Giuliani on Iowa, Iraq’s president & Hillary Clinton

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani called into the Radio Iowa newsroom this morning for a five minute interview.  He was in New York.  Here’s the transcript:

Henderson:  "You haven’t set foot in Iowa since early August and why would you campaign here since it appears you’re well-positioned for contests in places like Florida & California.  I’m wondering if these virtual appearances you’re doing tonight will be the modus operandi for your Iowa campaign."

Giuliani:  "No, absolutely not.  We’ll be in Iowa quite a bit.  We’ve been to Iowa 9 times this year including 3 times in August.  This month has been devoted, quite frankly, to raising money because we have to report at the end of the week & we want to raise as much money as we can.  Raising money in the summertime, you know, in July & August is always tough and we had to put a lot of it into September & that’s the only reason why we haven’t made as many political trips not just to Iowa but basically to every place else as we have been doing in the summer and we will resume those in October & November.  We’ve got 11 full-time staff in the state.  We’ve got a headquarters in Clive.  We have a campaign office in Iowa City & 39 of our house parties are going to be done in Iowa tonight — at least 39 of them…It’s not going to replace our making personal appearances in IA, NH, SC — all of which we’ll be doing all throughout the fall."

Henderson:  "You’ll be meeting today with the president of Iraq.  Many Republicans are frustrated with the lack of progress his government has made on several fronts. How do plan to express that frustration or do you intend to?"

Giuliani:  "Well, of course we’ll have a very frank discussion.  I met this morning with the foreign minister of Israel.  I spent an hour with her.  This is an opportunity for me, which I’ve taken advantage of every year, to meet with some of the foreign ministers, heads of state. This meeting of the U.N. that goes on in New York every year used to be a major responsibility of mine when I was major of New York, the security of it.  We’d have 90 to 100 heads of state here and I’d always use it as an opportunity to meet with some of them, so when people ask, you know, what kind of foreign policy experience do you have, (a cell phone rings in the background) as the mayor I spent a great deal of time on foreign policy and when I talk to the president I will — the president of Iraq — I will talk about the progress we would like to see in terms of more stabilization, more progress towards solving some of the basic, underlying problems.  I’ll also ask him his view of how things are going.  I mean, when you have one of these meetings there are things you want to convey but gosh you also have to keep your ears open to what they’re telling you about what’s going on in Iraq, how successful has the surge been, what additional things need to be done, what progress have they made, is it all being reported correctly from their point of view in the media or isn’t it?  You learn a lot of things in one of these meetings."

Henderson:  "I can’t resist.  Is that a phone call from your wife that you want to take?"

Giuliani:  "No."  Giuliani laughed as he replied.  "Phones are going off all over the place."  More laughter.  "It may be, but I’ll wait and call her back later."  More laughter.

Henderson:  "Finally, give me some perspective on this verbal tussle that you’re having with Senator Clinton.  Why are you taking her on now when you didn’t take her on for the U.S. Senate?  And you don’t have the GOP nomination sewn up and some might argue your resources and your time might be better spent on your intraparty skirmish."

Giuliani:  "Well, this is really, you know, everybody has their own view.  Ronald Reagan’s view was you run against Democrats not other Republicans and I worked for Ronald Reagan and it seems to me that that’s a much better way to define myself as against the Democrats.  My disagreement with other Republicans exists, but it’s minor compared to my disagreement with other Democrats so I don’t just focus on Senator Clinton.  At times I"ve pointed out areas of tremendous disagreement with John Edwards when he talked about taking the cap gains tax and raising it from 15 to 28 percent I said that would cost the federal govt $45 billion and it was a terrible mistake.  When Barack Obama virtually said he was going to invite Ahmadenejad to the United States without preconditions during his first year in office and Castro and I was one of the first to point out how big a mistake that would be and how big a reversal that would be of American govt policy going back to even a Democratic president so I mean it really depends on what they say and how outrageous it is.  I mean the reason I discussed Hillary Clinton is that I think she’s done one of the more outrageous things in an American political campaign.  On the day of September 11th, with an American general testifying in front of her, an American general that has responsibility for the lives of 160,000 or so American troops, she decided to question his integrity and I thought that was outrageous.  I thought that was beyond normal politics and for a candidate who talks about not being involved in the politics of personal destruction, her comments about General Petraeus were a personal attack on his honesty and integrity and I thought that was out of bounds in American politics.  I don’t think that has happened before.  I think even when we’ve had disagreements about war, we don’t have presidential candidates deciding to conduct their campaigns against American generals.  I thought it was worth pointing out and maybe it would slow it down a little in doing that and it did.  I mean, she sort of backed off the comments to some extent although she kind of did a John Kerry.  She voted for General Petraeus and then voted against General Petraeus virtually in the same hour."

Time up.  Interview over.

Here’s the Radio Iowa story, with audio of interview.

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About O.Kay Henderson

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