WASHINGTON – Rudy Giuliani’s chief foreign policy adviser blasted the Bush administration for "incompetencies," accusing the White House of alienating allies, creating domestic and international ill will and failing on multiple fronts in the war on terror.
Charles Hill, the Yale University professor heading up the GOP frontrunner’s foreign policy team, pledged that a Giuliani administration would "get the job done," in an interview with FOX News last Friday.
"(Foreign policy) will begin to be operative and be successful and produce results. It will have no needless animosities, it will have none of the incompetencies that unfortunately, we have been seeing," Hill said.
Hill’s comments are the harshest criticism leveled at the current White House thus far from anyone connected to the Giuliani campaign, but campaign aides were quick to tell FOX News that Hill’s assessment represents his own opinion — not the candidate's.
They added that Giuliani greatly values Hill’s advice and counsel, and while the former New York City mayor plans to approach foreign policy in a way that will deviate from the current administration, Giuliani would refrain from using similar language.
When asked to state specific problems, Hill rattled off a list of world trouble spots and what he said are Bush policy failures.
"I'm referring to troubles we've had for three or four years in Iraq, alienation with allies, troubles in Afghanistan, lack of coordination, attentions that are needless, even within Washington," he said. "The results make it clear that we need somebody who can actually turn a situation around."
While Giuliani has offered subtle critiques regarding the lack of planning in the lead-up to the Iraq war and the necessity to step up the anti-terror effort in Afghanistan, he usually tempers his criticism, instead pointing to failures of the Clinton administration.
Giuliani says the United States places too much focus on Iraq and needs to look at the wider war on terror, dubbing it "the terrorists’ war against us," but maintains strong support for the troop surge and the current strategy in Iraq.
But despite the differences, Giuliani regularly defends the White House. He recently told New Hampshire crowds that the administration’s mistakes are often "exaggerated" and feels no need to "run against" the president.
"I don’t think we have to run away from President Bush. But we are not asking for a continuation of the Bush administration either," he said at an Oct. 28, event in Amherst, N.H. "I am not President Bush. I have a different set of ideas in many ways. I would govern in a different way. ... It’s not about continuing the Bush administration or reviving the Clinton administration. It is about the future of America."
In refraining from directly rebuking the White House during the primary race, Giuliani and the other GOP candidates almost entirely are steering clear of mentioning Bush’s name on the trail. Rather than pledging a continuation of the Bush legacy, Giuliani and the other candidates seeking the White House instead invoke the name of Ronald Reagan in lofty terms, at times making the 2008 Republican field sound more like they are running for the 1988 nomination.
Boosting for Giuliani, Hill said he is "very comprehensively and quite deeply informed" on foreign policy matters and is not "someone who needs a lot of advising."
Hill, a former aide to U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, leads a 60- to 70-person team of regional and issue experts who offer analysis and advice to the campaign, but Hill is the only member of the group with a direct line to Giuliani.
Hill described the current international system as broken and said Giuliani is the most qualified foreign policy candidate. "I don’t think anybody else in the presidential race has any conception of this in any solid sense but Rudy Giuliani does …and he is the guy to make it work," he said.
Hill also disputes the notion that the former mayor’s policy toward the world will be aggressive or particularly unilateral as some critics fear, despite Giuliani’s vow to keep the U.S. on "offense" against terrorists.
Describing his candidate's brand of foreign policy, Hill said: "It's not aggressive, it's pragmatic, and it's 'get the job done.' And that has to be done through working with people, being cooperative, being very inclusive, bringing in people of a wide variety of opinions and making them see the commonalities among them and getting them to work together, so it is very different from that," Hill said.