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Rudy Giuliani on the ground in Florida

Friday, January 18, 2008

HH: Mayor Giuliani, welcome back to the Hugh Hewitt Show.

RG: How are you?

HH: Great. You know, I was looking at your Florida strategy, Mayor, and it’s disappointing. You’re going to be leaving just when the pitchers and the catchers are arriving.

RG: (laughing) That’s true, that’s true. Actually, you’re right. They could have scheduled it a little bit better, but we’re pretty happy with the schedule the way it is.

HH: Have you ever been to spring training, Mayor?

RG: I have, a couple of times. Only recently. I was there last year and the year before.

HH: All right. Mayor, the jury’s out on your Florida strategy. How long was the longest you ever had to wait for a jury, by the way?

RG: Oh, gosh, I don’t remember. Sometimes days, but not as long as this (laughing).

HH: What do you think? Is it shaping up the way you thought that Florida will basically restart the campaign?

RG: It is, it is. It certainly is. Today, we had, we’re in Florida. We went to the Cape, we went to see the Space Station. We just had a meeting on space. We’re going to be doing a rally later. So I mean, we’re all over Florida. We’ll be doing our bus, starting our bus tour again tomorrow. We’ll be doing a bus tour of Florida starting actually on Sunday, and we’ll be doing it for two days.

HH: And Mayor, do you think that your Florida supporters are willing to wait this out? And have they stayed loyal through this long period of time when other people are clashing in different states.

RG: It looks that way. We get tremendous crowds. I mean, we campaigned today, and we got very, very strong crowds. Our bus tour was overloaded with people every place we went. As I said, we decided to resume it again on Sunday and Monday, so we’re going to be doing it again up and down Florida. And it seems to be working. And we’re getting our message across that Florida is an important state, that it’s one that can make a very big difference. People of Florida are very interested in our tax program. It’s a bold program, so it gets people’s attention. It would be the biggest tax cut in American history. It would be, I think, the single biggest simplification of taxes ever in order to get the tax form on one page, which people are very interested in. And when I look at the kind of stimulus that Congress and the President are talking about, the very best stimulus would be to pass my tax program.

HH: Now Mayor, I want to ask you a couple of social conservative issues. When you were Mayor, you cleaned up Times Square, and that meant getting rid of the porn stores and the prostitutes. Now, the virtual downtown for everyone, the internet, is overrun with porn, and we’ve got these huge, free, new megasites opening up, and kids can get to them. Can you clean up the internet the way you cleaned up Times Square?

RG: Well, I’m with Attorney General Bill McCollum, who is the Attorney General of Florida, who has probably done more work in the area of trying to keep our internet safe from child predators from the kind of thing that you’re talking about. And yeah, you have to do it working with state and local government, though. I mean, the federal government can’t do this all by itself. It has to do it with task forces like Attorney General McCollum has put together to try to focus on the people who are at the heart of this, trying to get parents much more aware of what’s going on. A lot of this has to be done by awareness by parents, who in many cases have no idea of what’s going on. And then of course, when you find the perpetrators, to have very serious penalties. And the federal government has a role here, because these are very often multi-state situations. It could involve Florida, it could involve New York, it could involve California, it could involve Texas, it could involve Kansas. You know, so you need these task forces that allow for cross-jurisdictional cooperation.

HH: Now Mayor, when the Meese Justice Department, of which you were a part, went after pornography, it was a big deal. But since that time, those sorts of prosecutions have basically vanished. Under a Giuliani presidency, would they return?

RG: Well, we’re going to have to make sure that these new forms of crime, these child predator things that are going on, we’re going to have to police them a lot more effectively. And we’re going to have to do it based on task forces, which is the way, honestly, Hugh, that’s the way we did it with everything else. The way we had our biggest impact on organized crime was not just the federal government doing it, but the federal government doing it with state and local task forces working together. And this should become a major priority of the Justice Department. The Justice Department can’t do it all, but the Justice Department can certainly help.

HH: But not just child predators, but beyond that, pornography and obscenity. Do you think that needs to be revisited and made a priority of the Department of Justice?

RG: It has to be looked at particularly from the point of view of parents being able to be aware of what is available to their children, so that these things don’t just rush into their homes, and nobody is aware of it.

HH: All right, staying on the internet…

RG: And the way I did it in New York is, in New York, we did a rezoning. We did a rezoning of the city that allowed us to remove not all of the pornography, but a substantial amount of it.

HH: And so would you rezone the internet to get one of those dot X…

RG: Well, I’d have to look at how you could apply it to that, and I would be guided a lot by people like Bill McCollum, who has a lot of experience in this.

HH: Now staying on the internet, software piracy is probably going to cost the United States, according to some authors, $150 billion dollars over ten years. Can you do anything about that?

RG: Oh, yes you can. I mean, that’s something that I know something about from my private experience. Absolutely. I mean, first of all, you’ve got to negotiate with these trade agreements, and other international agreements. You have to negotiate protections in a lot of other countries, and have to pursue them there. And you have to make sure that if we’re going trade with another country, and free trade is a very big part of what I’m in favor of, but part of those negotiations have to be to protect intellectual property so that all of a sudden, we don’t lose our processes, we don’t lose our creative ideas. And that has to become an important part of what the trade negotiations are about.

HH: And is our legal system up to that? I mean, the Chinese are running circles around us on this stuff.

RG: Well, our legal system constantly has to be revised in light of the new kinds of crimes that take place. But this is sort of beyond our legal system. It’s somebody else’s legal system.

HH: Right.

RG: So what you have to do is negotiate with them for things that they want from us, then they need to build things into their legal system that protect us. And we have done some of that. But I’m not sure we’ve done it at the scale at which we have to do it.

HH: Last subject on law enforcement, back to the drug cartels. You know, we’ve got these Mexican cartels are out of control. You’ve prosecuted a lot of drug runners. It doesn’t seem like we’re making progress after drug czar after drug czar. Is it a winnable war, Rudy Giuliani?

RG: It is, it is. But you have to look at it, you know, from the point of view of is the effort against crime a winnable war. Well, of course it is. But it doesn’t mean you’re going to eliminate it completely, right? But if you didn’t do it, then where the heck would you be? I mean, suppose we didn’t, just because we can’t end all crime, suppose we didn’t enforce the laws. Then how much crime would you have? And you know who explained this to me once a long time ago? A group of drug addicts that were going through rehabilitation, and when we were having this discussion about legalization, what they said to me was, if it was ever legalized, you have no idea how many drug addicts there would be. You have no idea, you straight people, they were saying to us prosecutor types, you have no idea how many people are actually deterred by this, how much this reduces the number of people that actually originally get into drugs, or stay with it. So please don’t legalize it, because if you do, you’re going to see our numbers increase dramatically. One of them even said to me, you know, please don’t do it because my brother, my brother was deterred by it, and I don’t know what would happen if it were legal. And so, I don’t think sometimes we realize that all of the efforts that are made in this drug enforcement area, how it has…sure, we haven’t solved the problem, and yes, it’s a big problem. But if we weren’t making those efforts, my goodness, I don’t know how big the problem would actually be.

HH: Related question, Mayor, Hillary’s folks, directly and indirectly, have been talking about vetting, and there’s been some focus on Senator Obama’s drug use admissions in his memoir. Should those admissions matter in this campaign?

RG: You know, that was so long ago, and he seems to have explained it in the right way, that it’s not something he’s encouraging other people to do. He’s explaining the mistakes that he’s made. Gosh, I wouldn’t…everybody has to make their own decisions what they’re going to use to decide on the candidates they want to vote for, but it wouldn’t seem to me that that would be an issue that I’d use.

HH: Watching Hillary’s campaign go after Senator Obama, does it tell you what you’re in for if she’s the nominee and you’re the nominee?

RG: (laughing) I have a pretty good idea. I had a pretty good idea before.

HH: Last question, Mayor. Will you do the Broadway Joe and predict a victory down there in the Florida Super Bowl?

RG: Sure. We’re going to win. And that’s our whole effort here. We feel very good about it, we think we have a very good campaign here. We think the issues kind of line up in the areas where we have a lot of strength, so we’re very confident.

HH: Are you done if you don’t?

RG: You never say that, Hugh. It’s very important. That’s as far as I will go. I will say it is very important that we win, and we will.

HH: I want to sneak in one more. You fell a little bit behind in the polls in New Jersey. Any doubt in your mind you can go back up there and get ahead of Senator McCain in New Jersey?

RG: I believe we’re going to win in Florida, and then we’re going to win a lot of races on February 5th. That’s our expectation.

HH: Mayor Rudy Giuliani, I look forward to talking to you next week as well. Thank you.

RG: Thank you, Hugh, Bye.

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