ABC News' Jan Simmonds Reports: In Ohio on Thursday, Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani R-NY handed his critics new ammunition regarding his role surrounding 9/11.
Speaking to reporters in Cincinnati, Giuliani said: "I 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."
Michael Palladino, head of the Detectives Endowment Association, the union of NYPD detectives, told the Associated Press that the mayor's record can't compare to those who spent 12 months sifting through toxic debris for evidence and human remains.
"As a result of their hard work, many are sick and injured. The mayor, although he did a fine job with 9/11, I don't think he rises to the level of being an equal with those men and women who were involved in the rescue, recovery and cleanup," Palladino said.
The former New York City mayor has already faced a large wave of criticism from first responders and relatives of those killed at the World Trade Center, who have contended that Giuliani was woefully unprepared for 9/11.
Just last month, the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) released a 13 minute video on the internet urging its members to oppose Giulianiâ€™s bid for the presidency, questioning his leadership both before and in the aftermath of the September 2001 terrorist attacks. At the time of the videoâ€™s release, the Giuliani campaign denounced what they called a 'clearly partisan' video and cited the IAFF's history of endorsing and supporting Democratic candidates.
Watch the IAFF video HERE.