Giuliani Defends Record as Possible Kerik Indictment Looms

Republican Rudy Giuliani said Thursday he'd made a mistake in recommending his New York City police commissioner for a Cabinet job but asserted his good decisions far outweigh his bad.

As mayor, he said, he made hundreds of thousands of decisions. If voters in the presidential race consider that record, he said they can then "say to themselves that if he makes the same balance of right decisions and incorrect decisions as president, the country will be in pretty good shape."

Giuliani was asked at a news conference outside the Dubuque County Courthouse whether he still stands by Bernard Kerik, the former police commissioner who could be indicted this week. He sidestepped that question and said the issue has to be decided in the courts.

"A lot of public comment about it is inconsistent with it's getting resolved in the right way in the courts," he said as campaign aides prepared to usher him to his next stop.

In 2004, Giuliani endorsed his protege's nomination to head the Department of Homeland Security. Only days after President Bush introduced the nominee, Kerik announced he was withdrawing because of tax issues involving his former nanny.

A grand jury has been hearing evidence in Kerik's case on tax evasion and other charges for several months, and was expected to vote Thursday on whether to indict him.

Giuliani argues that the controversy shouldn't overshadow his own crime-fighting record.

On other subjects:

— When asked by an onlooker about Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton, he said: "She will cost you a couple of trillion dollars." He said, "It's as if it's her money, but it's actually your money that she's spending."

— On driver's licenses for illegal immigrants, a question Clinton stumbled on in a recent debate, Giuliani said he's asked Congress to consider passing a law to prevent states from giving out licenses in such circumstances. He said officials need to simplify identifications "and try to get it down to one form of identification for people who are here from foreign countries."

— When asked by an onlooker if the Republican Party was at a turning point because a candidate who favors abortion rights could get the nomination, he said, "I think every presidential primary is a turning point, meaning the people of the party get to define what they want that party to be about."