Giuliani in the Bluffs

It’s t-minus 11 minutes for the Rudy Giuliani speech here in the gym at Woodrow Wilson Middle School in Council Bluffs.  A fellow just asked the crowd of about 200 to turn their cell phones and pagers off.  That is perhaps a signal RG is in the building, perhaps not.

As we drove into the west entrance, two Ron Paul supporters stood on the curb, waving and holding their Ron Paul signs.  The Rudy sign nearby was planted in the ground, festooned with balloons.

Inside, a blue curtain is comprising the north wall of the gym, decorated with a lone "Rudy" sign.  And the sign says nothing other than that — Rudy.  No mention of his party or his presidential campaign.  Just the white letters against a navy background with a red border. 

The Council Bluffs Thomas Jefferson band played a few patriotic numbers and after the colors were posted by some local Boy Scouts, the band played "You’re a Grand Old Flag." 

State Senator Jeff Angelo of Creston stopped by press row earlier to lament the early start time and revealed he was advised to stop wearing his novelty ties, advice which he is heeding.

Angelo is now talking to the crowd and explaining why he’s backing the mayor, talking about an August, 2001 trip he took to New York City and the performance of Giuliani.  "New York City cab drivers, who I understand are pretty hard to please, would say ‘Rudy did this,’" Angelo recounted, talking about the "spontaneous" accolades he said Giuliani was getting from New Yorkers proud of their city’s turn around.

Angelo is giving the hard sell:  "He is taking the Iowa Caucus process very seriously… talk with you about the issues that are important to you and I hope that in the end you will give him your support.  In this caucus process, you are the most important influence in the lives of your friends and neighbors…I hope that you will encourage your friends and neighbors to participate… It’s literally friends & neighbors sitting around, talking ab out the future of our country… I hope that you will work hard for Mayor Giuliani’s campaign for the presidency."

Silence falls over the room as Angelo concludes, the only sound a woman’s shoes clicking on the gymasium floor.  About 30 seconds go buy before the music gets piped in.  Mr. Rocky Mt News describes it as "hold music." 

There is a stenographer sitting next to me, typing up a transcript of the event for the Giuliani campaign.  Hopefully they’ll share that with a link later, so I can link to that. 

Giuliani’s theme of the day (one of his 12 commitments) is judicial philosophy.  Being on time is not one of the 12 commitments.  He’s now 15 minutes late.  (See update below regarding timing.)

Next up, former Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate, state chair for RG.  He gave a very short introduction.

They’re playing some country western song with the line "New York City" in it..

Giuliani is talking.  "I believe that one of the most important responsibilities of POTUS is the judges you put on the bench.  Unlike a lot of state and local judges, they’re appointed for life…they’re there for ever."

He’s quoting Reagan — my 80 percent friend is not my 20 percent enemy. 

He’s reading through all 12 commitments.

"We have to appoint strict constructionist judges and reform the legal system…they should not be allowed to make it up….A strict constructionist judge tries to figure out what the words of the constitution mean, not what they would like them to mean."

He’s talking about the 2nd Amendment — the right to keep & bear  arms.  Seems pretty simple, Giuliani tells the crowd…."Now, some people don’t agree with that…they have a right to believe that but the only way they can change that is amending the constituion."  Critics of 2nd amendment "use judges" to take "that right away from you."

It makes no sense that the right relates just to militias.  "A good judge….has to just interpret what the words mean, whether they like it or not."

Giuliani’s talking about a judge who struck down a DC gun restriction.  "That’s why I would appoint judges like Chief Justice Rboerts or Justice Alito — both of whom I worked with in the Justice Department."  He added Scalia and Thomas, too.

"I spent a lot of my life being a lawyer…I spent a lot of my life in the justice dpearmtnet…and I was the third-ranking official in the justice dept under President Reagan."

Giuliani says it was his job to recommend and clear the appointments of U.S. Attorneys and Marshalls.

Giuliani praised Regan for "wselecting really good judges."

"You have legislators to change things," Giuliani said.   

"I have coffee in the morning.  Do you have coffee ih the morning?" Giuliani opens his next part, talking about the warnings printed on coffee cups now — a warning that it is "hot"  due to a lawsuit against McDonald’s.

Next up, the lawsuit filed by the judge who complained his dry cleaners lost his pants.

"must have been one heck of a pair of pants.  I wonder what he had in those pants," Giuliani said.   He is joking with the crowd more often as he roams the front of the room with his cordless microphone compared to his professorial, dry presentation in Des Moines on fiscal issues.  (College credit for those who passed the exam after that speech in DSM.)

Back to his speech:  He’s talking about frivolous lawsuits.  ""It’s like a trial lawyer tax on our economy….It’s big money…costs over $9000 for a family of four in order to have this out of control legal system."

He says the medical system may be "ruined" by the lack of OB/GYNs due to liability issues.

"We’re just filled with lawyers and they’re allowed to abuse the legal system," Giuliani said.

Democrats won’t do anything about the legal system, according to Giuliani, who vows to reform the system if he’s elected.

Loser pays rule.  Giuliani would institute it in US (like UK).  Now, he’s suggesting judge would have the discretion to charge the person who loses.  "If we did that, we’d cut down on some of these abusive lawsuits," Giuliani said.

He also would cap damages.   He would alos cap legal fees.  "The D Party doesn’t want to change this," Giuliani said.  "…They’re the party of the trial lawyers…they mean a lot more than the people otherwise you wouldn’t allow a system like this to flourish."

Now, Giuliani is talking about his record as mayor of New York.  "You give me a chance to do it.  I’ll do it," Giuliani said of reforming the legal system.

He’s concluding and opening it up for questions.  He talked for just over 15 minutes.

"Not that there’s any significance to this, but we’ll start on the right," Giuliani told the crowd as he pointed to a questioner. 

Question:  do you have any plans for health care?  Giuliani said he’ll keep health care a "private matter" and will release more details of his plan in a few weeks. 

Would anybody like to join him, go to Cuba for your health care," Giuliani said as he mentiohed Michael Moore’s movie.  Giuliani said he considered a lot of places to go for his cancer treatment a few years back, and Cuba wasn’t on the list.

Government "ruins it" when it runs the health care system. 

He’s give a "big" tax deduction — $15,000 so you can go buy your own health care insurance with your own money.  The incentive is if you find something that’s less than $15,000, you keep the overage.

"We should be making decisions about our health care insurance the way we make decisions about our car insurance and our homeowners insurance," Giulani said.  "…You create a market that way."

Question:  a woman who’s a veteran says she wants to ensure the Iowa Guard Unit that’s returned to Wisconsin after 16 months in Iraq.

"There should be no differences on any candidate — Republican or Democrat," Giuliani said.  "….The group you’re talking about may have served one of the longest tours in Iraq."  Giuliani illustrating he’s done his Iowa homework.  "Would you please tell them they’re the reason we’re safe?" Giuliani asked the crowd.  He called himself an "expert on terrorism" and started talking about terrorism.

Question:  would you act to ensure the inspection of more of cargo coming into the country & would you create a tamper-proof ID card.

"I will end illegal immigration and secure our borders," Giuliani said.  "I know how to do that…It’s not too much more complicated than reducing crime in the crime capitol of the country."

The fence should be built — a physical fence and then a "technological fence."  There are countries that have this equipment.  We hate it.

"Before everybody gets all out of control on this…Here’s all that we’re saying as a country…We are askig you to please ,please identify yourself when you come into our country," Giuliani said. "…We have a right to know who is coming into the United States of America. …a civilized, normal idea."

"There is no value to illegal immigration," Giuliani said. "…a thousand people walk over the border every night.  Maybe 998 of them are good people…but all you need are two or three people hiding among them who aren’t."

Giuliani said solving the border problem first then will allow policymakers to come up with a "sensible solution" for what to do with the people who are here.  The crowd applauded.

Question:  do you have specific plans, other than the comprehensive plan that the American people rejected that was in the Senate? 

Giuliani said you don’t do anything about the illegal immigrants who are here until you secure the border.  It would take 18 months to 3 years to fix the border, he estimated.  If  you secure the borders and you create a tamper proof ID card, then you can address what to do with the people who are here illegally, according to Giuliani.

Here’s an indirect quote:  I would say people that are here, come forward, we’ll give you a tamper proof ID card if you want to work.  If you want to become a citizen, get a tthe back fo the line and you’re going to have to learn to read, write and speak English in oder to become a citizen.  The crowd applauded.

Those who don’t come forward: "We’re going to find you and we’re going to throw you out," Giuliani said, to applause. 

The que4stioner also asked about NAFTA, and Giuliani talked abut open trade policies.

Qiuliani’s taking one more question — from the left side.

Question:  how do you stop the "Democratic defeatist attitude" that is "ruining" the U.S.?

"America should remain on offense against the terrorists," Giuliani said.

"Amen," said the questioner, a man wearing a Navy baseball cap. 

"You don’t go on offense by running away…by throwing your hands up when things get tough," Giuliani said.  His voice is more strident than it has been at any point.  The crowd applause, which interrupts Giuliani about every thrid sentence, is hearier than at any point in his presentation.

I’m packing up to get ready to talk with the crowd and to make Giuliani’s press avail afterwards.

UPDATE: On Thursday, the Drudge Report quoted the paragraph flagged above about Giuliani being 15 minutes late in a longer piece about Giuliani’s tardy appearances elsewhere.  The Giuliani campaign maintains he was not late, that the event was to start at 9:15 a.m. and Giuliani was to begin speaking at 9:30 a.m.  I was swamped yesterday and had to tape Iowa Press this morning, so haven’t had time to deal with this before now.  Here is the advisory I had from the Giuliani campaign for Giuliani’s Wednesday appearances as of 5:15 p.m. Tuesday.

Wednesday, July 18th:

WHAT:              Public event TBA in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

WHAT:              Public event TBA in Sloan, Iowa.

WHAT:              Public event TBA in Le Mars, Iowa.

WHAT:              Public event TBA in Sioux City, Iowa. 

Luckily, a Giuliani campaign "friend" had emailed me the time and location of Wednesday morning’s event, as distributed by Giuliani’s campaign to "friends" but not to reporters.  It stated that the event would begin at 9:15 a.m. — and helpfully provided the location. 

I do not have in my email in-box a copy of a Giuliani campaign email prior to the event which listed Giuliani’s scheduled appearance as 9:30 a.m.  Maria Comella of the Giuliani campaign sent me an email after the Drudge headline appeared with the following declaration in the text of the email:  "We weren’t late!!!!"  She forwarded the following to me on Thursday, the day after the event (and, again) after the Drudge headline appeared, as her evidence that Giuliani was not late:

Wednesday, July 18th:

WHAT:              Town Hall

WHERE:           Woodrow Wilson Junior High School


                       715 North 21st Street

                        Council Bluffs, IA

WHEN:              Event begins at 9:00 AM CT

                        Rudy Giuliani delivers remarks at 9:30 AM CT

Jarrod Agen, another Giuliani campaign operative who was traveling Iowa with Giuliani this week, called Charlotte Eby of the Lee Enterprises Newspapers here in Iowa on Thursday, the day Drudge had the headline up about Giuliani’s tardy behavior.  Eby also has a blog.  Agen suggested Eby should put up a post on her blog noting that Giuliani had been on time in Davenport on Thursday.  (Davenport’s Quad City Times newspaper is part of Lee.)  Eby declined.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.


  1. For the life of me I can’t understand how anyone can support Ghouliani. I mean, i’m a 9/11 survivor and so are you…should we run for office? What a tool.

  2. Thanks for the mention! See you at the next event!