OTR Interviews

Giuliani: 'RNC Exceeded All Expectations'

This is a partial transcript from "On the Record," Sept. 1, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.

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GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST, "ON THE RECORD": Live from Madison Square Garden for the last night of the Republican national convention. And joining us here is former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani. Mayor, you're the big hit in the audience here coming up to the set.


convention. I mean, I think it's exceeded all expectations. There was some nervousness about a

convention in New York, and I think it turned out to be the perfect place at the perfect time.

And President Bush's speech tonight was a combination of a State of the Union speech and an acceptance speech. It had both. It has a lot of stuff policies, domestic policy, but also a great deal of inspiration.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, the domestic policy is quite interesting because the one thing I

wondered is that it was a very comprehensive program that he set forth, but I thought in the back of my mind, the Republicans have had the House, the Senate, the White House. Why didn't they do this in the last four years?

GIULIANI: Well, some of it's been done. A lot of the health care has been done. A lot of the tax

reform has been done. Now it's a matter of making it permanent.

He had to fight all the Democrats, virtually -- not all, I mean, a good many of the Democrats in the House and in the Senate in order get his tax cut through. Now he's got to make them permanent.

So a lot of it has been done, and a lot of it remains to be done. I mean, it's true in every presidency. It was true in the Clinton presidency. You had part of the agenda achieved in the first four years, the rest of it in the second.

True of the Reagan presidency -- I worked with President Reagan -- part in the first four, then the rest in the second.

And that's really what President Bush is asking for, to have another four years to complete the agenda and expand it.

VAN SUSTEREN: How do you look at the economy? I mean, how should we measure whether

it really isn't moving forward? A lot of people say it's jobs. Some people look at other indicators. What -- what's your ...

GIULIANI: Oh, it's growing. I mean, first thing -- first thing you got to look at, Is it growing? Is

it going -- and it's growing 4, 5 percent. And that's pretty healthy growth, compared to other countries.

VAN SUSTEREN: But growth in terms of what?

GIULIANI: Growth in terms of our gross national product, growth of jobs.

See, the question is, Is it enough jobs? Not whether we're growing jobs. A couple of years ago, we were worrying about growing jobs. Now we're growing jobs, and the question is, Is it enough?

So, I mean, that's actually a big improvement, and I think the tax cuts have created that. And we've gone through terrible attacks, corporate scandals and economic downturn anyway, so I think that it's pretty remarkable that our economy is growing and we are adding jobs right now.

VAN SUSTEREN: How do you look, though, at the economy, in terms of the long term? And by

long term, I mean the next four, five, six years. We have a huge deficit right now. We have a tax cut. And the economy is improving, but nonetheless, we've got this big deficit -- partly because we're at war.

GIULIANI: Right. I became mayor of New York City, we had a $2.5 billion deficit. And then

we turned it into $3 billion surpluses.

And we did it through reducing crime, because that's a city problem. But we also did it lowering taxes because it stimulated the economy and it created a New York that had a stronger economy than ever before.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, let me talk to you about -- he talked about lawyers. You and I are

both lawyers, so I've got to ask you this one. He suggested we have some tort reform. This one I don't get, is the people who are in favor of tort reform say -- many of the strong conservatives say, Boy, juries are smart when they vote on the death penalty. They really -- they can make the right decision for us.


VAN SUSTEREN: But when it comes to compensating victims with insurance money, they

suddenly go stupid! And we need to put limits on.

GIULIANI: First of all, isn't it amazing, to you, Greta, how emotional it is?

VAN SUSTEREN: It is! That got the biggest roar. That's the biggest roar.

GIULIANI: I was with the president last week, and he talked about this in New Mexico, three

audiences in New Mexico. People went wild. It was one of the...

VAN SUSTEREN: They hate us. They hate lawyers anyway.

GIULIANI: It was one of the biggest applause lines in his speech. It almost matched Iraq. I

think people are worried about their doctors. I think they hear from their doctors that medicine is very difficult to practice nowadays, the cost of malpractice insurance.

My own -- one of my doctors retired early because he couldn't pay malpractice insurance any longer.

VAN SUSTEREN: But that's saying that -- that's saying that juries are stupid people. You're

dumb when it comes to compensating victims...

GIULIANI: No, no. I don't think they're saying that.

VAN SUSTEREN: ... but boy, you're smart on these other things.

GIULIANI: I think it's saying the whole system isn't working. It's driving people out of practicing medicine. It's creating -- one of my doctors worried 10 years ago when this first started about a

brain drain in medicine, that the smartest kids weren't going to go into medicine, they were going to go into something else, because of all the burdens of practicing medicine.

That's a real issue. I think people face it, they see it, and they see the practice of medicine becoming a bureaucracy, rather than what it used to be. So they want reform. Isn't just tort reform, they want reform of the whole health care system.

VAN SUSTEREN: Weapons of mass destruction -- we've been talking about it for a couple years.

The president is going to hit the campaign trail. It's got to be an issue. He got terrible intelligence, faulty intelligence.

In fact, a lot of people thought that, indeed, Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. He

invoked the name of Harry Truman tonight, "The buck stops here." How does -- how does he answer that...

GIULIANI: Well, I think the president has said that. Intelligence has to be improved. He's trying

to improve it. They've made big changes in the CIA. But the really issue is, Was it correct to remove Saddam Hussein, irrespective of weapons of mass destruction.

VAN SUSTEREN: But that's why -- but that's...

GIULIANI: And the answer to that is ... I mean, this is -- if we're talking like lawyers, it sounds to me sometimes like some of these people who are complaining about it would like to have Saddam Hussein back in power. Of course, they don't want him back in power.

VAN SUSTEREN: Nobody wants him back. Nobody wants him back.

GIULIANI: So then the president made the right decision. The president made the right decision

in removing him. He had 10 reasons for making that decision. Maybe one of them was wrong. Maybe two of them were wrong.

VAN SUSTEREN: But isn't that...

GIULIANI: But eight of them were right.

VAN SUSTEREN: But isn't that the one that everyone sort of agreed we'd go for? Bad


GIULIANI: Maybe it's because it's the one that up until now hasn't turned out to be right. The

other eight are correct. He did kill his own people. He did take away rights of the people. He did assist terrorists. He did have Abu Nidal living there. He had mass graves. He did use weapons of mass destruction in the past.

VAN SUSTEREN: In 1988, I agree. I totally agree with you there. All right...

GIULIANI: So the other eight reasons were right. Two so far haven't proven to be correct.

Sounds like a pretty good decision to me.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, I think everyone would agree you brought down the house with

your speech. How much work went into this thing? I mean, it looked like a tremendous amount of work.

GIULIANI: It was a lot of work. I wrote it about three weeks ago, rewrote it, went over it with

some of my advisers and people. And it just worked. You know...

VAN SUSTEREN: Did you practice in front of a mirror?

GIULIANI: No, I practiced it downstairs. There were a couple of rooms down here where all the

speakers were allowed to practice. I practiced it there and went over it three or four times. And you never know until you go out there. It's like giving a summation before a jury, which you know really well. Sometimes they work.

VAN SUSTEREN: This one worked.

GIULIANI: Sometimes you get in front of a jury and no matter what you say, they're looking

back at you and you know it's not working. This one worked.

VAN SUSTEREN: And we're giving it...

GIULIANI: Thank God.

VAN SUSTEREN: I guess you got the sense it was working from the reaction.

GIULIANI: Yes, right at the beginning.


GIULIANI: You got -- you got to -- I got it right at the beginning. You know, and then -- then

when you start to use humor, you're never sure that's going to work. And then when that starts working, then you realize, well, the audience and you are together. You know, you're moving in the same direction.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. So now we're all thinking -- everyone's been gossiping. Giuliani in

2008. I mean, that's the big gossip.

GIULIANI: There's a lot of gossip.

VAN SUSTEREN: There's a lot of gossip.

GIULIANI: I'm concentrating on -- New York is filled with gossip. I'm concentrating on 2004,

getting the president and vice president reelected, helping with Senate and congressional races. And I'll worry about my political career after that.

And I can't tell you how happy I am about this convention being so successful in New York. I've

been trying to get a convention, Republican convention here for 10 years. We came one vote close to getting it in 2000. Now we got it.

It's been a great success. Whether you're a Republican or a Democrat, however you look at it, you'd have to say it's a great success. And the balloons came down on time!

VAN SUSTEREN: On time, without any swearing.


VAN SUSTEREN: Without any swearing. That was -- that was a big plus. Mayor, nice to see

you. I love to watch you...

GIULIANI: Nice to see you.

VAN SUSTEREN: ... get mobbed when you walk through crowds. Everybody mobbed you.

Nice to see you, Mayor. Thank you very much for joining us.

GIULIANI: Thank you. Thank you, Greta.

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