving threatening calls in the wake of his criticisms of the president.