GOP Presidential Candidate Rudy Giuliani Reacts to Pres. Bush’s Speech

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," September 13, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Hey, Mr. Mayor, thank you for joining us tonight on "Hannity & Colmes."

RUDOLPH GIULIANI (R), FMR NYC MAYOR, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Oh, thank you very much, Sean. How are you?

HANNITY: Oh, well, I'm good. Thank you very much. All right, let's start with your general impressions of the president's speech tonight.

GIULIANI: I thought the president's speech was a very good one. I think the concept of "return on success" is the right one. It's hard for me to see what part of that you disagree with, you know, the return part or the success part.

And the reality is that the president defined the mission in Iraq exactly the way Hillary Rodham Clinton did in 2003. The objective of America in Iraq is to provide stability and security. And then the ultimate objective is so that we can emerge from Iraq with an ally in the terrorists' war against us.

I thought the president placed it in the right context. It's a battle in a much bigger war, and the much bigger war is the terrorists' war against us. If we get it right, we put ourselves in a much stronger and safer position. If we get it wrong, we're in more danger.

HANNITY: Do you like the idea, do you support the idea of what the president suggested tonight, which is gradual troop reductions?

GIULIANI: Based on success.


GIULIANI: Of course. I mean, I think it's tied to assessments that we are continuing to be successful with providing safety and security and the Iraqis are continually becoming successful in being able to provide a government for themselves that's going to act as an ally for us against Islamic terrorism. I mean, that's the whole purpose of our being there.

The problem with the Democratic approach is it's withdrawal for the purpose of withdrawal. And once again, they're back to their idea of giving the enemy a timetable of our retreat, which would be very, very dangerous. And of course, they're back to their old tricks of impugning people's integrity. They put General Petraeus through a horrible, disgusting attack with, putting out that ad on the day that General Petraeus was going to testify, accusing him of being a traitor, calling him "General Betray Us."

Hillary Rodham Clinton following that up with the statement about how he is a — he's involved in some kind of a — I'm not even sure I understood the expression that she used. I think she was suggesting he wasn't telling the truth.

HANNITY: Well, I'm going to play that ad — that specific sound bite in just a second here. But I want to get one general impression about this because the president clearly tonight seemed to be reaching out to the Democrats in terms of offering, “Hey, this is what we all want here.” But right away, we heard Senator Reed come out and say that this is only more of the same. And we know Harry Reid is on record saying that after General Petraeus' testimony this week, that the president's plan is unacceptable. It seems like there's nothing that he could say to the Democrats that will get them on board.

GIULIANI: He may get some on board. I mean, I was really impressed with several Democrats who went to Iraq in the last month or two and came back saying that they were very surprised and it changed their position because there had been considerably more success with regard to safety and security that General Petraeus has had than anybody thought he could have and they thought it was worth further — worth investing more time and more support and trying to get it to even a greater level of success.

So maybe that's sort of the Democratic talking point response, but there may be some Democrats that the president wins over to kind of a national objective here. After all, you know, I remember when Congressman Clyburn said that if the surge is successful, it may be a problem for the Democrats. Well, there may be some Democrats thinking not as Democrats but sort of like in the overall picture here because if the surge is successful, it's not a problem for Democrats. It's actually a success for America, and we're all Americans.

HANNITY: Let's talk specifically. I want to play the Hillary piece. This is where she suggests that General Petraeus is basically a mouthpiece for the president, that the surge has failed, and then she used the line, "The willing suspension of disbelief.” Let's roll that tape.

GIULIANI: Yes, that's the line. Correct.


SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is a policy that you have been ordered to implement by the president, and you have been made the de facto spokesman for what many of us believe to be a failed policy. Despite what I view as your rather extraordinary efforts in your testimony both yesterday and today, I think that the reports that you provide to us really require the willing suspension of disbelief.


HANNITY: Is she calling the general a liar?

GIULIANI: Well, I think that's a Clintonian-ism, you know? I guess that's the way you speak — some people speak, people who talk directly to each other. I guess that'd be interpreted as he's not telling the truth. And it seems to me it's not coincidental.

It comes on the same day as the ad in The New York Times accusing General Petraeus of being a traitor, including the comment that, you know, General Petraeus, “General Betray Us.” This is a despicable attack. Hillary Clinton should disown and condemn, and she really has to explain her complicity in this.

I mean, that's a pretty despicable attack on an American general at a time of war. After all, this is a man, whatever you think of the success or lack of success, this is a man who's put his life at risk, you know, day in, day out, to try to keep his troops safe, to try to keep us successful. Right now, his life is at risk in trying to keep America safe. She has some nerve attacking his integrity.

HANNITY: You actually said these times call for statesmanship, not politicians spewing political venom.

GIULIANI: Yes, you know...

HANNITY: Now, we're going to — I have an ad...


HANNITY: Go ahead.

GIULIANI: You know, Sean, they always use this, we want to return civility to Washington and — well, if you're going to return civility to Washington, if a general in a time of war returns to Washington just to give his opinion, to have to be met with that ad in The Times and Hillary Clinton's venomous attack on him, I mean, what kind of civility is that?

HANNITY: Well, let me ask you this because you have challenged The New York Times because they had given a discounted rate to run this "Betray Us" ad. You've come up with an ad of your own and you want that ad to run in The New York Times.

What is the status of that? Will that ad — because, in the end, you also go on to say a decorated soldier's commitment to defending America or Hillary Clinton's commitment to defending — will they run that ad, and did you get that rate?

GIULIANI: Well, we got the rate, and they said they're going to consider running it tomorrow. If they're not going to run it tomorrow, they're going to return our money to us because, apparently, they give that rate if you take a group of days and not one particular day.

So we made the point to them that it seemed very suspicious to us that happened to have it on exactly the day that General Petraeus was testifying, and it seemed to us that we wanted it on the day after the president gave his speech.

So I'm hopeful that it'll be there tomorrow. It seems to me that we have a right for the same amount money, which is I think about $100,000 less than they usually charge for a full page. It seems to me if they can give over a page to attacking the integrity of an American general in a time of war, with vicious ad homonym attacks, they should give us an opportunity to respond on his behalf and to point out the political nature of these attacks.

HANNITY: All right, Mr. Mayor, thank you for being with us tonight. We appreciate your time.

GIULIANI: Thanks, Sean.

HANNITY: Thank you.

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