This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," September 17, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated
SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: I hit the campaign trail today for an exclusive interview with Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani and his wife, Judith Giuliani.
HANNITY: Mr. Mayor, good to see you. Judith, good to see you.
RUDY GIULIANI (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Good to see you, Sean.
JUDITH GIULIANI, WIFE OF RUDY: Good to see you, Sean.
HANNITY: All right. A lot of people don't know a lot about you. Why don't you tell us about yourself a little bit?
J. GIULIANI: Well, I have never been in politics before, Sean, so this is all completely new to me. And I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania. My parents were married 55 years this year. And I trained as a registered nurse in a town not too far away from the house I grew up in.
And I spent nearly a decade of my life working as a single mom. I struggled financially during that period of time. And I worked and went to New York University both at night and on the weekends. Sometimes I had to take my daughter with me when I couldn't afford a babysitter.
And eventually I landed a job at Bristol-Myers Squibb. So by the time I met Rudy, I was one of the top managers in the country. And so I'm an optimist; I know that, through hard work, everyone can prevail.
HANNITY: That's the American story, right? All right. I have got to ask you both this question, because this because a big issue in the campaign. You called the mayor...
You're at the National Rifle Association. You picked up the phone.
R. GIULIANI: Which I had done numerous times before, kind of fooled around about...
R. GIULIANI: ... put Judith on the phone, say hello. But now I've moved on.
HANNITY: That won't happen again?
R. GIULIANI: No, no. I've become technologically more proficient. I figured out how to put it on vibrate.
She helped me put it on vibrate. If anybody is offended by it, won't do it again. So...
HANNITY: Michelle Obama had an interesting quote. She said, "Whenever you're running a candidate, the family is running, too. We are feeling the bumps and bruises." She said, "We're making the sacrifices." Do you feel that's accurate?
J. GIULIANI: We, you know, again, Sean, I've never been a political person. So it's a great process to me. It's very interesting. It's a constant learning curve. And again, I'm able to put things in perspective. You know, Rudy and I lived through prostate cancer together. We lived through September 11th together. So that helps.
HANNITY: Those were harder challenges, so that makes it easier, the political barbs that are thrown your way?
J. GIULIANI: Exactly.
HANNITY: You — it was interesting, when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, which was pretty early in your relationship, I found it interesting, I read that you made a spreadsheet, as a nurse, for the mayor. Explain the spreadsheet. What were you trying to convey to him?
J. GIULIANI: I did. Well, as you probably know, there are a lot of different options with prostate cancer, and so the options can become extremely confusing. I often refer to them as the "ologies," oncology, hematology, immunology, serology.
And Rudy is a really smart guy. But these — these become a bit confusing at a point, and so we consulted with physicians in all of these areas of expertise. And I put together a Lotus spreadsheet to help us make the decision.
HANNITY: To help him to make the decision.
J. GIULIANI: Oh, sure, it was — it was something that really concerned me. And in some ways, I have the benefit of knowledge, but of just a little knowledge. So I did know that prostate cancer has a very high survival rate if it's diagnosed quickly. So that definitely helped to alleviate our fears a bit. But, you know, when someone uses the c-word with somebody that you love, there's — there's no emotion to describe how you feel.
HANNITY: And did that help you — and now you — this spreadsheet?
R. GIULIANI: It helped me immensely. The emotional support helped more than anything else.
HANNITY: 9/11, what was that day like for you and the days thereafter? The mayor has said that he leaned on you a lot.
J. GIULIANI: Well, September 11th was the most horrific day of my entire life. One of the things that many people don't realize, Sean, is that Rudy was trapped in the basement of 75 Barclay Street for some time that morning. So I — I could have lost Rudy on that day. And...
HANNITY: Did you know where he was then?
J. GIULIANI: I didn't at that time. No, I joined him later that morning at the temporary command center at the police academy. And we lost loved ones. We lost friends. And Rudy, of course, being Rudy, put me to work, and I was able to make some phone calls for him with different hospital contacts that I had.
And then he asked me, with the wonderful team that he has at the community assistance unit, to help with the family center. So I got to work with those heroic families for the next several months, and I will never forget the sacrifice that those families made for our country.
R. GIULIANI: She helped with the family center. She also helped with the Twin Towers charity. She was on the board of the Twin Towers charity. She is — she's done a lot of work in philanthropy.
HANNITY: That's $200 million you raised in this charity.
R. GIULIANI: Two-hundred-and-twenty-seven — it was $220 million. And every single penny went to the families. The administrative costs were raised separately, and we kept them very low, because she and others got a lot of donations. But every single penny went to the firefighters, police officers, rescue workers, families. So if you gave me $1,000, I could guarantee you that money is going into the hands of one of those families to put their child in college.
The administrative cost, the lawyers, the accountants, the people that have to do all of the administrative work, we would raise that separately. And it was all very, very small amounts. But, I mean, that was her idea to do it that way.
HANNITY: All right, the last time you guys gave an interview together — and you have not given many interviews, Judith — was to Barbara Walters. And the big headline coming out of that interview was that Judith — that, Mr. Mayor, you would be comfortable if Judith sat in cabinet meetings and that that was something that may happen. Where are we with the cabinet meetings?
J. GIULIANI: Sean, I have...
R. GIULIANI: You want to go first, or do you want me to go first?
J. GIULIANI: I'm not a political person, and I have no desire to sit in on cabinet meetings. And I promise you, I'm not going to morph into a politician.
HANNITY: Judith, have you thought about what life would be like next year, if he gets the nomination?
J. GIULIANI: Oh it wouldn't be any different than what I do now, which is really just support Rudy, and travel with him, and help him whenever he needs me to.
HANNITY: And — but you don't allow yourself to think, "OK, we're going to be in the toughest, biggest political battle that I could ever be involved in"?
J. GIULIANI: Well, again, it's — you know — I'm taking it day by day.
HANNITY: He's got a good chance to be the next president of the United States. Do you think — that would mean you're the first lady. Have you ever given any thought at all to that possibility of what life would be like for you?
J. GIULIANI: Well, if we're fortunate enough to have Rudy serve the American people, Sean, I would, again, continue to take care of him and to support him in any of the endeavors that he needs my supporting.
HANNITY: Do you think about it ever?
R. GIULIANI: Sure, I do.
HANNITY: You think about what life is going to be like?
R. GIULIANI: Well, sure I do. Sure, I mean, you're running for — you run with the desire to win and with the belief that you can. It would be real hard to do this if you didn't have a strong inner sense that you can do this and that you feel comfortable doing it.
Being president of the United States is an awesome responsibility. It's beyond any — any of us. I mean, everyone is just a mere mortal. But I feel that I've been tested in ways — I don't know that they're different than the other candidates, maybe more unusual than the other candidates. I've — compared to the field, I've had the most executive experience. I've had the most experience in crisis and pressure, in terms of being an executive.
HANNITY: Would you take on a role, for example, Michelle Obama said about Hillary, if you can't run your own house, you certainly can't run the White House. At any point could you see her role evolving, that you would want to get involved in that type of role?
J. GIULIANI: Again, Sean, I'm not political, and so no. I know that I would never do that sort of thing.
HANNITY: Let me move on to a couple of issues, if I can.
R. GIULIANI: Sure, please.
HANNITY: One of the issues, we had some conservative religious leaders, they met in Salt Lake City. And Dr. James Dobson from Focus on the Family wrote an op-ed in the New York Times. Let me read you the paragraph.
He said, "After two hours of deliberation, there were about 40 to 50 pro-family leaders. We voted on a resolution that can be summarized as follows: If neither of the two major political parties nominates an individual who pledges himself or herself to the sanctity of human life, we will join others in voting for a minor party candidate. Those agreeing with the proposition were invited to stand. The result was almost unanimous."
R. GIULIANI: Well, I mean, you know everybody has a right to their position. And people who are religious, the religious right, social conservatives, everyone else has a very important part in this process, and they have a right to their opinion.
I would urge on them, however, is take a look at the whole candidate. Take a look at the whole package. Single issue voting is — look, people can do it. I mean — and if this is so important to them, and it's just one issue, and they feel that's it, that's one way to look at it.
If I'm elected, as opposed to Hillary Clinton or any one of the Democrats, you're going to have an absolutely different court system. I mean, I will appoint strict constructionist judges. If a Democrat gets elected, it will go far-left. If I get elected, it will be a strict constructionist.
HANNITY: Hold on. I want to follow up on this. The court, I believe, is where the issue of abortion is ultimately going to be decided. So what you're saying here is that you'd appoint an originalist justice like Scalia, Thomas, Roberts or Alito.
R. GIULIANI: Correct. And not, not, not...
HANNITY: With a litmus test? Without a litmus test?
R. GIULIANI: But the litmus test would be they have to be a strict constructionist.
HANNITY: But wouldn't a strict constructionist view Roe v. Wade as bad law?
R. GIULIANI: It's up to the strict constructionists, and it's up to the way in which they interpret the Constitution.
HANNITY: You're going to be speaking, Dr. Dobson is going to be there. The head of the Family Research Council is going to be there. You're speaking at this big event on Saturday.
R. GIULIANI: Right.
HANNITY: It's probably going to make a lot of press. What will you say to them, because it's the abortion issue and the definition of marriage?
R. GIULIANI: I will talk to them about that, and I will tell them my position on that to try to show them that, although there are differences on the abortion issue, not really on marriage, we agree 100 percent, that marriage should be between a man and a woman. Anything else should just be contractual. I stood up for that years ago when it was first a question; I've always been consistent on that, and I will continue to be.
What I'll do on abortion, I'll try to tell them we want to get to the same place. I mean, I — I'd like to see abortions ended, except I believe you have to retain this individual liberty that the kins — that in the kind of society we have, you have to protect that, but I want to see abortions reduced. I'd like to see them reduced significantly.
I'd prefer a society in which women made the decision not to have an abortion. I would increase adoptions, as I have done. I've actually gotten results in which adoptions went way up and abortions went down.
HANNITY: How far did they go down when you were mayor?
R. GIULIANI: Abortion went down about 16 percent to 18 percent, and adoption went up 135 percent over the eight years before I was the mayor, which was a dramatic turnaround.
I think I'm the only candidate who's had really dramatic results in that area. I reduced pornography in New York City, got a landmark decision through the courts, enforced it, cut it down dramatically. So just go to Times Square.
HANNITY: I remember.
R. GIULIANI: These are — there are — family issues are pretty broad, and there's not just one. There are many.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: Let me ask you this. Recently, Hillary Clinton came out with the first campaign ad in this election where images of 9/11 were used. That was her at not Ground Zero, but with a mask on after the collapse of the towers. And I thought about you, and I thought about how this had become a little bit of an issue in the campaign for some people. And I thought, do you think it was appropriate? Would you do it? And do you think there'd be a double standard if, in fact, you were the one who came out with the ad?
R. GIULIANI: Well, I remember when President Bush was attacked by the Democrats for doing this in 2004.
R. GIULIANI: You know, there were — even having the convention in New York, which is absurd, and I said, look, the president has every right to talk about September 11th. It is a part of our — it's not just a part of history, it's a part of our current. And, you know, you can disagree with the message, ultimately, but September 11 is part of our debate. We can't — we'd be putting our head in the sand if we took September 11 out of the debate.
HANNITY: A FOX poll came out recently. One-in-five Democrats think we'd be better off if the U.S. lost the war in Iraq. Hillary says, "I really think my unique" — "my experience uniquely equips me to be president at this time." Can you connect those two things...
R. GIULIANI: _ — I — I honestly and most respectfully, I don't know Hillary's experience. She's never run a city; she's never run a state; she's never run a business; she's never met a payroll; she's never been responsible for the safety and security of millions of people, much less even hundreds of people. So I'm trying to figure out where the experience is here.
It would seem to me that, in a time of difficult problems and war, we don't want on-the-job training, you know, for an executive. The reality is that these areas in which — maybe there are some areas in which she has experience, but the areas of having the responsibility of the safety and security of millions of people on your shoulders is not something Hillary has ever had any experience with.
HANNITY: Let's look at some of her social programs, $5,000 baby bond, 401(k) plan government match, nationalized health care. If you believe the Republicans' edition of this, using her estimates, it is already at nearly $800 billion in new spending. Your reaction?
R. GIULIANI: Well, this is — I mean, this is "put the country in reverse." This is going back to the Walter Mondale high taxes, which she's promising us, high taxes. It's going back to the McGovern giveaway program. McGovern wanted to send out $1,000 checks to everybody. Well, I'm having a hard time keeping up with her expenses. I'm keeping a scorecard now. I'm running out of space.
The baby bond one was classic Hillary Clinton, because I think it comes out of her core philosophy, you know, the core philosophy of the unfettered free market is the most destructive force in modern America, we've got to take things away from you for the common good. There are some decisions that are too important for people to make; government has to make them, like health care.
To send out $5,000 bonds without thinking of how much that's going to cost — $22 billion — and then not to realize even some of the damaging ways in which you start somebody off, with the idea that money's going to come down from Heaven, I mean, that's the last $5,000 anybody's going to see from the government.
You've got to — my whole — I mean, I turned around welfare in New York, and I didn't turn it around by giving away baby bonds. I turned it around by helping people to get jobs, to re-establish their work ethic, to give them a sense they have to take care of themselves.
HANNITY: Her latest position on Iran is she sort of joined John Edwards, and she would be willing to talk to Iran without preconditions.
R. GIULIANI: Yeah, but — and, you know, the amazing thing is, she never even answered the question in the last debate, when Tim Russert asked her. She said — "Do you agree with Rudy Giuliani's position?" Russert said, "Do you agree with Rudy Giuliani's position that we have to stop Iran from being a nuclear power, and that that should be a major commitment of American policy?"
She talked about diplomacy. She talked about how irresponsible that position of mine was. And she never said yes or no. Obama actually answered it and said, "Yes." The level of ambiguity here I think portrays someone who's not secure about some of these things.
We're going back and forth. I mean, how many positions have we had on Iraq? Six. We had her condemning Obama for saying that he would talk to Iran without preconditions, and now she's going to talk to Iran without preconditions. There's an ambiguity and a shifting of position here that indicates that there isn't like that firm ground that you need.
So when you have this instinct of, where you don't really know what to say about Iran, you don't really know if you should be for or against and how firm your position should be about their having nuclear weapons, that's a dangerous tendency, I think, in somebody that aspires to take on a position where you've got to be pretty darn decisive.
HANNITY: You were most angry when she used the words to General Petraeus "the willing suspension of disbelief."
R. GIULIANI: Yes.
HANNITY: You felt she was...
R. GIULIANI: Well, that...
HANNITY: ... she was calling him a liar.
R. GIULIANI: That was pure just real disappointment. First of all, it happened on September 11th. And MoveOn.org and Hillary, on the same day - - now, I don't know if they planned this together or it just is coincidental. Having been a former U.S. attorney, I'm not all that big on coincidences. But let's say it was.
But MoveOn.org attacks him as being "General Betray Us," accuses the man of treason, and she attacks him in these, you know, "willful suspension of disbelief," which is a sort of Clintonianism. Regular people who talk straight with each other would say that means you're calling him a liar.
I think she has some nerve, calling an American general, in command of our troops, putting his life at risk for this country, that Democrats have even said is doing a good job, I think she has some nerve attacking the man's character. You can attack positions; you just don't attack character.
Now, these people have been doing it in politics for a long time, and I think they've finally gotten caught, and they've finally gone too far. And I think the American people will be really disgusted by that.
HANNITY: Two last questions. Nancy Pelosi says that, if the president wants to attack Iran's nuclear facilities, he's got to get congressional approval. Do you agree with that?
R. GIULIANI: I think these are things they should talk about in the White House quietly rather than her challenging the president.
R. GIULIANI: These are enormously delicate decisions that have to get made in the best interests of the country, not in the best interests of the Republican or Democratic Party. It's like the Democratic congressman who said, if the surge works, it will hurt the Democratic Party. Well, excuse me, it doesn't matter if it hurts the Democratic Party or the Republican Party.
HANNITY: Let me ask you one last question. I'll start...
R. GIULIANI: It helps America, by the way.
HANNITY: I'll bring you back into this, Judith. The head of the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, terror group, said about your husband, "If I had the occasion to meet him, I would hurt him. For the sake of the American people, Giuliani shouldn't be elected. He is a disgusting guy. I think most Americans think very hard about their future," but basically threatened his life in this. This is beyond politics. This is now...
J. GIULIANI: I — I think what's important is to know that, you know, Rudy is, quite frankly, the most fearless man that I know. He lived through September 11th. He took on a mantle of leadership without a template. There was nobody that told him what to do that day. And I think, when it comes to any crisis, if I had to be in the hands of anyone, husband aside, it would be Rudy Giuliani.
HANNITY: Do you worry when you hear things like that, and you hear about personal threats, and worry about the position of somebody that wants to be president?
J. GIULIANI: Well, of course, when you love somebody, you think about these things. But again, you know, Sean, we've lived through so much at this point, and so I don't focus on these things. I'm able to put them all in perspective. And I'm a positive person.
HANNITY: Do you worry about it?
R. GIULIANI: Well, gosh, Sean, I've been dealing with this a long time. You know, the first year I was U.S. attorney — I just told this story. I was with Louis Freeh last week and we worked together in the U.S. attorney — when I was first U.S. attorney, the mafia — the Sicilian mafia, I think, offered an $800,000 contract to have me killed. The FBI caught them, settled it, et cetera.
Toward the end of all of the work I did as U.S. attorney, prosecuting hundreds of mafia members, all sorts of drug dealers, whatever, another organized criminal put out a contract on me. I had put him in jail for 100 years and he took it personally.
R. GIULIANI: He put out a contract on me for only $400,000. So I thought, this was kind of an insult, you know, going to the...
HANNITY: It was low ball.
R. GIULIANI: But the reality is, I've dealt with this all of my life. You put it somewhere. I've had to be responsible for the safety and security of my assistant U.S. attorneys, for the law enforcement people that work with me, then for 8 million New Yorkers, and then, who knows how many on September 11?
And you aren't — you do your job, and you pray to God, and you ask God for guidance, and whatever's going to happen to you happens to you. But while you're alive, you'd better be doing what you think are the right things to help people. And if you do that, it's all going to — it's all going to work out.
I mean, we're all here, and there's a plan, and we're all kind of working it out, and asking for guidance, and figuring it out. And if you've got to live with threats, you live with threats. You just put them somewhere. And you don't let them — but what you don't let them do is stop you from doing what you think is right.
When that starts to happen — and I would say this to some of my assistants — it starts getting you too nervous, then there are others things to do, other jobs you can do. The threats have to be put in the right place, and they can't interfere with the decision-making you're going to do.
And you better have had experience with that, because I know about the threats to a president of the United States. I worked for a president, and I was the U.S. attorney and investigated this. And you've got to just keep focused.
HANNITY: Mr. Mayor, thank you for being with us.
R. GIULIANI: Thank you.
HANNITY: Mrs. Giuliani, Judith, thank you.
J. GIULIANI: Thank you so much.
HANNITY: Thanks, guys, appreciate it.
J. GIULIANI: Thanks.
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