BEDFORD, N.H. – Republican presidential contender Rudy Giuliani on Tuesday offered a dozen proposals for reform on issues from energy to education, echoing standard political promises and providing few specifics.
The former New York City mayor vowed to cut taxes, impose accountability on Washington and lead the country to energy independence — basic tenets cited by Republican and Democratic candidates.
"We're going to lay out a mission of reform and change. We're going to lay out a mission of overcoming new challenges. We're going to lay out a mission of doing what other people think is impossible," Giuliani told about 150 people in a sweltering town hall. "I love that. I love doing what other people think is impossible."
Although he said priorities could shift within his 12 commitments, Giuliani said remaining on offense in the war on terror would be first on the list.
"This, whether we like it or not, is going to be our challenge for this generation," said the former mayor who was in charge on Sept. 11. "You face bullies and tyrants and terrorists with strength, not weakness."
Giuliani said such a step would require increasing the size and support of the military and improving foreign and domestic intelligence. He also said he would create a new organization in which military personnel would work with civilians on stabilization and reconstruction projects.
Giuliani promised to travel the country this summer to elaborate on his agenda. In offering few specifics, he said he wanted to start with a framework. Details will come later, he said, adding that he welcomes suggestions from the public.
"They're in the concept form," he said. "We don't expect people are going to absorb this — they shouldn't — but we have a long time to talk about it."
Giuliani also promised to end illegal immigration, restore fiscal discipline in Washington and give citizens more control over — and access to — health care. He also pledged to reform the legal system and ensure that communities are prepared for terrorist attacks and natural disasters.
Two promises involve giving consumers more control — over health care and education. Giuliani repeated his call for $15,000 tax exemptions that would allow people to buy their own health insurance, which he said would spur insurers to compete to develop higher quality, more affordable plans. He backed providing vouchers for education, a notion popular among some Republicans but one that has stirred controversy.
Giuliani stands out among Republican candidates for his support of abortion rights. He promised to "protect the quality of life" for children by increasing adoptions and decreasing abortions.
He took a swipe at Democrats, arguing that they are living in the past.
"A lot of what the Democrats are doing is like looking in the rearview mirror. They want to take the country back to where it was in the 1990s," he said.