Giuliani won't seek third term but wants three-month extension; Bush visits NYC

Thursday, October 4th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) _ Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, a day after clearing up speculation about his future, joined the governor and others Thursday for a memorial honoring a fire captain who died in the World Trade Center disaster.

The mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral was for Terence Hatton, a firefighter whose wife discovered she was pregnant two days after his death Sept. 11. Hatton, 41, who earned 19 citations for bravery during 21 years on the job, was married to Giuliani's executive assistant, Beth Petrone.

The mayor said it may have been the most difficult funeral service he has attended in the aftermath of the attack.

``I've known many, many fine men in my life, and eulogized too many,'' the mayor said. ``Terry Hatton really stood out. ... He is the kind of man I would like my son to grow up and become.''

Another service was planned later Thursday at Madison Square Garden for the 74 employees of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey who are missing and presumed lost in the rubble.

Giuliani, who has won widespread acclaim for his handling of the devastated city, said Wednesday he will not press for a third term. But he repeated his offer to stay on for an extra three months to make the transition to a new administration more ``seamless.''

``People begged me to stay, begged me to stay. And I know what that's about. They're afraid,'' Giuliani said Wednesday night on CNN's ``Larry King Live.''

He insisted his desire to stay on longer had nothing to do with his own ambitions.

``I'm not looking for a job,'' he said. ``I don't need a job.''

The mayor said the best move would be an extended transition _ keeping him in office through April 1 to help his replacement. Two of the three candidates running for mayor support the idea, but even a short extension likely would require the approval of the state Legislature.

Giuliani joined President Bush earlier Wednesday as he visited with firefighters and school children near the city's financial district. A few blocks away, rescue teams continued removing debris and searching for victims in the collapsed remains of the trade center.

The last search-and-rescue team from the Federal Emergency Management Agency planned to pack up by the end of the week, leaving firefighters and volunteers from across the country to work in the wreckage.

``It's overwhelming that we lost so many of our brothers,'' said Forrest Rowell, a Sacramento, Calif., firefighter and FEMA squad leader. ``I just wish we could do more.''

Brian Leddy, 38, of Norwood, N.J., waiting at dawn Thursday to enter ground zero to shore up buildings damaged during the attack, said the site has become ``one big demolition job'' supervised by construction experts.

``It's basically a job now,'' he said. ``Before I was just helping out with the bucket brigades. It's just become one big construction site.''

The official count of the missing was reduced to 4,986 after authorities found names duplicated on lists compiled by police and the city family center. So far, 369 people have been confirmed dead.

Bush, in his second visit to New York since the attack, went from Wall Street to Chinatown and Little Italy, telling New Yorkers the rest of America is ready to help them.

``I am saddened by the sight of the World Trade Center, once again,'' Bush told business executives during a meeting at Federal Hall, near the New York Stock Exchange. ``But through my tears, I do see a much better future for the country.''

The president also visited firefighters at Engine Co. 55, a company missing five men in the trade center. He also stopped at Hernando DeSoto Elementary to talk with first graders, many of whom witnessed the aftermath of the attacks.

In a school hallway, Bush scanned bright drawings under the words, ``The day we were very sad.'' The images included a flaming World Trade Center and a firefighter floating toward heaven with wings and a halo.

With Gov. George Pataki and Giuliani, the president led Debra Nelson's first-graders in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Bush also added his own sentiments to a poster where the children had written their feelings about America.

``I love America because I love freedom,'' the president wrote.

In discussing his future, Giuliani said he would not try to change the city's term limits to remain in office. The mayor, who is barred from serving more than two terms, said he backed a transition period.

``Anybody that thinks they're ready for this job on Jan. 1, given the monumental tasks that lie ahead, doesn't understand this job very well,'' Giuliani said.

Republican candidate Michael Bloomberg, a billionaire media executive, and Democrat Mark Green, the city's elected public advocate, have both agreed to the plan. Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer, who faces Green in a Democratic runoff Oct. 11, has refused.