STRATHAM, N.H. – Republican Rudy Giuliani is trying to make up for lost time in New Hampshire by cutting to the chase with low-tax talk likely to resonate in a state whose lack of income tax speaks to the political leanings of its GOP primary voters.
The former New York mayor, wrapping up his second consecutive weekend in an early presidential primary state where he only recently decided to compete, said Sunday the leading Democratic contenders want to raise taxes by up to 30 percent, and their much-discussed hike in capital gains levies could send business investment overseas.
"If you tax too much in the United States, they go to Bermuda or Ireland or eastern Europe or India or China or someplace else," Giuliani told about 100 people attending at house party on the state's vote-rich Seacoast. "The businesses can go there with the jobs and the money can go there as part of the investment."
He sought to illustrate his point by asking for a show of hands.
"How many people come to New Hampshire for that reason? And how many people have left somewhere else for that reason to come to New Hampshire," he said as hands went up and applause broke out.
"If you raise taxes now, think of it this way, you lose jobs, because money is mobile," added Giuliani. "People can make decisions about their money. They don't have to put it some place where taxes are very high."
Giuliani singled out Democrats Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards.
"They're fighting over just how much they're going to raise your taxes, but they are fighting over raising your taxes, and all of them want to raise it to a very, very large extent, anywhere from 20 to 30 percent," Giuliani said. "I know they say they're just going to raise it on the rich, but you gotta look at how they define 'rich,' and what's going to happen with that. 'Rich' is going to turn out to be anybody paying taxes. You know that."
Obama spokesman Bill Burton said: "This is a blatantly false attack. As Rudy Giuliani knows, Barack Obama is the only candidate in this race to propose a tax cut for 95 percent of working Americans."
Edwards spokeswoman Kate Bedingfield said: "John Edwards will cut taxes for middle class families and fight to give more Americans a chance to do well, not just the wealthiest and most privileged few that George Bush and Rudy Giuliani are protecting."
A Clinton spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Giuliani's ramped-up schedule comes as he tries to catch former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who has led in state GOP polls.
His stops Sunday at a restaurant in Greenland, N.H., and the home of Bruce Scamman, son of former House Speaker Douglas Scamman, also coincided with the state's largest newspaper, The New Hampshire Union Leader, endorsing the candidacy of another GOP rival, Arizona Sen. John McCain.
"He fights against special-interest and pork-barrel spending, and high spending in general, which ticks off liberals and many in the GOP who have wallowed at the public trough," the newspaper wrote of McCain.
Giuliani smiled when asked about the endorsement, saying, "Everybody has a right to support who they want. God bless 'em."