This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," January 25, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: On Tuesday, the voters go to the polls in Florida. We will finally find out if the Giuliani strategy worked. Joining us now, presidential candidate and former mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani. Mr. Mayor, welcome back to "Hannity and Colmes."
RUDY GIULIANI, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you, Alan.
COLMES: The latest Mason-Dixon poll has Romney 30, McCain 26, you at 18, Huck at 13. You were at 36, doubling everybody else, in mid-November. Rasmussen has Romney 27, McCain 23, you 20. Also you have lost your lead in New York state, narrowing in New Jersey. What's happening here?
GIULIANI: Well, we are campaigning and we are going to turn thing around in Florida. I'm absolutely sure of it. I just finished a speech here in Sarasota and I talked to them about the kind of candidate that we need coming out of Florida. It has to be someone who can handle both national security and economic security.
When I listen to Mitt and John criticizing each other, one is saying that the other one is short on national security. The other one is saying the other one is short on economic security. I believe I'm the candidate that has been tested and proven in both of those areas. And it seems to me the people of Florida understand that message.
COLMES: I'm sorry, why do you think the numbers have narrowed and reversed themselves from where they were?
GIULIANI: This is a very competitive race. I think the impact of the various primaries that took place in the early part of January — so we have to make up for some lost ground there, but I think we are doing that. I think we are very competitive and I think we are going to win this. We have a great organization here. And I think the message that this is an election in which we have got to campaign in all 50 states. We have to have a candidate who can contest in all 50 states. I think it's going to resonate in Florida.
COLMES: If you had to put a percentage on your chance of winning, would it be 100 percent? What would you say it is?
GIULIANI: I'm very confident that we're going to win.
COLMES: The New York Times, as you know, hometown newspaper, never a great fan of yours, admittedly, to begin with. I know you said you never governed by what The New York Times said or you wouldn't have been successful. Nevertheless, not only did they endorse John McCain, what they said about you — they called you a narrow, obsessively secretive, vindictive man. That's got to sting.
GIULIANI: Well, there were a lot of disputes with The New York Times and a lot of disputes over ideology and a lot of other things, so I didn't expect anything different than that. And I think that may actually help me with a lot of conservative and Republican voters.
COLMES: The International Association of Firefighters put out circulars saying that you made them use radios that you knew were faulty. Uniformed Firefighters Association, not exactly a Democratic group, also planning to work against you. Why would firefighters, who knew you and worked with you on 9/11, why are they not supporting you.
GIULIANI: I think the overwhelming number of firefighters support me. We've got tremendous firefighter support all over the country. There were union disputes, other disputes that went on New York City. You sort of carry that along with you along with the successes that you have. But we have tremendous support from firefighters and police officers all over the country, including here in Florida.
HANNITY: Mr. Mayor, I think if you got The New York Times endorsement, I would view that that you are really, really doing something radically wrong in your life. They've been at war with you every single step of the way when you were mayor of New York City. This shouldn't surprise anybody, right?
GIULIANI: Didn't surprise me at all. And the reality is there are some very basic differences about — even just as basic as taxes. The tax program that I put out, which would be the largest tax reduction in American history, is something The New York Times thinks is a very big mistake. I believe it's absolutely critical to stimulate our economy.
HANNITY: It's also been clear that the firefighters unions, not the rank and file, have been basically — one or two of the leaders have been in the Hillary camp for a long time and they have been putting out periodic attacks on you.
Let me ask you this; some will question, I guess, the strategy based on the success of Florida. If you win Florida, you are going to be viewed as a genius. Others will question if you don't do as well in Florida. Why did you choose this strategy — which was a little bit different?
GIULIANI: It seemed like the strategy that would work for us. My candidacy is unconventional candidacy in many ways when you look at my positions and where you have strength and weakness. And the reality is Florida looked like the best place for us to be able to play out our campaign, the things that are important to us. The tax cut we announced here in Florida; people in Florida are very interested in lower taxes. They understand what it means to stimulate an economy.
The National Catastrophic Fund is something that I have come to really learn and understand and that plays out here in Florida, and people not being able to get insurance for their homes and not being able to afford it. They really do need that kind of help.
So, the campaign here in Florida seemed to be the place that we could prove ourselves, might be the best way to describe it.
HANNITY: Regardless of the result on Tuesday, you are in through Super Tuesday?
GIULIANI: We are in to win this and we are going to win it. And I'm very, very confident of it. We are focusing right now on Florida. We have endless number of events left, and a lot of people undecided. This is going to go right down to the wire.
HANNITY: Your chief rival, I guess, in Florida right now — or one of the two, Senator McCain, has been battling it out with conservatives on a significant number of issues. Do you think he is conservative enough to get the base of the party to rally around him?
GIULIANI: I think I'm the best answer. I think — in the case of Senator McCain, Senator McCain points out that Mitt Romney has not had national security experience. In the case of Mitt Romney, he is pointing out that John McCain doesn't seem to have as much experience with the economy.
In both areas, I have a great deal of experience. I took an economy in New York that was in terrible shape, as you know, and turned it around. — That's the 17th largest economy in the world. So I have a lot of experience doing that. And I had to deal with safety and security of millions of people and have a great deal of experience than that. I just told this group of Republicans here in Sarasota that I'm really the candidate they are looking for. I combine both.
HANNITY: All right, early voting may play a big part in the vote the counting come Tuesday night. How important do you think that's going to be for you and would that benefit you?
GIULIANI: We think it will. We have been campaigning here all during that early voting period, trying to get people out to vote. We know there has been very heavy early voting. We think that will benefit us. And we think that was part of the reason we put so much focus on Florida.
HANNITY: Mr. Mayor, we will see you on Tuesday night. Good luck on Tuesday. Thank you, as always, for being with us. We appreciate it.
GIULIANI: Thank you, Sean. Thank you, Alan.
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