Giuliani Won't Seek Third Term

There will be no Mayor Giuliani: Part Three.

Rudolph Giuliani, the suddenly world-renowned mayor of New York City, ruled out a third term Wednesday when he turned down a Conservative Party nod that he said supporters were "begging" him to accept.

Instead, he repeated his offer to remain in office for an additional three months, until April 1, 2002, in which he would nurse the wounded city back to health. He made the offer less strenuously than he has before, however.

"I'm not going to be on the ballot," Giuliani said. "I'm available to do the transition I offered to do. If people support it, fine."

He said he phoned Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long to decline the offer because it was not the right thing for the city after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that leveled the World Trade Center and killed an estimated 6,000 people.

"I told him I thought it would not be a good idea," Giuliani said. "It would lead to division and litigation and the city does not need division and litigation at this time."

Even though Long had offered Giuliani his party's line on the November ballot, Giuliani is barred by the city's term limits law from serving another term, and his candidacy might have been struck down in court.

Long said Conservatives would go ahead with running Manhattan lawyer Terrence Gray as their candidate for mayor. Gray had volunteered to give up the position if Giuliani would run.

And Giuliani's transition-period plan faces an increasingly steep uphill battle as well.

Last week, Giuliani asked the three major-party mayoral candidates to delay the start of their terms, whoever is elected on Nov. 6, to provide for a "seamless" transition of power. Democratic city Public Advocate Mark Green and Republican media mogul Michael Bloomberg agreed.

But Democratic Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer, who is in an Oct. 11 runoff with Green for the Democratic nomination, declined. And state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Democrat, made it clear he wasn't happy with the idea of three more months of Giuliani.

Giuliani said anyone who jumped right into his shoes in the midst of the disaster had no idea what he was getting himself into.

"I think anybody who thinks they're ready for this job on Jan. 1, given the monumental tasks that are ahead, doesn't understand this job very well," he said Wednesday. "If I were in the position of any of these four candidates, I would ask for an extension. I'll do anything I can to make sure the city can come out of this crisis. It isn't about me and it isn't about any of these four candidates."

Giuliani's approval ratings have soared as he sought to calm the city and bring some order to the chaos. That led to talk that Giuliani should somehow continue in office, a notion that he eventually embraced.

A Quinnipiac College poll released Wednesday showed that three quarters of the voters surveyed said he had done a good job speaking to the nations about the attacks since Sept. 11.