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Rudy Giuliani on Florida primary eve.

Monday, January 28, 2008

HH: Joined now by Rudy Giuliani from Florida. Mayor, welcome back to the Hugh Hewitt Show.

RG: It is very nice to be back with you, Hugh.

HH: Mayor, the Los Angeles Times is reporting, and Drudge has picked it up, that you’re hinting at dropping out. I think that’s nonsense, but why don’t you deny it.

RG: I have said the same thing I have said for months, and it’s this. I have said this way back, I believe that the person who wins the Florida primary will be the Republican nominee. I started saying this, I don’t know, sometime in August, because it seemed to me that this is the lead-in to February 5th. And if somebody gets a nice win here, you’re going to have a tremendous advantage in all those big states that are coming up. So that…I repeated that today, so they assume that means…actually, I’m not sure I know exactly what they assume that means, but we’re in it, we’re going to win. I’m not conceding to anyone that we’re not going to win. And if they want to ask questions like well, if you don’t win, what are you going to do? And I have never, ever contemplated questions about if you don’t win.

HH: Will you be at the Reagan Library on Wednesday to debate?

RG: I’ve got my ticket.

HH: (laughing) That’s not a yes or no, Mayor.

RG: I haven’t cancelled my ticket, although I’m not sure I travel by ticket anymore. But I have plans to travel to California, either on the red-eye, or early the next day. And having been on the board of the Reagan Library, I never turn down an invitation to go to the Reagan Library.

HH: Now Mayor, there are a lot of us who really value what you bring to this race, especially on terrorism. They want to hear unequivocally you’re in this through these other primaries, because they don’t want Florida to decide for them. Are they confident they’re going to get a chance to vote for you?

RG: We are going to win in Florida. That is all I’m going to say right now. We’re going to win in Florida.

HH: All right. There are lots of us, and CNN commentators, saying your votes are leaving you, because they think you can win. What do you say to those voters who are shuddering a little bit?

RG: That’s why I’m saying to them we’re going to win to Florida, we’re in it. I’ve just been on radio all over Florida saying don’t get psyched out. You know, they’re getting some of these robo-calls that a vote for Giuliani is a vote for Romney, a vote for McCain, sort of that kind of game that’s getting played. And so we’re trying to combat that with our great end game that we have, which I think is really fantastic, which is getting out the message, we’re going right through them, saying we’re in this race. We believe that we have a lead already in the early voting, so we believe we go into tomorrow with a lead. So our job tomorrow is to keep our voters enthusiastic, and not to be overwhelmed by these polls and this kind of, I’ll call it a psych game that’s going on.

HH: Now let’s talk about some issues. The Senator wants to talk a lot about Iraq. Governor Romney wants to talk a lot about the economy. No one’s talking about the wider jihadist threat to the United States. You’ve done that a lot. Is America going to sleep on this, Mayor Giuliani?

RG: A little bit, Hugh, right now, sure. It could be a function of the world markets, and our markets, and therefore, people are getting jittery. And you’ve got a combination of both the markets and the real estate. Here in Florida, I was just speaking to someone within the real estate business here. Here in Florida, I mean, they’re really frightened about the value of real estate. They’ve got the mortgage problem, and they have their property insurance problem. That’s the reason I became a supporter of the national catastrophic fund, and as a way of getting people to be able to afford insurance. So I would say, I would say it has fallen off a little bit from the way people are voting. I think the economy right now, here, is a bigger issue. That’s why two weeks ago, we put out a very comprehensive tax program, which was even better than we thought it was going to we. When the Club For Growth looked at it, and a number of the experts, they said it was the best one they’d ever seen. And Congressman Dreier and Senator Bond have introduced it already as legislation. It would cut the income tax rates, corporate tax rates. It would cut the capital gains tax rates, it would get rid of the inheritance tax, and it would provide an optional one-page form for people to use.

HH: Now Mayor, a lot of people have said, you’ve gone a little gentle on your opponents, both McCain and Romney. You haven’t thrown tough punches at them. They’re not used to the kinder, gentler Rudy. Do you agree with that assessment?

RG: No, that’s always been my practice. I think I’ve even talked to you about this. I only attack if you attack me. And if you don’t attack me, I have no reason to attack you. And I don’t like Republicans attacking each other. So I’ve been trying to get the message out in the last two or three days that I think both of these guys have gone too far. I think Mitt and John are attacking each other too much. In fact, at one point, I said it’s starting to sound like Obama and Clinton.

HH: Yes, it is.

RG: And the reality is, we’ve got substantive differences that we can argue for ourselves. I mean, I would argue that I’m the tax cutter. Mitt didn’t cut taxes in Massachusetts. He said he had a Democratic legislature and he couldn’t get it done. Well, I had a Democratic legislature, and I got it done 23 times. And John, you know, voted against the Bush tax cuts twice. I supported the Bush tax cuts twice. And I supported them, because I had done things like it. So these are the kinds of differences we should be talking about, not the kind of stuff they’re doing, one calling the other dishonest. Neither one of them is dishonest. Neither one of them is dishonest. Neither one of them is in favor of a timetable for retreat. It’s kind of descending into issues that ultimately hurt us in terms of winning an election.

HH: So you don’t think Romney is in favor of a timetable?

RG: No, I read those remarks, and I think I understood what he meant. What he meant was you’ve got to have internal ones. I don’t think he was talking about the same…yes, he was talking about a timetable, but he wasn’t talking about the same kind of timetable that the Democrats were supporting, you know, a public timetable for retreat, which by the way, Hugh, I think has been one of the more irresponsible recommendations of any group of politicians I’ve ever heard in my life.

HH: Mayor, do you think that Osama bin Laden and the people who admire him, and some who take orders from him, are waiting this election cycle out to renew the war against the United States?

RG: Not particularly, no. I don’t know how sensitive they are to our politics. I think they are driven by their own internal, I’m not going to describe it as logic, because it isn’t logic, their own internal fantasies about how to create large surprises and catastrophic events. And they are exceedingly patient. But I think it’s their timing that is more important than ours, their timing and being able to put together a kind of an attack that would have the shocking effect that they want to have.

HH: And a last question, Mayor, we’ve got about a minute left. Ehud Barak in Israel today said he suspects that Iran has a second covert nuclear program that is going full speed ahead that we are unaware about. What do you think of Mr. Barak’s assessment?

RG: Well, the National Intelligence Estimate that’s been bandied about quite a bit did leave open that possibility by saying that they only had a moderate degree of confidence that Iran had not resumed its nuclear arms program. Remember, there were two parts to that report. The first part was that they were highly confident that Iran has stopped their nuclear arms program in 2003. But then they went on to say that they are only moderately confident that they haven’t resumed it. So if you put that together with Barak’s statement, you know, I guess the thing to do is to assume the worst, isn’t it?

HH: Yes.

RG: Aren’t we safest by assuming the worst? And rather than kind of like assuming that everything’s okay, given the nature of that regime, the things that they have said, the way in which they’ve been duplicitous, the hostages they took, the threats they made to destroy Israel, it would seem to me we should assume that they’re moving in that direction, and we should be imposing very heavy sanctions on them, and getting others to impose sanctions on them. And also, just make clear that there is a military option that is not going to be taken off the table.

HH: And Rudy, with ten seconds left, who wins the Super Bowl on Sunday?

RG: The Giants! (laughing)

HH: That was a softball. Rudy Giuliani, always a pleasure, look forward to talking to you next week, Mayor.

End of interview.

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