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Kerik on Giuliani

post.com's Ed O'Keefe filed the following:

Bernard Kerik, the controversial former top police officer in New York City, made an unannounced appearance on MSNBC on Friday afternoon.

Speaking from NBC's London bureau on Baltimore's proposed crime-fighting measures, Kerik admitted he didn't know many of the details and provided general suggestions on how big cities can fight climbing murder rates. (The Baltimore Sun reported Thursday the plans could, among other things, limit the number of people who could gather on city sidewalks.)

MSNBC anchor Contessa Brewer then addressed the elephant in the room: Kerik's past and how it could impact the presidential campaign of his former boss, Rudy Giuliani (R).

Brewer referenced a Giuliani statement from late March in which he said he had made "a mistake" in late 2004 when he recommended Kerik to head the Department of Homeland Security.

When asked for reaction, Kerik defended himself.

"I think the mayor has a right to his own opinion. And looking back, it was a mistake for me to accept the nomination, knowing now what I know about the nanny, and what happened. But I think the mayor's recommendation, just as the White House's nomination, or anybody else who has said, and did say at the time I was the right person at the time, I think they made those decisions, I think they made those recommendations based on a 12 percent decrease in crime in New York City. My handling and leadership after 9/11. My, you know, handling and leadership in the Department of Correction, which was responsible for a 93 percent reduction in violence, and a 33-year career in the industry."

Brewer then asked if Kerik has personal concerns that his past might derail Rudy Giuliani's campaign.

"No, absolutely not," Kerik said. "I think people are going to look at Rudy Giuliani for what he's done in the past. Here's a man that had a city that was one of the worst run cities in the country. It has a $40 billion budget. That budget is probably bigger than 45 of the 50 states in the U.S. He took that city and made it one of the best. Then they got to witness his leadership on and after 9/11. That's what they should be judging him for, not whether or not he recommended me for Homeland Security or not. They have to look at his 33, 35-year career as a manager and a public servant. And I think when you do that, you compare him to the other candidates, I think the decision is pretty obvious, and I think he should be the man to run the White House."

And would Kerik be personally disappointed if Giuliani asked him not to campaign for him?

"No, absolutely not. I'm not campaigning for him. I'm not part of his campaign. I have nothing to do with his campaign. I have my own life, and my own things I'm doing now. But, naturally I wish him all the best, and you know, I think he's the right man for the job."

Watch video of the interview below:

VIDEO | Bernard Kerick Answers Questions on MSNBC

For more on Giuliani, see the special report below:

By washingtonpost.com Editors  |  May 19, 2007; 5:37 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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