Edwards campaign blasts Giuliani for ‘exploiting’ 9/11

The campaign of Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards accused former New York Mayor Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiJake Tapper jokes he's retained Giuliani to look into fraud in 'Sexiest Man' election Pioneering New York City Mayor David Dinkins dies at 93 Trump transition order follows chorus of GOP criticism MORE (R) of taking “every opportunity to exploit the memory of 9/11 for political gain.”

The statement from Edwards’s campaign manager David Bonior, a former congressman from Michigan, came in response to Giuliani’s statement that he “was at ground zero as often, if not more, than most of the workers.”

Giuliani, who is leading in the race for the GOP nomination, has made his response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks a key piece of his campaign.

“Evidently, Rudy Giuliani has taken a break from reality,” Bonior said. “It is outrageous for Giuliani to suggest, in any way, shape or form, that he did more at ground zero or spent more time there than the brave first responders who worked tirelessly around the clock for many months during the rescue and recovery operation.”

The Giuliani campaign reacted with an equally strong statement. 

“For John Edwards to lecture Rudy Giuliani about September 11th is laughable at best," said Katie Levinson, Communications Director for the Rudy Giuliani Presidential Committee. “This is, after all, the same guy who thinks the War on Terror is simply a ‘bumper sticker.’” 

Edwards, the former North Carolina senator and 2004 Democratic vice-presidential candidate, is third in the race for the 2008 nomination.

While the Democratic candidates have been relatively tame in their attacks on each other, Edwards has repeatedly called out Republicans for their rhetoric on the campaign trail.

His campaign noted that the International Association of Fire Fighters has turned its back on Giuliani and strongly criticized the former mayor this year.