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Giuliani on Clinton and the GOP's 'Very Strong Record of Success'

Giuliani brought fiery rhetoric and actual fire to wintry New Hampshire this weekend. (AP).

Rudy Giuliani has a fight on his hands to win the Republican presidential nomination, but he already has the general election well scoped out.

I talked with the former New York mayor about this aboard his campaign bus on Saturday afternoon as he was rolling from Winnisquam to Concord. He had just finished purchasing a fancy Christmas wreath at a nursery and seemed in a relaxed, if not exactly laid back, mood as we headed south.

Much of our time was spent talking about the nomination battle and his differences with Mitt Romney and his views about the Middle East. But at one point I mentioned something Barack Obama had said recently, which is that he believes the Republicans will be coming after the Democratic nominee on two issues in 2008 -- terrorism and immigration -- and that Democrats had better be ready.

Giuliani laughed. "He's missing a few others," he said. "I don't think they realize how far down the road they've gone toward much more government-controlled medicine and I don't think they realize how far down the road they went on tax increases, with [New York Rep.] Charlie Rangel's plan. Obama, Edwards and Hillary have bought into 20 to 30 percent tax increases. Those would be historically high tax increases."

Giuliani's views about the Democrats and terrorism are well known. At his most provocative, he's said a Democratic president will put the country on defense, not offense, against Islamic extremists and that will mean, over time, a greater loss of life than if the country stays on offense. He restated that view -- in less provocative terms -- Monday morning during an appearance at the Politics and Eggs breakfast series in Bedford, N.H.

On immigration, he believes the Democrats have badly mishandled the debate about whether illegal immigrants should have driver's licenses. Hillary Clinton took both sides of that debate until she finally said she opposes them. Barack Obama, at the Democratic debate in Las Vegas, meandered his way through the maze until he said he supported them. Giuliani looks at the issue and sees almost four in five New Yorkers opposed to the proposal that Gov. Eliot Spitzer abandoned and believes the Democrats are out of touch with ordinary Americans on the whole topic.

I asked Giuliani to assess the political climate for Republicans in 2008, given the low approval ratings of President Bush, the fact that the GOP as a party is less popular today than it has been in a very long time and the reality that it is very difficult for one party to win the White House three times in a row. He suggested I had missed a few things in my question.

"I think there are pros and cons for both of us," he said. "You've just stated all the pros for the Democrats. Here are the pros for us. When you look at a head to head match up, the generic Republican-Democrat thing falls away and just as often as not I'm ahead of Hillary nationally as she's ahead of me. We're always within four or five points of each other and 15 points or 20 points off the generic polling, Democrat or Republican. And I think that will become even more pronounced when it comes down to two candidates. It's not going to be about Republican and Democrat. It's going to be about Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani, or whoever is sitting in those two positions."

He also said the Democratic nominee will have a real burden defending the Democratic-controlled Congress. "There is one group more unpopular than the president," he said. "It's the Democratic Congress. Nancy Pelosi. Harry Reid. They do tend to put issues out there that help a lot. So there may be just as much of a reaction against that--I think a Republican candidate will have a really good argument: you've got to elect me to protect against a Democratic Congress, if there's going to be a Democratic Congress."

But Giuliani does not assume that, if he is the GOP nominee, there will be a Democratic Congress in January 2009. "I think we could run with the possibility of winning the Congress back because I make competitive races in 50 states, or pretty close to 50 states," he said. "I think my opponents [for the GOP nomination] do not. If Romney or Thompson were nominated, they'd run a 35 state campaign -- and they should because strategically it would be a waste to try New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Illinois. So I think if I run we give ourselves the best chance to make gains in the House and Senate."

The former mayor argued that, by the time of next year's elections, Democratic voters may be as disillusioned with their congressional leaders as Republican voters were at the time of last year's midterm election. "I think their base is getting discouraged," he said. "They elect these Democrats to get out of Iraq and they're still in Iraq. They elect these Democrats to straighten out immigration. It's just exactly where it was before. They elect these Democrats to do away with earmarks. There's 26,000 earmarks...They made a lot of promises and haven't delivered on them."

Giuliani and the other Republicans have been running hard against Clinton for months. I asked him how things might be different if Obama were the Democratic nominee. He said there would be some stylistic differences but added, "On the big issues you're talking about, I don't think it would be very different. They're pretty much in the same place on terrorism. He may be a little further out there to the left of her on terrorism. I think some of the things he said about negotiating he's going to have to withdraw. The feeling of the race may be different but I bet the issues would be pretty much the same."

When I asked Giuliani about his durability -- a word former President Bill Clinton used to describe the mayor's success to date in sustaining a lead in national polls while being out of step with his party on social issues -- he said that many analysts had "oversimplified the Republican Party and oversimplified Republicans. Republicans want the best president, they want the best possible candidate. I think we have the one thing to give them that the other candidates don't have to give, which is a very strong record of success."

--Dan Balz

By Washington Post editors  |  November 26, 2007; 12:25 PM ET
Categories:  A_Blog , Dan Balz's Take  
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Is this an article or a campaign release?

Posted by: aleeper | November 27, 2007 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Gosh... what a softball interview! Was someone afraid of losing access? Sounds a lot like the job the current White House press corp does.

>>I think we have the one thing to give them that the other candidates don't have to give, which is a very strong record of success

Here's what the Republicans have been successful at doing... changing a budget surplus into the highest deficit in US history... starting two quagmired wars at once... failing to capture or kill Osama bin Laden 6+ years later... the rich get richer and the poor get poorer... more people today without health insurance than in 2000... the stench of torture in my name... violating the US constitution with warrantless wiretaps and detainment without charges or access to counsel... incompetence, cronyism and corruption.

My God... if this nation votes for more Republicans in 2008 then we'll get exactly the government we deserve.

419 days till the end of the Bush administration.

Posted by: CardFan | November 27, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse

BSimon...I am HOPING you researched this information you read on Freakonomics yourself before believing that load. To DIRECTLY re-but the article, 1)When David Dinkins left office the city of New York was the murder capitol of the country and had been for 3 out of 4 years!!! This INCLUDED the last year he was mayor. There is NO WAY that ANY policy Dinkins put in place could be credited for crime reduction in NYC. You couldnt even get Dinkins to agree with that!!! 2) Your telling me that crime has been reduced in the mid 90's in NYC due to a bunch of children being aborted due to Roe v/s Wade? Does this even make sense?? I think Freakonomics just lost ALL credibility with that! Is freakonomics a US publication or is it Sudanese??? 3)Freakonomics claims that Rudy turned a deficit into a surplus but had a deficit when leaving office in New York City. Now that IS true. However, Freakonmomics forgot one very important event prior to Rudy handing off to Bloomberg. 12 nuts flew 2 planes into the World Trade Center and destroyed Manhattan!!! This Freakonomics article seems very close to toilet paper to me

Posted by: Robindad1 | November 27, 2007 11:25 AM | Report abuse

To bsimon & christoper1 --

Both of you are absolutely right. What the hell was Dan Balz doing while riding with Rudy? Why didn't he ask Rudy the same question that Hillary and Barrack fumbled concerning drivers license for illegals?

I've notice a pattern with MSM it doesn't challenge Rudy. He has never had to answer for is inconsistencies and flat out lies.

What do you think?

Posted by: SteelWheel1 | November 26, 2007 6:37 PM | Report abuse

From 1995 to 2001, total crime decreased by 48%. Murder down 45%. Robbery down by 53%. Burglary down by 57%. This happened while Giuliani was Mayor. Mayor Giuliani campaigned on reducing crime and kept his promise. What candidate in either party can make that claim? This reduction in crime benefitted everyone, rich and poor. No matter how you look at it, Giuliani's tenure as Mayor was a resounding success.

Posted by: nviest | November 26, 2007 6:26 PM | Report abuse

IS IT JUST ME or is there NO OPPOSING VIEWPOINT in this article?

Imagine a reporter interviewing Chancellor Hitler without any opposing viewpoint.

"There are no concentration camps. I'm not invading Poland. I'm not curtailing civil liberties".

The very fact that the article only quotes the biggest liar in US history ALONE Proves the pure corruption of the media.

Game Over.

Now, let's teach these criminals a lesson:

no one vote for Hillary Giuliani.

Posted by: christopher1 | November 26, 2007 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Giuliani has said Wayne Barrett is the best investigative journalist on earth. (Said both when Wayne worked WITH Rudy, and said AFTER Wayne turned his skills on supercriminal Rudy!)

EX: Wayne uncovered that Rudy's role model (Rudy's words)--his Dad---went to prison for armed robbery, a scandal even the FBI couldn't uncover. (Shocker. Rudy supports our incompetent FBI.)

In Barrett's two Rudy books, he POINT-BY-POINT proves Rudy LIED ABOUT EVERYTHING, from his family to 100% his flip flopping policies.

Rudy lied about the crime stats, the budget and everything, yet millions of americans STILL believe politicians don't lie!?!

WHY won't the media report any of these facts or scandals?

B/c Rudy stole over 7 BILLION of NYC's taxmoney and gave it to the media moguls (like Rupert) as "economic development" in exchange for protection. More mobster behavior from Mobster Rudy.

Posted by: christopher1 | November 26, 2007 5:20 PM | Report abuse

I think the headline is a mistake, it should say ..
"Guiliani and Clintons strong record of flip flopping for political gain"

Posted by: eSPO1 | November 26, 2007 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Neither of these jokers matter because Fred Thompson is going to win the nomination for POTUS for the GOP. He's the only true conservative out there and is the only GOP candidate with DETAILED plans to fix our nations biggest issues (replenishing the military, social security, securing the borders, and tax relief). He doesn't have to flip-flop like Romney, he doesn't have to lie like Huckabee, and he is a conservative unlike the liberal Giuliani. So really, there is only one choice and that is Fred Thompson.

Posted by: bjwalters80 | November 26, 2007 4:22 PM | Report abuse

If you look at NYC crime stats, you will find that they peaked in 1990. Giuliani took in in 1994, so there were already 3 years of decreasing crime before he came on the scene. Secondly, the police commissioner appointed (and later forced out) by Giuliani was originally a Dinkins appointee to head the transit police. Giuliani's other ppolice commissioner appointees were Howard Safir, universally recognized as a disaster and Bernard Kerik. And finally, crime has decreased in almost every major city in this country. I suppose Giuliani gets credit for that also?

Posted by: stevieb | November 26, 2007 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Rudy Guliani was too busy before 9-11 hiding the interests of Bernie Kerik who is now under federal indictment.He knew about his mafia connections and kickbacks.
He was protecting his friend - a pedophile preist.
He got kickbacks from the company that made defective radios that firemen had to use.
He was seeing another women while married.
No wonder he did not protect Americans before 9-11.
And murder rates went up by over 3000 in 2001 alone while Guliani was the mayor of new york.

Posted by: moneyfools | November 26, 2007 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Rudy Giuliani is losing my support because dispite his words about Law Enforcement, HE refuses to accept the fact this Country's blue Collar Middle Class has been DECIMATED by a Lack of Labor Law enforcement.

Worse-The Clown declared New York a Sanctuary in defiance of Federal Laws!

I once thought he would make a good Cabinet Member for Mitt Romney, NOW, I feel like that would be equivelent to handing the role to Billary!

Enforce our Labor Laws! NOW! It should not even be a Campaign Issue! Bushie SWORE an Oath he Would!

Then, since everyone has an ID to Work, and Elderly and Handicapped need IDs to get Benefits-REQUIRE ID to VOTE!

Cell Phones! It HAS to be the Cell Phones!

The Populace of America all have Brain Cancers from the Cell Phones! THAT, has got to be the reason

Posted by: rat-the | November 26, 2007 3:13 PM | Report abuse

All the pros/cons aside, I do believe Guiliani is a 50 (or 40+) state candidate where Romney et. al. are not. Many center and left of center voters in my region (New England) like the guy for cleaning up New York. In addition, he hasn't abandoned his liberal social positions. He'll be very competitive in the North East and Mid-Atlantic. Now, whether or not his hard line on Iraq hurts him with these "moderate" voters is a separate question, but I believe Rudy's candidacy will force Democrats to defend their traditional "turf".

Posted by: seannewengland | November 26, 2007 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm...blah terrorism, blah defense? I have never in my life heard a worse metaphore. Iraq and Afganistan BOTH contain terrorists, thats what the war on terror is. I mean, are those two not some the most important issue in this election, if not, surely attacking Mexico because France poked us in the eye now we want revenge...Thats not what defense is, we are DEFENDING our right to be free. Terrorists prevent people in their own country from having a freedom, the freedom to live.

And lets go on some better demographics than Freakonomics...c'mon guys!

Posted by: tenniswrestler | November 26, 2007 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Why is Balz unable to ask Ruuuudy something beyond basic questions?

For instance, his "ForeignersOnly" ID card is full of holes: it either wouldn't work, or it would morph into a NationalID card for everyone. And, even one of his current policy advisors warned 20 years ago against NationalID cards:

Then, there's the whole issue of the word games he plays that no "reporters" call him on:

Balz needs to seek out people who have real questions for Ruuudy, and then he needs to summon up the courage to ask those questions.

Posted by: LonewackoDotCom | November 26, 2007 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Blah Blah Blah Terrorism, Blah Blah Blah Strong on deffense, what non sense, Wake up America, all we need is an other Bush, France Attack us we attack Mexico, that what GOP call Strong on Defense!

Posted by: tqmek1 | November 26, 2007 2:19 PM | Report abuse

tenniswrestler writes
"And believe me dems do NOT want to run against him because of his strong terrorism and immigration policies."

Uh... Did you read the David Brooks (noted NY conservative columnist) article from Saturday? He revisits a couple gems from Giulianni's pro-immigration years. Add to the list of good questions Mr Balz apparently didn't ask mayor Giulianni: when did you change from pro-drivers license / pro-sanctuary city to your new positions on immigration?

Regarding the crime rates; take it up with the Freakonimics authors. They argue - and use data to prove their point - that the so-called 'new anti-crime initiatives' that Giulianni & his police chief imposed had no measurable effect on the crime rate. In a snarky aside, there's a comment that said chief had to step down after he made the cover of Time magazine (not Giulianni), thanks to his petty boss's damaged ego.

We can do better than Giulianni.

Posted by: bsimon | November 26, 2007 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Crime rate doesn't drop 18% from the hiring of new cops. Giuliani did a ton for the reduction of crime in New York. Even when he was a trail lawyer, his prosicution knocked off 5 different mob families in New York. He personally decreased organized crime single-handidly. So thats what his "strong record of success" means. And believe me dems do NOT want to run against him because of his strong terrorism and immigration policies. Something dems don't have.

Posted by: tenniswrestler | November 26, 2007 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Of all of the candidates in both parties, I find Rudy Giuliani the least attractive. One can boil his entire campaign down into taking the 8 years of George W. Bush and addding them into a bowl containing his own hyped version of his experience as Mayor of New York, mixing it all up into a fine must and then putting it in the microwave and pushing "reheat".

Giuliani's entire campaign can be summed up as one of those old classic movies remade with all of the latest digitized effects. Only in this case, the original was such a flop that no amount of special effectsd or harmonic spin will be sufficient to convince voters that Bush II (Giuliani) is something to be devoutly wished for.

And your interview Mr. Balz was just another slice of good old body comraderie of the type we see on Fox News and MSNBC every day. Stop trying to push 8 more years of Bush upon us disguised as some liberal northeast former Mayor of NYC.

Posted by: jaxas | November 26, 2007 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Balz should have asked Rudy about his bad temper, his inflated ego (both just like his father) and those whispers of the mafia in his background and many of his appointees in his administration, such as Kerik. Rudy has made bad judgments and picked bad people for a very long time. I think there is a lot that should be asked of him, if the press only has the guts to do it.

Posted by: goldie2 | November 26, 2007 1:47 PM | Report abuse

gosh, i can't begin to think how rudy survives with such a scrutinizing press confronting him. a few more of those softballs and rudy will be home safe...

that's how he does it.

Posted by: mycomment | November 26, 2007 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Dan Balz quotes Rudy Giulianni as saying
"I think we have the one thing to give them that the other candidates don't have to give, which is a very strong record of success."

This statement deserves a little more analysis. I've been reading "Freakonomics" recently, which makes some interesting claims that directly refute the mayor's claims of success in dealing with crime in NYC. The authors argue that crime dropped in NYC for two reasons; firstly through the hiring of more cops - a program which was apparently begun by mayor Dinkins & resulted in a change to the crime rate BEFORE Giulianni was elected to office (though the trend was not noticed or reported until later). Secondly, the crime rate changed due to demographic changes - the shrinking of the population of poor adolescent males - which the authors attribute to Roe v Wade in 1973, not to any of Giulianni's policies in the 90s. Moving on to the mayor's claim of 'turning a deficit into a surplus' - this is true, though, again, it is unclear which mayoral polices produced this fiscal change. More importantly, the mayor ignores his record of also turning the surplus into a deficit - by the time he left office, NYC was in the red again - though he doesn't like to talk about this aspect of his legacy.

Something tells me the Dems would love to run against Giulianni and his "strong record of success".

Posted by: bsimon | November 26, 2007 1:20 PM | Report abuse

I find this article on Guiliani's campaign very interesting. To take a stand on campaign issues, visit and join the national research panel.

Posted by: tenniswrestler | November 26, 2007 1:13 PM | Report abuse

For Guiliani's sad attempt to put a happy face on Republican woes, he gets two Pinocchios.

Posted by: stickeen | November 26, 2007 1:12 PM | Report abuse

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