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The Nation

Giuliani lists his 12 campaign vows

He highlights education but not gun control, gay marriage or Iraq.

June 13, 2007|Tom Brune | Newsday

BEDFORD, N.H. — Rudolph W. Giuliani rolled out a list of 12 campaign promises as part of an agenda-setting strategy for his Republican presidential campaign Tuesday, but he did not mention Iraq, gun control or gay marriage.

In a speech at Old Bedford Town Hall, Giuliani hit on many of his familiar campaign themes, including fighting terrorism, basing healthcare on free-market principles and taming Washington.

He put a new emphasis on education, calling for vouchers to give parents of public school pupils the same kinds of choices of where to send their children as parents of college-bound students.

And Giuliani listed many other issues dear to the right, such as tax cuts and fighting child pornography, setting out his conservative markers at a time when polls show Fred D. Thompson luring away conservative support even though the former Tennessee senator has not formally entered the race.

"It's a group of promises that this campaign is going to be about and my administration will be about," Giuliani said.

He conceded that the ideas were sketchy but said he would elaborate over the summer.

In laying out an early platform, Giuliani appears to be going on the offensive in the Republican race, putting other candidates on defense and challenging newcomer Thompson.

Harking to what he called his successful conservative record as mayor of liberal New York, Giuliani said he could succeed where President Bush had failed.

"That's what leadership is about," he said in response to a reporter's question about why he could win on school vouchers when Bush couldn't. "Leadership is about doing things that in the past other people weren't able to do."

He sought to broaden his appeal by appropriating items from Bush's unfinished agenda.

Giuliani's list included ending illegal immigration and reforming the system, cutting federal jobs and spending, creating energy independence and halting frivolous lawsuits.

"We're going to lay out a mission of doing what other people say is impossible," he said. "Nothing energizes people like doing the impossible."

But Giuliani's list had hits and misses.

Club for Growth, a conservative and politically influential fiscal group, praised Giuliani's tax cutting and free-market approach but faulted him for skipping free trade, Social Security and regulatory reform.

In his speech, Giuliani avoided gay rights and gun control but vowed to increase adoptions and decrease abortions.

Later, he defended his failure to mention Iraq in his speech, saying Iraq is part of the "terrorist war against us." The U.S. role in Iraq should be based on whether it makes us safer from terrorists, he said.

"We may be successful in Iraq; we may not be," he said. "What we do know for sure is that terrorists are going to be at war with us, a year, a year and a half from now."

Giuliani's advisors view the speech as opening up a second phase of the campaign, moving beyond the initial burst of support for his actions after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

"He has a great reservoir of goodwill," said his senior communications advisor, Michael McKeon. "But he's running for president. He wants people to understand where he's going substantively and what is his vision for the country."

McKeon denied that the speech was a direct response to Thompson's jump in the polls.

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