This is a partial transcript from "Hannity's America," May 20, 2007, that has been edited for clarity.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Tonight a "Hannity's America" exclusive interview with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
One of the big winners in South Carolina was former Mayor Rudy Giuliani. And I spoke exclusively with the mayor about what happened at the debate and some of his opinions on very key and important issues:
HANNITY: So, I'm at the debate. — What became the big sound bite of the debate is you taking on Ron Paul.
RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: Well, over the statement that really shocked me. I never thought I'd hear something like that at a Republican debate. I actually didn't expect it at a Democratic debate. It was sort of the kind of thing that I remember like the Saudi prince saying, you know, the one who gave us $10 million, said American foreign policy had something to do with it, that had to be changed.
And the one that really struck was that this had to do with our bombing Iraq in the period before they attacked us. And of course, this was the whole debate that's been going on — were Iraq and Al Qaeda tied with each other?
I mean, it seemed like it was so off the wall. And there are so many of these conspiracy theories about September 11, to hear one coming from a Republican was very, very disappointing. So I thought I just had to step in, nobody else seemed to be doing it. And I seemed to — I had to step in, somebody had to correct this.
HANNITY: It is hurtful to the families, though. You hear all of these 9/11 conspiracies. John Kerry even sort of regurgitated one of them recently. This — the families of...
GIULIANI: You just think of all of this stuff that has gone on about, was there a connection between Al Qaeda and Iraq? Now we have this fellow saying that because we were bombing Iraq occasionally because of the problems with Saddam, that that — Al Qaeda all of a sudden came here and attacked us for that reason. Now that makes no sense. And maybe it is just to say something for the purpose of saying something.
This is too important a subject. And one of the points that I am trying to make in this campaign for president is, we need a clear-headed, realistic president. We don't have time any more for confusion in our thinking like we had in the '90s, you know, where we didn't see this threat.
We have got to see it. We have got to see it clearly. I thought the Republicans — the two Republican debates — were much stronger here than the Democrats. Democrats never ever mentioned the words, "radical Islamic terrorism." They couldn't even get it out of their mouths.
HANNITY: There is an effort now, they don't want to use the word "global war on terrorism" anymore. That's now out of bounds.
GIULIANI: Well, it's a party where political correctness has been put above I think clear thinking. You know, they all know there's such a thing as political — they know there's such a thing as Islamic terrorism. But they are so worried about saying the words that I am afraid there's a lack of clarity of vision here.
HANNITY: You had every one of the Democratic presidential candidates attacking you after a speech you gave I believe it was in New Hampshire when you pointed out, hey, we are going to be less safe, we are going back to playing defense, they don't support the Patriot Act, surveillance, interrogations, how dangerous will it be if a Democrat gets elected?
GIULIANI: Well, and I said it at the particular point in which they were passing this extraordinary resolution about requiring us to give the enemy a timetable of our retreat. In the history war, I have never heard of such a thing.
So, it seems to me having probably I think the deepest knowledge of Islamic terrorism, because of my involvement in studying it, investigating it going back to the 1970s, the worst thing you can do is show them weakness.
And you put yourself in graver danger if you show them weakness. And in each of these areas, the Democratic candidates more and more are trying to outdo each other in let's get out of Iraq faster, let's give them timetables of our retreat, let's cut back on this, let's cut back on that. That will...
And you know, this is what I believe. I am entitled to say what I believe. I shouldn't be running for this office if I'm not going to say what I believe. — I believe that puts us in greater danger.
HANNITY: We forget on 9/11 it was a one airplane, a second airplane, and third airplane and a fourth airplane. And while you are in the midst of that, you don't know what else may be going on at the same...
GIULIANI: No, I wasn't in the midst of it.
HANNITY: But you were in the midst of it.
GIULIANI: When I was being asked the hypothetical, I really wanted to say, you know, for me this is not a hypothetical. I have lived through this. I have lived under it through the worst of circumstances on September 11th. I lived through it more than once in my career as mayor and as the United States attorney.
In other words, major crises where you had to make decisions like that. And the reality is on September 11 we not only thought, we were told there were told that there were seven, eight airplanes that were unaccounted for.
I was expecting further attacks and at least half of our attention was, how do we secure the city? How do we stop people from coming in? How do we cover the major targets? How do we get there — get people there?
And you have got to be able to make these judgments quickly and you have got to make them in a cool, dispassionate way.
HANNITY: Welcome back to "Hannity's America." We continue now with presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani.
HANNITY: I thought one of the issues that went unnoticed in the debate this week, I guess because of the headline that came — your exchange with Ron Paul, but you did take on Hillary Clinton in this debate in a pretty strong, forceful way. Although it didn't get as much press as I thought it might at the time.
GIULIANI: Well, I mean, I was trying to make a point. The point I was trying to make is, we have got a lot at stake here. I mean, and I used Senator Clinton's remarks but it could have been any one of the others. I mean, they are basically in the same place with this idea of much bigger government, raising taxes, government solutions, socialized medicine.
I know they don't like it called that, but it is. And you have got to call something what it is. It is socialized medicine. It is have people covered by the government. It's more government solutions for things.
The comment that I used was one that she agreed with actually on C-SPAN. It was in a book. She agreed with it. It was that "the unfettered free market is one of the most destructive forces in modern America."
I can think of some pretty destructive forces in modern America. I don't think of the "unfettered free market" as being the most destructive force.
HANNITY: Let's go to the one issue that I guess probably everyone would say has been most troublesome for you in the campaign. It became an issue especially after the first debate that you were involved in. And it's the issue I've asked you now extensively about, about abortion.
GIULIANI: Right, right.
HANNITY: But, you know what? Maybe there are people that still want to...
HANNITY: ... get — so I want to run through the issues with you if I can, just real quick.
HANNITY: You're against partial-birth abortion.
GIULIANI: Yes, I agreed with the 2003 legislation. I read it, looked at it, I agree with it. I agree with Justice Kennedy's decision. It's — and I support it.
HANNITY: You're for parental notification.
GIULIANI: Yes, as long as there's an adequate remedy in court for unusual situations...
GIULIANI: ...that's the thing that concerned me. We have it. It's there. I'm for it.
HANNITY: Public funding of abortion?
GIULIANI: Public funding of abortion should be limited by the Hyde Amendment. I said that I support the Hyde Amendment. I would resist anybody trying to change it if I were the president. And I can't get any clearer on it than that.
HANNITY: You keep saying it almost everywhere now when you talk about it, you want to eliminate all abortions if you can and...
GIULIANI: I think it should be eliminated by free choice, by decisions. How do you get there? I personally oppose it. I believe there should be a right of choice. What that leads me to is, let's reduce abortions. We can all agree on that.
I mean, Democrats and Republicans, liberals, conservatives, people of all different kinds, I think the overwhelming majority of Americans want to see it reduced. I had some success with that when I was mayor. Abortions went down 16 to 18 percent. Adoptions went up in my eight years over the eight years before by 133 percent.
I would focus on that as the president. I would focus on what are the ways you can reduce abortions? If a woman is going to have a right of choice, which we should have, make it a real choice. Make it an informed choice. Make it a choice in which she understands that there are other options.
GIULIANI: Well, three of the four of them were colleagues of mine.
GIULIANI: All four of them I respect very much. If, during the period of time that they were appointed, if I were the president, I could just has easily picked any one of the four of them or all four of them.
And personally, my view at the time, expressed quietly, was I probably would have, if I were the president when President Bush was, I probably would have made Justice Scalia the chief and put Justice Roberts on the court and made him the chief later.
HANNITY: They are generally believed to be justices in the originalist thought that would maybe put aside Roe v. Wade and push the issue of abortion back to the states. You're comfortable with that, based on your position on abortion?
GIULIANI: Sure. I'm comfortable with that. I think that it can't be a litmus test. First of all, I don't think there should be any litmus test for judges. I'm a lawyer. I've practiced in court. I've argued in the Supreme Court, one time, not as often as my friend, Ted Olson, but I got to argue once in the Supreme Court. It was one of the highlights of my career.
I've argued in many of the appellate courts all throughout the country and different state courts. You can't have litmus tests. It's a false thing. I'll tell you why. A judge has to be open to listen to the facts of the case.
And some little thing could throw it off. You think you're going to decide one way and now you hear a fact and it's a really important one and it changes your decision-making.
What you need to know about a judge — and I would know how to do this from my experience of appointing lots of judges, hiring many, many lawyers, and watching the Reagan judges get appointed.
I was part of the committee that — I was dealing with the U.S. attorneys and the U.S. marshals, but I watched most of those appointments. You select people on general approach and general philosophy.
Do they seek the meaning of the Constitution or are they going to try to legislate it? Do they understand the difference between being an Article III judge and a legislator?
If you don't understand that difference, there's more at stake than just any one case. Our liberty is at stake. Our democracy is at stake. If judges start legislating, you and I have no control over that. We don't get to vote for them. We don't get to vote for them every two years...
HANNITY: Unaccountable. Unelected.
GIULIANI: ... every six years, every four years. So you need men and women who truly understand that if we want to protect our freedoms.
HANNITY: I do find it interesting in terms of the media coverage, Hillary Clinton, does she support partial-birth abortion? Is she against parental notification? Does she want publicly funded abortions? It seems that they don't ask — seem to want to ask those questions.
We watch Mitt Romney get asked questions about his personal sex life. His religion keeps coming up. We hear about John McCain's temper. We've also heard Hillary has a temper. Do you see the media coverage a little slanted in this campaign?
GIULIANI: Well, I can't imagine how they got away with not debating on FOX. I don't get it. I mean...
HANNITY: It's a great question, isn't it?
GIULIANI: We went — meaning my Republican colleagues and I, we went on MSNBC.
GIULIANI: I mean, I'm a pretty savvy guy. I follow things. I know how MSNBC has been covering the campaign. I can watch it. I can see.
GIULIANI: I knew we were not going into a situation where we're going to get all kinds of supportive questions. You don't expect that. We didn't get it on FOX. I think actually...
HANNITY: And a lot higher ratings on FOX, for the record.
GIULIANI: I honestly think we might have gotten tougher questions during the Fox interview, but they were substantive questions. During the MSNBC situation, we got some really good questions. But we also got some of the trick questions: Shia and Sunni.
You know, do I know the difference between Shia and Sunni? I felt like I was, you know, defending my doctoral thesis. It happens that I am a student of the history of religion.
GIULIANI: So I knew the answer to that.
HANNITY: Look, you did say about this, because you commented about the debates and how the Democrats are avoiding FOX. And what you said was: "The Democrats should debate on FOX. It would be a good chance for them to explain themselves. They should be willing to do it."
And you said: "I don't think they'd want us to look, you know, like a bolder group of candidates.
GIULIANI: I think we are! We're going to do a debate on CNN, all us Republicans in New Hampshire, I think at the beginning of next month.
GIULIANI: If you really believe in this free speech thing, it isn't just the free speech you agree with. It's the free speech you agree with and the free speech you don't agree with. And you've got answer these questions.
HANNITY: And welcome back to "Hannity's America." More now with presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani:
HANNITY: Let me move to the issue that has come up again this week, and that's the issue of immigration. And as somebody that hosts a radio show for three hours a day, and we've got our show on FOX and now our Sunday show, I can tell you it is a defining issue for conservatives in their desire. — They want these borders controlled and they don't want amnesty in any way, shape, matter or form. And the consensus that keeps emerging is sort of amnesty-lite. They won't call it amnesty, but the feeling among conservatives is it is amnesty.
GIULIANI: Here's what we have to get done, and this comes from my expertise in security, law enforcement most of my life. I know that better than politics. I know security better than politics.
We have to know who's in the United States. We have to have a database in which we know who is here — everybody who is here from a foreign country. We need to know it so we can prevent Fort Dixes. I know Fort Dix didn't quite happen that way. But the next one could happen that way.
And we need to have a tamper-proof ID card. So now your policy — you have to set that. You've got to be clear about this. That's what we have to — so now you have to have a policy that gets you there.
We need to know everybody who's in the United States from a foreign country. You need a fence. You need an electronic fence. You need a physical fence. You need a Border Patrol that is bigger and trained in being able to spot people and stop people.
You need to get people to come forward in the United States who are working here and have them sign up, get fingerprinted, photographed and start paying their fair share, start paying taxes.
HANNITY: Let me ask you, last question because it's the defining issue of our time, and that's Iraq. We just had, this past week, 29 Democrats want to de-fund this war we now know. We have — I've have tape. We've had it on this very program. Democrats made the same for weapons of mass destruction, the threat ofSaddam Hussein, the threat of nuclear capability of Saddam Hussein, and they've all changed their position here. We've heard Harry Reid's comments.
When you look at how this has all evolved and how toxic it is when America is now talking about Iraq, what do we need to do? And do you believe this is winnable for the United States, in Iraq, that we can finish it with the political environment as it is?
GIULIANI: Well, my concern is, in the overall terrorist war against us, that this will become a major victory for the terrorists, and it will be a sign of weakness for them. And the one thing that we have to keep in mind, and I know this from my long history of studying this and investigating, you cannot show them weakness.
That's when they take advantage of you. We got our worst attacks when we were being ambiguous about our response to terrorism. We haven't been attacked, at least not in that way, thank God — and we could be. With Fort Dix...
HANNITY: Yes, it could've happened.
GIULIANI: ... it was that close. It could have happened, yes. But we haven't been as we thought we would be on September 11th. Even George Tenet in his book points out that the intelligence demonstrated that we were going to get attacked again. We haven't been because we've been strong, because we've been on offense. This really threatens to put us back on defense.
We have to succeed in Iraq. That's the way we should look at it. What we should be doing is we shouldn't — Democrats and Republicans shouldn't be debating failure. America...
HANNITY: But Democrats want to de-fund — they're voting for de-funding. They're saying that the troops are losing. They want a timetable.
GIULIANI: It's a self-fulfilling prophecy, Sean. You start saying the troops are losing, it's a self-fulfilling prophecy when leaders start saying that. The minute — you know, the minute you start talking about defeat and setting timetables for retreats and timetables for defeat, then defeat happens.
What — I talk to a lot of the troops. What they would like, and what we should be doing is, we should be spending our time debating how to help them. And maybe the Democrats — here's what would be constructive Democratic criticism: You're not helping them enough.
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