Exclusive: Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani

This is a partial transcript from On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, March 6, 2002. Click here to order last night's entire transcript.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani joins us in an On the Record exclusive.

Mr. Mayor, welcome.


VAN SUSTEREN: OK, mayor, you seem to have the golden touch. You've got the novice Mayor Bloomberg. Then you've got the novice Bill Simon, just won big last night. Both them got the Giuliani nod. What is it about the Giuliani nod that gets you elected?

GIULIANI: I don't know! I think it's that I support very good candidates, in the case of Mike Bloomberg and Bill Simon. I did endorse them. I did do commercials for them, and I pushed very hard for them. But in both cases, these were really superb candidates, and I'm sure they had a lot more to do with their winning than my endorsement. I hope it helped a little.

VAN SUSTEREN: But Bill Simon was way behind. I don't think anyone expected 10 days ago that he'd be the candidate for the Republican Party for governor. I mean, you have to admit, at least everyone's talking about it in this country, that you had a tremendous impact. Do you disagree with that?

GIULIANI: I've known Bill, oh, for 17 years. I mean, I've known — for a very, very long time. I mean, Bill and I worked together in the United States attorney's office, so I knew what a terrific leader he was. I remember the organized crime cases that he handled and the work that he did as an assistant U.S. attorney.

So a lot of people, you know, didn't know who he was, so I had a chance when I went out there, through the commercials and other things, to explain how he's the perfect kind of person to lead California right now. This is a person with a very strong law enforcement background, very strong business background, a man of tremendous integrity.

So you know, when you do an endorsement, sometimes they work, sometimes they don't. But largely, it just gives the candidate a platform on which to run. And Bill was a superb candidate. He's going to be a great governor.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, it sounds like you're batting 1,000, endorsing candidates, and he seemed quite grateful. I want to play for the viewers a phone call earlier today, and I want your reaction how good it felt to receive it.


GIULIANI: Congratulations, Governor!

BILL SIMON (R), CALIFORNIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Hey, listen, I'll tell you something. I can't thank you enough.

GIULIANI: Oh, not...

SIMON: I mean, you know, nobody had a better friend than Rudy Giuliani. I have to tell you from the bottom of my heart, nobody has ever had someone like you that would come out and campaign, even early on, before even people knew who I was.

GIULIANI: Well, you did absolutely...

SIMON: You're a real friend, Rudy.

GIULIANI: You did an absolutely great job. You've made all your old friends very, very proud. Danny and I and all the people who served with you in the U.S. attorney's office are enormously proud of you.


VAN SUSTEREN: OK, Mayor, when are you going to endorse yourself and run for office again? You've now taken care of those two...


GIULIANI: ... if I do that. I'll probably have to get somebody else to endorse me, but...

VAN SUSTEREN: Are you going to run again for anything?

GIULIANI: I imagine. I just don't know yet. I mean, it's not a period of time in which I'm thinking about running for office. I'm in business. I've put together a consulting business with a lot of good friends of mine, including the former police commissioner and fire commissioner, and Danny Young, who we mentioned before, Mike Hess. So we're very, very excited about continuing to build our business.

I'm finishing up my book. And you know, I'll think about public office in the future. After September 11, I kind of maybe approach life differently. You can't plan everything. You just sort of see what happens, and you know, do the best you can. So I'm not trying to over-plan the future.

VAN SUSTEREN: If you look back at your history — I mean, let's face it, you've been a public servant for a long time. You were a United States attorney. You were in the Justice Department. I mean, it's out of the ordinary that you're now not working for the public.

GIULIANI: It's only been two months, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, I find it hard to — you know, I don't believe you that you're just — you know, that you're not thinking — is there some job that intrigues you?

GIULIANI: Not right now, no. Right now, you know, I had four years as the mayor to think about term limits and the fact that I couldn't run again, and I kind of looked forward to this period. It's a period in which I can spend some time in private life. I could relax just a little bit more — not too much more, but a little bit more — get some perspective. And then all the terrible tragedy of September 11 happened. And the last four months that I was in office was like four years.

So in a way, I can use this time to regroup. And I still remain involved in politics very heavily. You see it with Bill Simon. I'm a very strong supporter of President Bush, want to do everything I can to see that he is re-elected and help some candidates that I agree with.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, it's interesting. I mean, when you look at, you know, what's gone on since September 11th, I mean, it seems like a lot that's preceded it has now become irrelevant in our lives. But you had such an important job for the people of New York. And you've also been honored by the queen and now even Nancy Reagan. You're going to get an award from the Reagan family.

GIULIANI: Yeah, that means — I probably — I can't express to you how much that means to me to get a freedom medal from the Ronald Reagan Library and from Mrs. Reagan. I worked for Ronald Reagan for two years directly, and then for longer than that when I was U.S. attorney, but more indirectly. And he was a model for me of what I thought a leader should be, you know, someone who had a very strong philosophy, very strong belief, didn't govern by public opinion polls, governed by what he believed was right and was someone who was able to inspire and lift America.

And a couple of years ago, two years ago, I gave the annual lecture at the Reagan Library. And the point of that lecture was that I thought that the way Franklin Roosevelt defined the first half of our century as a president, Ronald Reagan defined the second half. So to receive recognition from the Reagan Library and from Mrs. Reagan, it just means a tremendous amount to me.

VAN SUSTEREN: Mayor, if you go back, you know, a number of years ago, when you were in law school, if you'd sort of mapped out what you thought you were going to be doing with your life — I mean, you have to admit it's been...

GIULIANI: You really want to know?

VAN SUSTEREN: Yeah. What did you think you were going to do?

GIULIANI: You want to know what I thought of it?


GIULIANI: I thought I would be in private law practice most of my life and that I would be in government just for a very, very short period of time and government service would be, you know — I'd do that for a couple of years, but then most of my life would be in private law practice.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why didn't you do the private law practice?

GIULIANI: I became a law clerk to a judge. I became an assistant U.S. attorney, and I think the expression is I was bitten by the bug. The whole idea of public service meant a great deal to me. It meant like — to me that I was, like, giving back more, maybe accomplishing more. I spent eight years at different times in private law practice, really loved it, but public service just excited me more. And now this is a good opportunity to spend some time in private life and kind of get maybe some perspective on everything.

VAN SUSTEREN: And you know, I believe you are going to get some more perspective on it, but I don't believe for a second that you won't be back in the public eye. I know you think that, but I don't believe it, anyway. Mayor, it's nice to see you. Thank you very much for joining us.

GIULIANI: Thank you. Good luck, Greta. Good to see you.

VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you.

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