Rudy Giuliani's Take on First Debate Between John McCain and Barack Obama

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," September 26, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Welcome to "Hannity & Colmes." We are coming to you live tonight. We are in the spin room at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, home of the Rebels and tonight's first presidential debate.

Up first tonight with reaction is former New York City mayor and presidential candidate, Rudy Giuliani.

Mr. Mayor, good to see you.


HANNITY: All right. Your — just your initial impressions, reactions.

GIULIANI: I thought John scored a very big victory here. One way to judge a debate is who's on offense, who's on defense. Eight times Senator Barack Obama began his answer by saying, "Senator McCain, you're right."

Video: Watch Sean and Alan's interview

HANNITY: We actually have — the McCain campaign came out with an ad already. You want to see the ad?

GIULIANI: And, you know, the reason — and how about five times Senator McCain had to say to him, "Well, you just don't understand."

And the reality is, in that area of foreign policy, he just doesn't understand. And I think this will reaffirm what people believe going into it. That John McCain is ready to be commander in chief, whether you're talking about Georgia, you're talking about Iraq, you're talking about Iran. And — and Senator Obama is not.

The most extraordinary thing I think that came out of this debate, I think, is when John McCain kind of pinned him into the following position.

Senator Obama's theory about Afghanistan is that we have to lose in Iraq in order to win in Afghanistan. And Senator McCain made it very clear that, if we lose in Iraq, winning Afghanistan can be very difficult. We've got to win in Iraq in order to win also in Afghanistan.

HANNITY: Here's my general view, my general impression. And tell me if you think I'm wrong here. And I watched the entire debate and it was clear to me that Senator Obama — he reminded me of a college students in, sort of like in a debate class.

GIULIANI: No question about it.

HANNITY: He had studied his lines.

GIULIANI: Absolutely.

HANNITY: He regurgitated his lines. But every job he's had, immediately after getting that job, he starts positioning for the next job. And what became very clear throughout the evening is that Senator McCain has real-life experience, and the only thing that Barack Obama had were the lines that were fed to him by his debate team.

GIULIANI: But I think Senator McCain was much more relaxed. He was the only one who introduced humor into the debate.


GIULIANI: And he seemed much more...

HANNITY: Presidential?

GIULIANI: Much more, in the sense of basically explaining the reasons for his positions, rather than — rather than slogans. And I thought — and I thought he kind of nailed him on negotiating without pre-conditions.

HANNITY: He said it.


COLMES: I thought that was the debate there (ph). The bottom line there...

GIULIANI: He's being duplicitous about that. He did say that.

HANNITY: He did say it.

GIULIANI: And he constantly said he didn't say it. Well, he said it. You have it on tape. You have it on tape twice. And it is a very dangerous position to take. And it is at the core of the way he looks at things.

COLMES: Mayor, the — it seems to me — I don't think many minds were changed tonight. You obviously, and Sean, you both support John McCain. You're a McCain supporter.

If you're a McCain supporter, did you see anything different to change your mind? If you're an Obama supporter, did you see anything different tonight to change your mind?

GIULIANI: I — if you want to go back to the economy, I thought John labeled him, quite correctly, the most liberal member of the Senate.

COLMES: But that's been debunked.

GIULIANI: It hasn't been debunked. He has the most liberal voting record.

COLMES: The National Journal said — the National Journal did that survey, and they cherry-picked...

GIULIANI: Well, I'll tell you what Barack Obama did to help that. Barack Obama, when asked, "What would you cut? What program would you cut?" Did not come up with a program to cut. Added three new programs, three new spending programs when he was being asked by Jim Lehrer what will you cut. Rather than saying, "I'll cut ethanol" or "I'll cut — I'll do an across-the-board cut with agencies," which he'd opposed, he added $250 billion in spending.

So he quite accurately labels himself a big spending liberal.

COLMES: This idea of calling him liberal, liberal, liberal. The Republicans have tried this in almost every presidential race. The National Journal cherry-picked certain — certain votes.

And John McCain they couldn't even rate, because he wasn't there for any of the votes in that particular survey.

GIULIANI: Wait a second. You guys are constantly doing right-wing, extreme right-wing, right-wing ideologue, neocon.

COLMES: Tell me where I'm wrong about that.

GIULIANI: Maybe you're wrong or right about a certain person. The simple fact is that he has a very liberal voting record, has had throughout. Even going back to the time he was in the Illinois legislature.

But the thing about tonight's debate is, in terms of the economy, where I think they both did very well — and I was proud of both of them — neither one of them demagogued on the economy. Neither one of them tried to take advantage of the crisis. I think John McCain laid out a conservative viewpoint, lower spending, be aggressive about it. And I think, quite honestly, Barack Obama laid out his viewpoint.

COLMES: And by the way, we showed...


COLMES: ... alone, too.

HANNITY: You know something? One of the things that became clear is, on Russia, on Iraq, on Iran, on the economy, these are two very different visions for the American people.

GIULIANI: Isn't it — isn't it because Barack Obama's never been to Georgia? Barack Obama's never been to Russia?

COLMES: Sarah Palin can say it, though, and it's OK on the other side.

GIULIANI: We're talking about president right now, Alan. We're talking about president of the United States. I think our ticket has the experience in the right order. We have the most experienced guy on top. They have someone with no experience. He demonstrated that tonight.

We have someone with less experience No. 2, but a very decisive person. They have somebody with a lot of experience, which I think she's going to demonstrate next week, is the wrong experience.

HANNITY: Mr. Mayor, good to see you. Thank you for being with us.

COLMES: Thank you, Mayor.

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