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Rudy Giuliani: If I run again, 'I'd try to win'

July 14, 2011|By Maeve Reston | Los Angeles Times
(Gabriel Bouys / AFP/Getty…)

Reporting from Hampton, N.H. — Arriving for his fourth visit to New Hampshire this year, former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani said he would decide by the end of the summer whether to mount another run for the presidency, and described President Obama's economic policies as disastrous for the country.

When he ran for mayor in 1993, Giuliani recalled, he tried to convince Democrats to vote for him with a simple campaign pitch: "You cannot do any worse."

"I think we are pretty much in that same situation," he told about 100 guests gathered for the Seacoast Republican Women's luncheon at an event center in Hampton.

Speaking to reporters before his speech, Giuliani said the 2012 presidential election cycle has developed slowly and that there was still time to "assess the situation" and determine whether any of the candidates could beat Obama.

Giuliani, who became known as "America's mayor" when he presided over the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in New York, focused heavily on national security issues during his failed 2008 presidential bid. But when asked by a reporter whether he believed there was a place in the GOP field for someone with a background in counter-terrorism issues, he quickly pivoted to his economic record. The election, he said, would be won by the candidate with "the best ideas about how to straighten out the economy."

"If I had a place, it would be the fact that I did that for New York City," he said. "I took over a city that was in comparatively horrible economic condition" -- with a $2.5-billion deficit, 10.5% unemployment and 1.1 million people on welfare.

"By the time I left, we had only 500,000 people on welfare, our unemployment was 5% and we had 500,000 new jobs, and I think the policies I put into effect helped to revive the economy of New York City," he said. "I look at this president -- this president has had the worst record of any American president in my lifetime for dealing with the economy."

Giuliani said his top priority would be reducing spending and taxes to free up more money for growth in the private sector. He compared Obama's record with that of former President Carter. Another four years, he said, "would be a disaster to our economy."

Giuliani's schedule over the next two days is certain to renew speculation that he is seriously considering another bid for the White House. After two events on the state's seacoast Thursday -- the second hosted by former New Hampshire Republican Party Chairman Wayne Semprini in New Castle -- Giuliani planned to spend the evening with some 200 bikers and fans at a Manchester Harley-Davidson dealership, where his aides said he would discuss 2nd Amendment issues.

On Friday, Giuliani is scheduled to meet with voters in New London and speak to several classes at Dartmouth College in Hanover. He plans to close out the trip with an afternoon event hosted by the Dartmouth Young Republicans.

Asked whether he would do things differently in the 2012 race -- should he decide to enter -- Giuliani laughed: "Sure absolutely," he answered, "Yeah -- I'd try to win."

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