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Giuliani: Still time to find survivors in rubble

Giuliani
Giuliani: "I am told that there is very little hope, but that they wanted to wait two weeks."  


NEW YORK (CNN) -- The mayor of New York said Sunday there was still time for rescuers to find victims of the World Trade Center terrorist attacks alive underneath the rubble, although hopes were growing slim.

Mayor Rudy Giuliani also said he has not yet speculated on his political future because the current focus should be on the search efforts, but he indicated he could give some thought to that soon. Giuliani, a two-term mayor, cannot seek a third term under current law.

According to Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, the number of dead is 261, of which 194 have been identified. The estimate for the number of missing persons remained 6,333.

Giuliani said experts have given him hope that survivors could still be found underneath the rubble.

"I am told that there is very little hope, but that they wanted to wait two weeks," he told CNN's "Late Edition."

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"We are still within that time frame, and the experts say there are still situations in which people have survived for this length of time."

He acknowledged the hope is "slim," but said the effort to find people would continue in the same way, regardless of whether it is still called a "rescue" mission.

"It really doesn't matter if you describe it as a rescue effort or how you describe it," Giuliani told "Fox News Sunday."

"I'm guided by the experts who tell me, well, they're going to conduct the operation in the same way whether you call it a rescue or a relief operation."

Asked whether he had given thought to his public role after he leaves office at the end of this year -- including a possible position in the Bush administration or as a "reconstruction czar" to help rebuild New York -- Giuliani said he had not given it any attention yet. But he said he might begin focusing on it after the city has had a chance to grieve.

"I think we're at the point, maybe, right after the prayer service, when I will start focusing my attention on those things and do it in a concentrated way," he told Fox.

There has been speculation Giuliani might ride his increased popularity into a third term in office, although he is barred from seeking a third consecutive term. The mayor has repeatedly said he has not given any attention to the issue.

Primaries are scheduled for Tuesday.

Giuliani said he is prepared to do "anything that is necessary" to defend the country. "I told the president right after the speech, maybe out of emotion, but I, you know, I'll enlist, whatever you need me for."

He said he was pleased his city was getting back to normal activities, saying the Mets-Braves baseball game Friday night at Shea Stadium drew 40,000 fans and a Metropolitan Opera benefit Saturday was sold out.

He said it is not fear but emotion that is keeping people from enjoying themselves.

"I think people are mourning," Giuliani told CNN. "We are in a state of tremendous sorrow, and we're working our way through that sorrow."





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