HH: Pleased to welcome back now to the Hugh Hewitt Show Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Mayor, good to have you back. Thank you for being here on a week…
RG: How are you, Hugh? How are you doing?
HH: Good, I’m great. And I want to start right with the toughest stuff. What did you make of the MoveOn.org ad?
RG: I thought the MoveOn.org ad was disgraceful. I think that it is just another indication of what the Democratic Party has become. I mean, MoveOn.org is one of the biggest contributors to the Democratic Party. They’ve contributed hundreds of millions of dollars in ads that have almost all been scurrilous character attacks on Republican candidates. They are an organization that specializes in libel and slander and character assassination. But all of a sudden, now, they’ve focused their attention on an American general in time of war, and accused him of being a traitor. I mean, this is absurdly over the line. And to have Hillary Clinton, with her comments that very day, the very day that ad appeared, that General Petraeus is asking us to have a willful suspension of disbelief, is pure Clintonianism. The willful suspension of disbelief. To ordinary people like you and me, what does that mean, people who talk straight to each other? It means she’s accusing him of not telling the truth. Well, Hillary Clinton has no right to be attacking the integrity of an American general who has put his life at risk for this country, is putting his life at risk for this country. If you want to disagree with his policies and our policies or our programs, fine. But this character assassination has to stop, it has to stop somewhere, and it certainly should stop when we’re going after generals like this.
HH: Now Mayor, if you are her opponent in the general election, will her silence about this ad be an issue?
RG: Her silence is going to be an issue until she apologizes. Today, I called the New York Times, and I asked if I could put an ad in at the same rate, at the same tremendously discounted rate that MoveOn.org got, which I think was about $60,000 or $65,000 as opposed to the usual $180,000. And we submitted the ad, and they wouldn’t tell us whether they’re going to put it in tomorrow. And we asked for tomorrow as the time to do it, because we said MoveOn.org got to select their time. It was the morning of General Petraeus’ testimony. We wanted tomorrow morning, because it’s the day after the President’s speech.
HH: What’s your ad say, Mayor?
RG: My ad says that basically, it makes a choice between who you’re going to believe, Hillary Clinton and MoveOn.org or General Petraeus.
HH: Now this kind of…I think this an important debate to have, and a blunt one to have. Is it being fairly covered by mainstream media who appear to be indulging the MoveOn.org slander without much inspection of the assertions that they’re basing it on?
RG: Well, Hugh, I don’t expect much from the mainstream media. I don’t. I mean, I expect we have to carry this battle. If I run against Hillary Clinton, I’m perfectly prepared to carry this battle, not expecting that the New York Times or the major networks, or…are going to give us anywhere the same kind of favorable coverage they will give her. I’m a realist, I’m not saying that in any way where I have a chip on my shoulder. I’ve lived with this all during the time I was Mayor of New York City. The reality is we just have to be better at communicating. So the minute I saw this statement, it came as a shock to me, actually, I took September 11th kind of off from politics. So at night, and the next morning, I went over like a day or two of things that were being said, and I saw the ad, and I saw Hillary’s comment, and I immediately said this is beyond the pale. I mean, we’ve now, American politics, particularly as practiced by the Democrats and MoveOn.org, is gutter politics. I’ve been in many, many Congressional districts of Republican candidates where MoveOn.org has spent one or two million dollars to tell lies about the Republican candidate to get back control of Congress. But now, all of a sudden, to do this to an American general, who is going to have to go back there and lead his army as of today, this is beyond the pale. And to have Hillary Clinton complicit in it with her follow-up statement about willful suspension of disbelief, I thought if we have any chance left to get back to some kind of a sensible analysis of Iraq, she’s got to apologize for this.
HH: Now she wants to be commander-in-chief, as do you, and you’ve been an executive in charge of public safety forces before on the worst day in the history of the United States for the loss of life among them. How does it occur to you that she could be the commander-in-chief and abetting this?
RG: I don’t…I look at these three Democratic candidates, you know, and I say to myself here’s what they share in common. They’ve never run a city, state or business. They’ve never had responsibility for the payrolls of other people, to pay other people. They’ve never had responsibility to make a budget, a real one, and they’ve never had the heavy responsibility on their shoulders of the safety and security of other people. I’ve had that kind of responsibility on my shoulders since I was about 29 years old, when I was Ronald Reagan’s associate attorney general. I was United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York, and I had to deal with a mafia situation that was way out of control. I became Mayor of New York City in the middle of a fiscal crisis, and a crime crisis. So I know people focus on September 11th, but that was only the last of the big crises that I handled, and of course, it was the worst one by far. But I’ve been dealing with crisis all my life, and I’ve been an executive all my life. And they have no experience, none, which is why I think they come to some of the conclusions they come to. It’s the reason they make irresponsible claims about what they’re going to do with taxes and what they’re going to do with budgets. They’ve never had to have the responsibility of dealing with other people and having things get measured by the results that you get, not just by the things that you say.
HH: Now Mayor, one of your advisors, one of the people who endorsed you in the presidential race, is Ted Olson, your old colleague from Justice. I know Ted as well. Yesterday, when the word came out he might be the Attorney General nominee, Harry Reid immediately released a statement saying he would not be confirmed. What’s that tell you about Harry Reid?
RG: I mean, Harry Reid told me everything he had to tell me about himself when he declared two months ago America has lost. I mean, I fell out of my chair when I heard that. I never thought I’d ever hear the majority leader of the Senate, Republican or Democrat, I can’t imagine hearing those words from Everett Dirksen when Kennedy was the president, or Lyndon Johnson when Eisenhower was the president, or from George Mitchell, for that matter, or from Bob Dole that America has lost. So I just think Harry Reid has become a total partisan.
HH: But the sort of a partisan…have you ever seen as deeply defeatist an expression in the Democratic Party prior to this? I know Vietnam was pretty tough, but what about now?
RG: No, I haven’t seen it, and it’s unnecessary. It’s unnecessary to put America in this position. When you listen to General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker, and you read the things from the people that went there, even the Democratic Congressmen that have changed their minds about the fact that we’re having some success there, it’s as if the comment of Congressman Clyburn really affects all of them. Congressman Clyburn said two weeks ago if the surge is successful, it’ll be a problem for the Democratic Party. Well, maybe this character assassination is a way of getting the focus off that.
HH: Let me ask you, Mayor Giuliani, last week, we had arrests in Denmark and Germany of jihadists. Today, there were more arrests in Vienna, Austria. Last week, there was a massive van bomb that was parked in an Ankara, Turkey garage that was detected. What do you see going on with the jihadist movement, and do you think this is a time of unique peril?
RG: I think that this is a very, very dangerous movement. It’s one where we have to be on offense against it. Time Magazine did a piece about a week or two ago criticizing me for exaggerating the Islamic terrorist threat. This is the same Time Magazine that made me person of the year in 2001 for how I dealt with the Islamic terrorist threat. But in any event, now I’m running for president, so you’ve got to expect things like that. The reality is, Hugh, I am not exaggerating the Islamic terrorist threat. I’m not even stating it, I don’t think, at the level at which it exists. I don’t know if I’m good enough or capable enough to do that. All you have to do is look at what happened in Germany, what you’re talking about today, what happened in New York a couple of months ago and New Jersey, the people who were going to attack Fort Dix, people were going to attack Kennedy Airport, the people in Germany, the twenty or twenty-two situations of Islamic potential attacks on the United States that have been thwarted in the last five or six years. This is an ongoing threat. I have renamed it, as one of my twelve commitments to the American people, I’ve renamed it the terrorist war on us, rather than our war on terror, because I think that really describes the fact that no matter how we politically debate it, they’re at war with us. We may be fighting with each other, but they’re united in their war against us.
HH: Now Mayor, let’s talk some politics in the remaining time we have. Washington Times this morning has a story, illegals talk alienates Giuliani supporters, and it talks about a separation between you and Peter King, and your declaration that illegal immigration isn’t a crime. What were you trying to say, and is this story overstating the differences between you…
RG: Oh, sure. Pete King and I are good friends, and he’s a big supporter of my campaign. The simple reality is Pete would agree with me that it’s not a crime. He tried to make it a crime. It’s not. I mean, I’m a lawyer. I know politicians do all kind of pandering, and they make all kinds of statements. I’m not particularly good at that kind of thing. I just tell people the truth. I mean, the truth is crossing the border is a misdemeanor, being an illegal immigrant is not a crime, and Congress tried to make it a crime, I think it was a year ago, two years ago, and it didn’t pass both houses.
HH: Should it be a crime, Mayor?
RG: It shouldn’t be, because you wouldn’t be able to prosecute it. It would be 12 million people. Do you know how many people we have in jail, every jail, if you used up every jail in this country? About two million. So you would have a crime that didn’t get prosecuted, which would lead to disrespect for the law.
HH: Does that logic follow over into the war on drugs, Mayor, to say simple marijuana possession?
RG: No, we actually have the resources to deal with it. If you look at the number of people we prosecuted for drugs, it’s hundreds of thousands. It’s not 12 million people. So when you think about it, the reality is that if you made it illegal in the sense of the status illegal, you would have a situation that would totally overwhelm law enforcement in this country. You wouldn’t be able to prosecute murderers. So you know, honestly, we’ve got to stop all the knee-jerk political rhetoric and just be honest with people. And I’m not good at knee-jerk political rhetoric. I am good at being honest with people. When I faced illegal immigration in New York City, I did more about it than anybody in the country. But I took a city that had crime out of control, I handled illegal immigration that was part of it. The federal government wouldn’t deport anybody, so I had to deal with it, and I did, and I created the safest large city in this country. And of my opponents, I am the only one that really has had safety and security as a responsibility on my shoulders, and I’m the only one with results.
HH: So Mayor, what should we do about the illegals who are here?
RG: We should end illegal immigration at the border. That’s the place to end it. If you let people come into the country, you’ve got a big problem. Even given the legal rights that we have, the legal rights that we have mean the people that are here, whether you consider them illegal or criminal, are entitled to trials, lawyers, appeals to court, habeas corpus. So the best thing to do is you stop it at the border. You build a fence, you build a technological fence, you deploy the Border Patrol every 25 or 50 miles from those points, the technological fence would alert the Border Patrol of the people coming over. You stop them from coming over. You then have a tamper-proof ID card for all the people that are in the United States. They have to get a tamper-proof ID card when they come in, or if they hear they have to get one. If they don’t get one, then you throw them out. And now you’ve gotten it down to a universe of people that will be effective that you’ll be able to deal with. Let me tell you where my opinion comes from. It comes from a frustration I had as Mayor of New York City. I had 400,000 illegal immigrants in New York City. The federal government would not deport anymore than 2,000. So it was impossible for the federal government ever to get to the 400,000. Just think of how they’d have to expand things to go from 2,000 to 400,000. So I asked them could you throw out the drug dealers. If you’re going to do only 2,000, help me with reducing crime and focus on the drug dealers. And the immigration service basically said no. We’ve got professors who have overstayed their visa. We have gardeners, we have people working restaurants. We’ve been working on them longer, and they have to go first. That’s when I realized that our whole immigration system is dysfunctional, might be the nice way to put it.
HH: Mayor, I’m getting calls from your staff. You’re talking too long. I’d love to have you stay…
RG: I don’t care if I’m talking too long. I enjoy your show, and we’re trying to communicate something very important to the American people.
HH: I think it is crucial. I think it is crucial. Do you think that there is a middle ground on illegal immigration out there?
RG: I think there is, but I don’t think you get there until you end illegal immigration.
HH: All right.
RG: And I learned that by traveling the country the last year. I’m not sure I would have given you the same answer a year ago, and it’s not a change in position. It’s a change in the learning process. The American people want us to end illegal immigration, and by far, I’m the candidate best able to do it. I’m the one who has gotten results like that. Ending illegal immigration is like the result I got with crime in New York, or welfare in New York. It’s a massive change, but it can be done if we have the technology to do it now. We have to increase the Border Patrol, we have to build a fence, we have to have the tamper-proof ID card, we have to have the border stat program. If we put that into effect and we stick with it for two to three years, we can end illegal immigration, and then we can deal rationally with the issue of the 12 million people that are here. But then there won’t be a risk that that 12 million will become 20 million.
HH: And on that note, Mayor, I’m going to let you go.
HH: We will look for…
RG: Okay, Hugh. We’ll be back to go into more detail.
HH: And we’ll look for the ad in the New York Times tomorrow. Rudy Giuliani, thanks for being back on the program.
End of interview.