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Hannity

Rudy Giuliani on Pres. Bush New Iraq Plan

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," January 10, 2007, that has been edited for clarity.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Joining us now in the studio, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani's back with us. Good to see you, Mr. Mayor.

RUDY GIULIANI (R), FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: Sean, how are you?

HANNITY: Welcome back.

GIULIANI: Happy New Year.

HANNITY: Happy New Year. Good to see you. The president said tonight -- and I have no doubt this is going to be the highlight of the left-wing media -- is that, you know, our troops have fought bravely. They've done everything we've asked them to do. There are mistakes that have been made. The response responsibility rests with me. There have been -- is there any war that's run perfectly?

GIULIANI: No.

HANNITY: All of a sudden...

GIULIANI: I mean, you could have made those same comments at some point mid-way through the Civil War, the Second World War or the Battle of the Bulge, which was one of our great intelligence failures in the history of our country. You always have to make readjustments when you're at war, and we are at war. We're at war no matter what happens in Iraq. And whether Iraq turns out successfully, which we all should hope does turn out successfully, or it doesn't, we're still going to be at war because they're at war with us.

I think the president did the right thing tonight. And I think the important thing here -- the increase in troops -- critical and important, but the most important thing is the change in strategy. And the change in strategy is a change where what we're going to try to do is to police these areas much more effectively and to hold them much more effectively. In the past, what we were doing was, we would clean out these areas, then we would leave, and then the bad guys would come back.

It reminds me a little of the problem I faced in reducing crime in New York. New York City did that for many, many years. It would clean out neighborhoods. Once they were successful, they pulled the cops out and the bad guys would come back.

The new strategy will be a sufficient number of soldiers and troops, mostly Iraqi but also American, to hold areas. And I hope -- I mean, the thing I would add to it is, a lot of accountability. I think you need measures. You need statistics. You need to be able to determine whether or not you've brought the violence down. If it doesn't work, then you got to put more people in.

HANNITY: Yes. You know, and he said it's not open-ended. And he said that there's going to be a period of time. And this is time for Maliki and the Iraqis to step up. One of the things that was very intriguing, beyond the specifics of going into those neighborhoods and holding them, as you say...

GIULIANI: Right.

HANNITY: ... he also talked a lot about economically. If they showed the Iraqi people, through the oil share...

GIULIANI: The strategy is much more important than just the increase in troops. The strategy, meaning the holding of these neighborhoods, the cleaning out of them, and also the economic development that has to go on. And I really think -- and I hope and pray this happens. I hope we start seeing this. This is an American problem, an American issue. It isn't all about President Bush and it's not all about the Democrats in Congress. America has to succeed here. If we don't succeed in Iraq, we are going to face much more difficulties, tremendous problems. And we should all be hoping and praying and offering constructive advice to a successful conclusion in Iraq.

HANNITY: You're raising the politics surrounding the Iraq conflict.

GIULIANI: You can wish them away, but they're there. And it's unfortunate. This is something that concerns our national interest. Republicans and Democrats have plenty to fight about -- taxes, education, energy. I wish there'd be more really sincere bipartisan support surrounding something as important as this, as getting it right in Iraq, because if you don't, the terrorists win. The terrorists know what's at stake in Iraq. That's why they're putting so many resources in there. They've written and they've said that they have to defeat us in Iraq.

HANNITY: The president was very clear discussing the consequences and the impact, if, in fact, we were to lose there. But as I listened to even the lead-up to the president's speech tonight, how many Democrats -- they're now threatening to do everything they can do legislatively to cut off funding for the new troops.

GIULIANI: I'm really confused about it because I think it was only a month ago that many of these Democrats were talking about increasing the number of troops in Iraq...

HANNITY: By the way, I have a list.

GIULIANI: ... putting more boots on the ground.

HANNITY: Biden, Kerry, Pelosi, Reid all said the same thing.

GIULIANI: You sort of get the feeling...

KIRSTEN POWERS, GUEST CO-HOST: Mr. Mayor...

GIULIANI: You get the feeling that if he hadn't put in more troops, instead of attacking him this way, they would say, Well, he should have put more troops in. At least some of them would have. They have said that before.

HANNITY: Yes.

POWERS: So you were just talking about how much you wish you'd see there's more bipartisan support, it's an American problem. You've been out traveling the country, talking to a lot of people, and I'm sure have you seen the polls that a lot of Americans are very unhappy with the way the war's been going, and even when asked about this surge, very, very few support it. What is your sense from being out there talking with people? How are they going to receive this speech?

GIULIANI: Americans are uncomfortable with the way things have gone. I think most Americans --- you can't speak for all Americans. Americans -- you know, we're a democracy. We have vastly different views. -- But I think most Americans want to see a successful conclusion in Iraq, and their frustration is that it hasn't happened in the way that we thought it was going to happen, at least over the last year.

I think this strategy, which is a strategy that really comes out of a great deal of analysis and a great deal of thought, gives us a chance to accomplish that.

POWERS: Well, now...

GIULIANI: There are no guarantees.

POWERS: Right.

GIULIANI: There are never guarantees in war. But we should all be hoping and praying that this works.

POWERS: And, well, so many people were opposed to the surge. Do you think the president convinced them tonight that the surge is the right thing to do?

POWERS: I think the -- I don't agree that this was the most important speech of his presidency. I don't think the speech is as important as the results. I think we will know if this was the most important speech of his presidency five, six, seven, eight months from now. If this strategy works, then this was the most important speech of his presidency.

This is all about results, and that's why I think a tremendous amount of emphasis has to be put on analyzing accountability. There are nine sectors in Baghdad. Each one of those sectors has a commander. Each sector should be analyzed. Different commitments have to be made in these different sectors. We shouldn't find out the results of this six or eight months from now, we should be measuring this every week, every month and then readjusting strategy. The goal is stability in Iraq. Democracy can't flourish unless people are safe. You can't have democracy when people are being killed.

POWERS: Do you think this plan's going to achieve that?

GIULIANI: I hope and pray it is. I'm rooting for it to. And I think all Americans should. Our national interests are very much involved in getting it right in Iraq. We could spend a long time talking about the horrible things that would happen if we don't, including America being at much greater risk of terrorist attack, or at least American interests being at greater risk of attack, if the terrorists gain a stronghold in Iraq.

POWERS: Right. I mean, I didn't feel like the president really made that case that strongly tonight. I mean, you listened to the speech, just the importance of this. Do you think that that came through?

GIULIANI: I thought he did. I thought -- I thought he spent time in the speech, you know, emphasizing what would happen if this doesn't work...

POWERS: Right.

HANNITY: ... how if that government collapses into a civil war, you're looking at possibly a regional war, you're looking at Sunnis and Shias lining up on different sides, Saudi Arabia and Jordan being on one side, Iraq and -- Iran, rather, and Syria being on another side. We're looking at $200 a barrel for oil. I mean, just enormous problems.

And also, if did you a withdrawal or you announced a withdrawal, I think our troops would be in greater danger. I think when people who are involved in this kind of insurgency realize that you're withdrawing, they start to put on more pressure. They're trying to gain territory. They're trying to gain advantage. So I think by saying, We're here, we're staying here, we're increasing our forces and we're supporting the Iraqis in their effort to stabilize the city -- I think -- I think that is -- I think that's the only direction you can go.

HANNITY: Otherwise, it emboldens the enemy. By the way, want to make an announcement tonight?

GIULIANI: No.

(LAUGHTER)

GIULIANI: (INAUDIBLE) announcement tonight. I don't think tonight would be the right night to make any kind of announcement. And I really -- I mean, I lived in that period right after September 11, and I saw an America that came together and an America that was bipartisan, in which we realized how much is at risk for us in this War on Terror...

HANNITY: It is.

GIULIANI: ... which is a war that they started. And I just hope and pray we can kind of get above this and give the president and the troops a chance to make this work. If this works, George Bush doesn't win, America wins.

HANNITY: Yes. The world wins.

GIULIANI: Yes, the world wins, and we -- and we -- and the terrorists -- you know, the terrorists seem to understand this in a more unified way than we do.

HANNITY: Your analogy of you battling the crime and the drugs and the prostitution in New York -- you had a low approval rating, but you stood firm.

GIULIANI: Yes, and...

HANNITY: You think in the prism of history, that George Bush...

GIULIANI: And the key...

HANNITY: ... will be viewed favorably?

GIULIANI: And the key was to analyze these areas correctly, have the right number of police. If I had kept the police department at a lower level of policing, we never could have accomplished that. And if I didn't have a COMSTAT program to analyze what we were doing, we never would have been successful.

HANNITY: And you were proven successful. Let's hope the same...

GIULIANI: And we hope and pray that that's the case. All Americans, whether they agree or disagree, whatever their views, liberal or conservative, our future is at stake here in getting this right, and so are the lives our soldiers that are there.

HANNITY: Mr. Mayor, good to see you.

GIULIANI: Thank you.

HANNITY: Thank you for stopping by.

GIULIANI: Thank you very much.

HANNITY: Appreciate it.

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