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Transcript: Rudy Giuliani on 'FNS'
Written by Chris Wallace / Published May 14, 2007 / Fox News Sunday
The following is a partial transcript of the May 13, 2007, edition of "FOX News Sunday With Chris Wallace":
"FOX NEWS SUNDAY" HOST CHRIS WALLACE: Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani has been in the center of a political storm ever since his comments about abortion in a recent debate.
Well, this week on the campaign trail he struggled to answer critics on both sides of the issue.
On Friday, we sat down with the former mayor in Tyler, Texas for his first in-depth interview since the controversy started, as we continue our series, Choosing the President.
WALLACE: Mr. Mayor, welcome back to "FOX News Sunday."
RUDY GIULIANI: Thank you, Chris. Nice to be here.
WALLACE: Let's start with abortion and any confusion that remains about where you stand. In the Republican debate last week, you said it would be OK if the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and also OK if they didn't.
Now, my guess is most Americans would feel passionately one way or the other. Why are you so indifferent to such a deeply held issue?
GIULIANI: I'm very, very passionate about abortion and the whole issue of abortion. But it leads me to a conclusion that may be different than some, the same as others, which is I oppose it. That's a principle I've held forever, and I'll hold it forever. That's not going to change.
But I also believe that in a society like ours, where people have very, very different consciences about this, it's best for us to respect each other's differences and allow for choice.
So with regard to Roe against Wade, since I'm seeking the presidency of the United States and my view is that there shouldn't be a litmus test on Roe against Wade, it seems to me the best position to take is I don't want a litmus test for judges.
We didn't want Justice Roberts or Justice Alito to answer that question. They both answered that question they would consider it, they would look at it.
I'm going to select strict constructionist judges. They're free to take a look at Roe against Wade, take a look at the limitations. But I believe I should leave it to them to decide that.
WALLACE: But just to revise your answer last week, then, you personally, supporting choice, would not feel it's OK if the Supreme Court...
GIULIANI: What I meant to convey — if I didn't convey it correctly, I'll convey it again. The country could handle it. I mean, the country — we've got a federal system. What would happen is states would make decisions.
We're already doing that with the Hyde amendment. Federal funds for abortion are limited. States make their own decisions.
WALLACE: But would you personally be disappointed?
GIULIANI: I don't think it's a question of being disappointed or being happy about it. I think it's a question of not wanting to make this a litmus test for judges, so that a judge feels free to listen to the facts, listen to the arguments, and come to the decision they think is the correct interpretation of the Constitution.
Some strict constructionist judges are going to decide it was wrongly decided. Other strict constructionist judges may give more weight to the precedential value of it, the fact that it's been the law for this length of time.
And if you read Justice Kennedy's opinion for the court in the partial birth abortion ban, you can see the tension there between these two things. And I think the court should be allowed to decide this.
WALLACE: But as a practical matter, any president would look at the records of anyone he was going to nominate as a judge, and especially anyone he was going to nominate to the Supreme Court.
Are you saying that you could name someone whose record shows that he opposes a woman's right to choose?
GIULIANI: I'm not sure I follow the question.
The last two appointments that we had to the court were people who said that they would take a good look at the precedential value of it...
WALLACE: But they also...
GIULIANI: ... and did not indicate their opinion on it and were not selected with a litmus test.
WALLACE: I understand. But what I'm saying is that any person, when you're going to judge a judge...
WALLACE: ... to decide whether or not to name him, you're obviously looking at his record, his rulings...
WALLACE: ... his writings. Could you nominate somebody, in the whole context of a variety of issues...
WALLACE: ... who had indicated an opposition to a woman's right to choose?
GIULIANI: Oh, in the context of their overall record...
GIULIANI: ... and if I thought that on 20 other issues they would be terrific, I might be able to, sure. I don't consider it a litmus test. If you don't consider it a litmus test, you don't consider it a litmus test either way. I mean, it's not — it's not something I would seek an answer to.
I don't think the last couple of presidents who made these appointments considered it a litmus test.
I would consider the following about a judge. Are they someone who interprets the Constitution rather than legislates? Are they someone who seeks the meaning of the words of the Constitution?
A decision like Judge Silberman's decision in the D.C. Circuit is the kind of decision I'd point to where he found a constitutional right to bear arms, went way, way back to the framers, to the Federalist Papers, tried to figure out what did they mean when they put those words in the Constitution that the people have a right to bear arms.
That's the kind of judge I would want. I might not agree on every decision they make, but that's the kind of judge I would appoint.
WALLACE: You say that while you support a woman's right to choose, that you personally hate abortion and you wish people didn't have them.
GIULIANI: That's a position that many...
WALLACE: My question is: Why?
GIULIANI: Many millions of Americans have that same position that I have.
Personally, if you asked my advice, if a woman asked my advice about abortion, the advice that I would give is: Shouldn't have the abortion, better to have the child, I'll help you, I'll support you in that choice.
WALLACE: But my question is: Why?
GIULIANI: Because I think having the child is a much better decision. I think it's a much better moral decision. I think it's much better for society.
I think adoption is a better option than abortion. I supported that position by helping adoptions increase in New York when I was the mayor by 66 percent.
In fact, one way to look at it — and I just went back and analyzed all these things myself. During the eight years that I was the mayor, adoptions over the eight years before went up 130 percent. I have a very strong view about that.
I have an equally strong view — and these two things guide me, and people should know this, and it's something that I feel very strongly about, just like they feel strongly about their position.
I have an equally strong view that in a society like ours, you have to respect the right of other people who are of equally good conscience, are equally religious — maybe more — and are equally committed to making this deeply personal choice themselves.
WALLACE: The reason I ask is when you were asked in the last debate about stem cells, embryonic stem cell research, you said you could support it except when it was a matter of creating a life to take a life.
The implication there seems to be that you think of that frozen embryo as a life.
GIULIANI: There are rights that have to be evaluated, and then...
WALLACE: But can I ask you directly: Do you think of that frozen embryo...
GIULIANI: I don't look at it that way. I don't think it's for me to decide. I can't decide when life begins. All that I can decide is, you know, what are the constitutional issues? What are the legal issues? How do you deal with these things?
And the way I deal with it is I believe abortion is wrong. I believe, as a personal matter, if it were my personal choice — and of course, it will never be a person choice. I'm not a woman.
But if I was asked my advice about it, the advice that I would give is that abortion is wrong, choose another option. And I'd make those options available. However...
WALLACE: But you don't...
GIULIANI: ... but if you said to me, as a woman, "I have an equally strong view of this as you do, I have a strong conscience, I'm a good person, I've thought about this, I believe this is the right thing," I would support that.
And then the way I resolve that, as do hundreds of millions of Americans, is I support limitations on abortions. Let's see if we can make them limited. Let's see if we can find other alternatives.
If we could ever get to no abortions by free choice, that'd be the way to get there.
WALLACE: Let's talk about those limitations.
Here's a copy of the questionnaire you filled out for NARAL, the abortion rights group, back in '97, when you were running for re- election as mayor.
"Do you support Medicaid funding for abortion without any restrictions?" Yes.
"Would you oppose forcing minors to get parental notification before they have an abortion?" Yes, you would oppose forcing parental notification.
"Would you oppose a ban on partial-birth abortions?" Yes.
WALLACE: Question: Since then, you have moved in the direction of restricting abortions in all of these areas. Why?
GIULIANI: Correct. Let's take each one of them.
Parental notification. I looked at the laws, the laws that were passed. They created judicial bypass. It seems to me that that is a reasonable way to do it.
On partial-birth abortion, I was concerned that there'd be exceptions for the life and the health of the mother. The 2003 congressional hearings, and then the eventual legislation, made provision for the life of the mother and made findings on the health of the mother with which I agreed. I supported it then. I supported the decision.
And I am open to seeking ways to limit abortion, like I did with adoptions as a way of substituting that or making that a choice at the time that a person would decide on abortion. I am open and will continue to be open to ways to limit abortion. What I am not open to is to removing the right.
The two pillars that I have are I personally oppose it, but I believe that that should be a choice that somebody else gets to make.
If you can find ways to limit abortion, which I think would be a very constructive thing to do, I will probably find a way to support that. I can't say I would support all of it, but I would...
WALLACE: But you would not want to do away with the right...
GIULIANI: That's correct.
WALLACE: ... which raises this next question.
If you become the nominee of the Republican Party in September of 2008, will you try to change the Republican Party platform, which has been pro-life since 1976 and now says, "The unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed."
GIULIANI: I'm not going to deal with the platform. I mean, I think that any candidate...
WALLACE: You couldn't live with that, could you?
GIULIANI: Well, any candidate of the party has about nine out of 10 things in the platform they agree with and one or two things that they don't agree with.
I know what my positions are. A very, very big portion of my party agrees with that. A certain portion of my party disagrees with that.
My attempt is to try to broaden the base of the Republican Party, to try to bring in people that can agree and that can disagree on that, because I think the issues that we face about terrorism, about our economy, about the growth of our economy are so important that we have to have the biggest outreach possible.
WALLACE: Let's turn to Iraq and the war on terror. The president of Iraq now says that they will need U.S. troops in their country for another year or two. Would you make that commitment?
GIULIANI: That's something you have to look at very, very carefully. But I think the commitment that we have to make is to emerging from Iraq with a stable situation there that is going to help us in the effort against terrorism.
After all that we've done and after all that we've accomplished there, it would not make sense to retreat, and it would not make sense to give them a schedule of our retreat, which I think would be very, very irresponsible.
WALLACE: Now, let me ask you about your commitment, because if the surge were to fail — I want to get a sense of how committed you are — would you basically say, at this point, that we're going to stay in Iraq until we get a stable situation?
In other words, is or isn't failure an option in Iraq?
GIULIANI: Failure should never be the option in a war, because if failure is the option, failure happens. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy. You should be in a war or in a situation like we're in in Iraq — it should be about victory. It should be about success.
WALLACE: So you're going to stay there even if the surge fails?
GIULIANI: Well, no. If, God forbid, failure happens, it happens and you have to deal with it, but you don't predict it.
WALLACE: Because what I'm asking you is if, by the end of this year, the surge hasn't changed things, are you going to go to another plan? Or are you going to at some point say, "You know what? We lost."
GIULIANI: I don't think you predict that. I mean, it's a terrible mistake to predict that. If you predict that, you predict failure.
And maybe that's part of the problem the way the Democrats have handled this all along. If you start saying, "Oh, what am I going to do if this fails, and what am I going to do if that fails?" — at least publicly, what you've done is you're predicted failure.
Should the administration have a plan for what happens if this strategy or that — of course it should. But do you put that out there as some kind of a prediction? Absolutely not. I mean, then you're just creating a self-fulfilling prophesy for defeat.
WALLACE: You said last month that you have probably visited more foreign countries over the course of the last four or five years than any other presidential candidate. Why haven't you been to Iraq?
GIULIANI: We were going to go at one time, and it was delayed for a reason that I'm not sure I can describe. It just didn't happen. I mean, it just didn't happen that we were able to get in there. And maybe before this year is all over, we'll get there.
WALLACE: I was going to say, as a presidential candidate running to be commander in chief, do you think you should go?
GIULIANI: Yes, I would like to go. And of course, you've got to work that out quietly, and you've got to work that out carefully. And I don't want to go for publicity.
But I talk to many, many of the troops that are there. I was just at the arsenal in Alabama with many of the soldiers and many of the people that are in and out of there working on the helicopters and working on the various equipment and weapons systems that they have.
I have a great deal of contact with the people there. And yes, I would like to go there.
WALLACE: Before the end of the year?
GIULIANI: It would be a very good idea, and it's something that we're trying to accomplish.
WALLACE: You say that if Democrats win the White House that we're going to go back on defense in the war on terror. But last Sunday, House GOP Leader John Boehner was on "Fox News Sunday" and he said, "We've got to see progress by September."
As you also know, a number — about a dozen — House moderates sat down with the president this week and said, "Look, our districts are prepared for defeat unless things improve."
What would you say to those members of your own party — not the Democrats, but your own party, who are saying it may be approaching time to jump ship?
GIULIANI: Well, I think going on defense on Iraq and going on defense about terrorism is not just about Iraq. It's about the opposition to extending the Patriot Act, the opposition to electronic surveillance, the opposition to interrogation.
Both those things, interrogation and electronic surveillance, have to be done legally, but they have to be done aggressively.
And I detect in the Democrats a kind of attempt to go back to a pre-September 11 mentality in which we're not anticipating.
And I also believe that they would not have made the mistake of wanting to force us to give our enemies a timetable of our retreat — I've never heard of an army in the history of the world being required, if it's going to retreat, to give its enemy a timetable of that retreat.
WALLACE: But now you hear some Republicans saying, "September; we've got to know by then." So what would you say to those people?
GIULIANI: Anybody proposing giving the enemy a timetable of our retreat is proposing something that is fundamentally irresponsible and something that is unheard of in the history of war.
It comes about, I believe, because — not because they don't care about the troops, not because they're not patriotic. They love our country as much as I do or anybody else. This is not an attack on them personally in any way.
It comes about from a fundamental misunderstanding of the terrorist threat that we face. There are people in this world that are planning to come here and kill us. They are not one group. They are multifaceted.
And we have to be on offense against them, and we have to consider the things that we do in light of whether we embolden them or not.
And giving them a timetable of our retreat puts the troops there in jeopardy and it puts the whole strategy in jeopardy.
WALLACE: Mr. Mayor, we've got to take a break here. But when we come back, we're going to discuss the economy and immigration, and some of the events surrounding 9/11.
Back in a moment.
WALLACE: And we're back now with Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
And, Mr. Mayor, let's discuss domestic issues, starting with the economy.
WALLACE: On the campaign trail, you talk about being a fiscal conservative, the fact that you cut taxes 23 times, that you reduced welfare rolls, I think, by 600,000 people.
But independent budget reviews say that spending went up $9 billion during your time as mayor and that, in fact, there were 6,000 more city workers at the end of your two terms than there were at the beginning. Question: Fiscal conservative?
GIULIANI: Sure, big time. Compare that to other states and the federal government during that period of time, and it was about the lowest growth in government. It was below inflation and the growth of the economy. It was about the only government that was able to accomplish that.
And in the words of George Will, who wrote this quite some time ago, he says I had the most conservative governance in the last 50 years of any place because I lowered taxes, because I lowered the growth of spending in ways nobody else had ever done compared to other states, other governments. And actually, the reduction in welfare was 640,000.
And you have to see it in the context in which I did it. I did it in the context of a place that never did it before. I had to teach New York City how to use principles of fiscal conservatism.
It's a lot easier to do it in Washington than it is in a place in which you've never really had any cut in spending, you've never really had any cut in taxes.
And the $9 billion is also the amount by which I cut taxes. And I took a deficit of $2.3 billion and turned it into a multibillion- dollar surplus.
WALLACE: You talk about what would work in Washington. A lot of people say the single most effective tool that a president could have to cut spending is the line-item veto.
WALLACE: And yet, when you were mayor — you know where I'm headed with this.
GIULIANI: I know exactly where you're heading to.
WALLACE: President Clinton...
GIULIANI: There's a great point that I want to make about it.
WALLACE: Well, good. Let me get my question out, and then you can get to your answer.
President Clinton — when he had that power back in the mid-'90s, he used it to line-item veto what he said was excessive Medicaid spending. You not only opposed it, you took him to the Supreme Court and you got it ruled unconstitutional.
So it's because of you we don't have the line-item veto.
GIULIANI: The line-item veto is unconstitutional, and I'm a strict constructionist. The line-item veto — if we want, it has to be done by constitutional amendment.
The reality is it so fundamentally alters the separation of powers — if you read the Constitution carefully and you go back to the Federalist Papers, it's unconstitutional. The Supreme Court decided that. I believe that.
And of course, it was in the interest of my city to advocate for it. And when I took an oath of office to be mayor of New York City, it was my job to protect the people of New York City, and I did it vigorously and strongly and...
WALLACE: May I ask you about that?
GIULIANI: ... and we were correct in our interpretation of the Constitution. And the president was incorrect.
WALLACE: One of the raps against you is that as mayor you did things that pleased your city but that weren't necessarily good for the nation. Case in point: Gun control.
You now say that what works in New York doesn't necessarily work in Montana. But as mayor, you supported the nationwide Clinton weapons assault ban. You supported nationwide federal licensing.
And you actually joined a lawsuit to make gun manufacturers liable if someone used their gun to shoot somebody.
GIULIANI: I did everything I could as mayor of New York City to reduce crime. And the strategy against guns, both civil and criminal, was very aggressive.
WALLACE: But that wasn't just tough in New York City, it was tough around the nation.
GIULIANI: But so was the strategy I utilized in New York City on everything. I was criticized for being too aggressive about the enforcement of the laws, including the gun laws.
But the reality is I began with the city that was the crime capital of America. When I left, it was the safest large city in America.
I reduced homicides by 67 percent. I reduced overall crime by 57 percent. And you don't do that by not aggressively enforcing the laws.
The quote that I have from the time I was mayor is that the conditions in New York and the things you do in New York about guns may be different than Texas. And the reality is I've always looked at it that way.
WALLACE: No, no, no, but at the time you said, in fact, that weak laws, weak gun laws, around in other states might actually end up producing guns on the streets of New York, so you needed nationwide laws.
GIULIANI: What we were doing was using civil remedies to try to help New York, as well as using criminal remedies to help New York.
The reality is as mayor of New York, I looked to do all the things that I could do to protect the people of my city. They were my responsibility. That's the way I looked at it on September 11. That's how I looked at it on the day that I became mayor of New York City.
Now, here's how I look at...
WALLACE: And as president?
GIULIANI: As president, my interest is going to be how to protect the people of the United States of America. When I take that oath of office, it'll be real clear to me who the people I have to protect are. They're the people of the United States of America.
Now, the reality is — just as you asked me about line-item veto — I told you I'm a strict constructionist, or I try to be. The Second Amendment to the Constitution is about as clear as it can be.
It gives people the individual right to bear arms. I agree with that. I think that is a correct interpretation. That means that any restrictions have to be reasonable.
And those restrictions largely have to do with criminal background, background of mental illness, and they should basically be done on the state-by-state level. And that's the guidelines that I would use in dealing with it as president.
WALLACE: Let me move on, almost as a lighting round.
Immigration. As mayor, you welcomed — welcomed — illegal immigrants into the city. And in fact, you opposed a law that the Senate was trying to pass that would have cracked down on illegal immigrants and, in fact, made the city report to the federal government about illegal immigrants.
So you had a pretty open door to illegal immigrants in New York City.
GIULIANI: The reality is, the way I look at illegal immigration, particularly in light of the terrorist threat we face, is that the focus has to be — we need a tamper-proof I.D. card.
We need to know who's in the United States. We need to know everyone who's in the United States that comes in here from a foreign country. And we have to separate the ones who are dangerous from the ones who aren't.
To accomplish that, we need a fence. We need a technological fence. We need a border patrol. We need people to come forward who are working so they'll get identified, get fingerprinted, get photographed.
And then we should focus our attention on the people who don't come forward. And there's where you're going to find the drug dealers. There's where you're going to find...
WALLACE: But, Mr. Mayor, it sounds like you have one position when you were the mayor of New York. And now that you're running for president, your principles on gun control and immigration and all these other issues have changed.
GIULIANI: That is totally incorrect and a total misunderstanding of what I said.
My interest as mayor of New York City was to focus on the criminals that were here. I wanted the Immigration and Naturalization Service to throw them out.
At the same time, there were 400,000 illegal immigrants in New York, roughly, when I was the mayor. The immigration service could throw out no more than about 2,000 a year. So I had 398,000 illegal immigrants.
The question was, should their children go to school? Did it make sense, in a city that had so much crime, to have 40,000, 50,000 kids sitting at home?
Should they be able to report crimes? Of course they should be able to report crimes. The criminals who criminalized them were going to criminalize other people.
Should they get treatment in hospitals? If they don't get treatment in hospitals, you have communicable diseases.
I had real responsibilities that I had to deal with. This was a very effective way to deal with those responsibilities.
I have always been a proponent of legal immigration. I've always been a proponent of a strong and secure border. I was in the Reagan administration. I was during the time I was mayor.
But I had to deal with practical problems, and I dealt with them, I think, about as well or better than any mayor during my time, because I took a city that was exceedingly dangerous and I made it into a city that was the safest large city in America.
WALLACE: Nine-eleven. No one questions your courage or your leadership in the days after 9/11, but one question has come up that I'm very curious about.
You put the emergency response command center in the World Trade Center in 1997, even though your director of emergency management suggested — recommended that you not put it there because it had been a target in 1993. Why'd you do that?
GIULIANI: My director of emergency management recommended 7 World Trade Center, and that was...
WALLACE: I have got a copy right here of Jerry Hauer's directive to you. And there were meetings in which Jerry Hauer said that it's a bad idea. And the police chief, Howard Safir, said it was a bad idea.
GIULIANI: Jerry Hauer recommended that as the prime site and the site that would make the most sense, and he recommended it because...
WALLACE: Then why did he say the building — he said it's not — the place in Brooklyn is not as visible a target as buildings in Lower Manhattan.
GIULIANI: He recommended that site as the site that would be the best site. It was largely on his recommendation that that site was selected.
And the reason that that site made sense was it was also the location of the customs service, the Secret Service and a number of the federal agencies, some of which I'm not even sure I can mention at this date, that we had to be in contact with.
And we also had backup centers at the police department. In Brooklyn, we had another backup center, and we had a virtual command center. So when that command center was inoperable, within a half hour of September 11 we were able to move — or within a half hour on September 11 we were able to move immediately to another command center.
So the way you're interpreting it, it was as if that was the one fixed command center. It was not. There were backup command centers, and it was a virtual command center, and it was selected because that's where all the federal agencies were that we would have to be in contact with, including some that would give you the intelligence that you needed during an attack.
WALLACE: Finally, I'm not crazy about discussing personal lives, because we each have one.
But last Sunday, Richard Land, who represents the Southern Baptist Convention, was on our show. And he said the following.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD LAND, SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION: I would not vote for Rudy Giuliani. If he were running against Hillary Clinton, I would not vote in that race. If a man will lie to his wife, and if a man will be dishonest to his wife, he'll be dishonest with anybody.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: How do you respond?
GIULIANI: The way I respond is people have a right to vote however they're going to vote. I would suggest that maybe you sort of take a look at the teaching from the Gospel about he without sin not case the first stone.
And the reality is that we're all imperfect. We're all striving as best we can to improve ourselves and to be better.
I've made mistakes in my life. I've prayed about them. I've asked for help about them. I try very, very hard to improve myself.
And I think in my case, you can judge me on my public record. I've had a long one. I've had an intense one. I've been under enormous pressure, took over a city that was the crime capital of America, had to handle the city at the very end, when it was part of the worst attack on America.
I think that the issue about people's personal lives has to do with how they can they handle the mistakes they're going to make in their personal lives, because you make them, I make them, everybody else does.
How does it affect their job performance? And I think in my case, I'm willing to rest on my job performance, have people go evaluate that and determine how does it affect me.
And I think what they'll find is that I can perform under pressure and that I can perform irrespective of the fact that I do make mistakes in my personal life. I hope I've learned from them. I really believe I have.
But look. Nobody's perfect, and maybe it's a good thing that people of America face the fact that all of us have personal lives in which we're struggling to be as good as we can be, and none of us are going to be perfect.
WALLACE: Mr. Mayor, thank you so much for talking with us.
GIULIANI: Thank you. Thank you.
THIS SUNDAY: Chris will sit down for an exclusive interview with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).