Rudy Giuliani 'On the Record' on Biden's Obama 'Test' Comment, McCain Homestretch and More

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," October 20, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Are you counting? 15 days until election. And it is so close. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is on the campaign trail with Cindy McCain today. And now the mayor is going On the Record.

It's funny how these things happened on the road. We did not plan on it, but while we were on the road with Mrs. McCain, we ran into Mayor Giuliani. And what does he call himself? Why does he call himself an "honorary male on the campaign trail"?


RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY: Actually in the sixth grade at St. Helena school wants me to give her a shout-out. Hello, Ashley.

VAN SUSTEREN: I take it you're riding on this buggy behind us?

GIULIANI: I'm the sole male.

VAN SUSTEREN: Are you the honorary male today?

GIULIANI: I am. I am the honorary male.

VAN SUSTEREN: Mrs. McCain and a lot of governors' wives, a lot of women today.


VAN SUSTEREN: How did you qualify?

GIULIANI: Tom Ridge (ph) called me up and said he needed relief. So I came.

VAN SUSTEREN: It's fun for you, isn't it?

GIULIANI: Yes, it is. It's fun for me to campaign for John McCain because I admire him so much.

I believe that America has a great opportunity to elect a great man president of the United States. We don't always get a chance to elect a great man. I know that about John, so I feel a sense of relief when I'm able to explain that to people.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is it resonating? Are you hopeful for Election Day? I know publicly everyone says to the very last, but we see these poll numbers, and I don't know whether to believe them or not believe them, whether they can be turned around or not.

GIULIANI: I won elections that I was going to lose by six percent. I lost an election by two percent that I was going to lose by 12 percent.

You know, I don't believe these polls. But I don't believe -- I won't believe any polls. We could be ahead by 10 percent or behind by 10 percent, I wouldn't believe it.

Remember four years ago? Bush was behind by six percent on election night.

VAN SUSTEREN: I remember even during that time in the middle of the day everyone pretty much accepted the fact that president would be--Senator Kerry would be President Kerry, and that just didn't happen.

GIULIANI: And it was a six to eight percent margin. It wasn't like a little, teeny one.

So I'm not going to pay attention to the polls between now and Election Day. I'm going to pay attention to my own instincts. I know Pennsylvania pretty well. I spent a lot time here, a lot of good friends here. And I have a sense that Pennsylvania is a good state for John McCain.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you come across at this late date undecideds?

GIULIANI: Yes. I did yesterday at Gino's.

VAN SUSTEREN: What did the person say?

GIULIANI: We got here from Washington. The first thing I do is I go to Gino's to get a Philadelphia cheese stake. And I've been there a lot.

This guy comes up to me and says "I can't decide who to vote for." So I sat him down and we talked. And he left saying he would vote for John McCain.

And the thing that got him is distribution of wealth, the whole idea that this is a concept that is alien to Americans. This is not an American idea. The American idea is people get rewarded for success. They don't get penalized for success.

VAN SUSTEREN: Had he heard the redistribution wealth comment by Senator Obama before he spoke to you?

GIULIANI: No. He heard it in the Joe the Plumber situation. This has gotten a lot of attention and a lot of controversy, but it's driven this idea.

He had heard that, and he wanted to know from me what did I think that meant. And I said what I think it means--he's going to take money from some and give it to others, big-time.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, the reason I asked you whether or not he heard it much beforehand is because Senator Obama has much more money going into this last stretch, a lot more cash on hand, so he will be able to get his message out more.

Does that create--I don't want to say "insurmountable barrier," because I know that you think that this is not insurmountable--but how much of a problem is the money?

GIULIANI: Honestly, I don't think the paid media disparity is what worries me. I think that John McCain has enough money, and he can only do so much, and you can inundate.

What troubles me more is what we call the "free meeting," like the article in "The Times" on Saturday, things like that. Vicious attacks that take place, and they're all directed to one side.

Cindy McCain's personal life explored going back 20, 25 years. And if a Republican raises questions about Ayers, which is a lot more relevant of a question, all of a sudden Republicans are bad for raising it. But it's not bad for "The New York Times" to dig into Cindy McCain's personal life that has no relevance at all to this campaign.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, her lawyer John Dunne wrote an article that we put on FOX News in which he says if you're going to go back into Mrs. McCain, are you going to go back into the drug history of Senator Obama who has admitted a drug past?

I assume you have a theory on why Mrs. McCain, who's not the candidate, gets the attention, and Senator Obama, the candidate, is not?

GIULIANI: Because "The Times" has a mission to elect Barack Obama. It's very, very clear.

I know they will never admit it and I know they become defensive when you say it, and then they start attacking us for saying it. But the reality is people should be aware of the fact that some portion of the media has a mission, and they're not getting the whole story.

When we raise questions about Barack Obama-and I don't even know if we should go into the kinds of thing that John Dowd was talking about.

But perfectly legitimate is the question what he was doing with Ayers, why he was giving out money with Ayers, hundreds of thousands of dollars, why his campaign gave $800,000 to ACORN just seven, eight months ago. And ACORN is involved in 13 investigations for voter registration fraud.

These are legitimate questions.

VAN SUSTEREN: With all due respect, sir, you're from New York. "The New York Times" is an important paper. But New York is pretty much, at least by the polls, decided. They're pretty extreme.

Where I grew up in Wisconsin, we read a lot of the Wisconsin papers. So that pre-media -- I'm not sure whether "The New York Times" really matters.

GIULIANI: Well, that's good.

VAN SUSTEREN: I'm just saying I don't know if they do.

GIULIANI: That's good.


GIULIANI: It's the whole beltway thing, and it's the idea--we only wanted a fair shot. I don't think you should go into Cindy McCain's background 20 years ago, and I don't think you should be going into whether Barack Obama had a drug deal or didn't have a drug deal when he was 20 years old.

But if you go into one, you need to go into the other. And if you're not, the American people have a right to ask why you're doing that, and why you're trying to manipulate them. That's the point.

VAN SUSTEREN: The big news was yesterday former Secretary of State Colin Powell endorsing Senator Obama, crossing parties. Hurt Senator McCain?

GIULIANI: I think we all knew it was going to happen. I think it's one of those things, it's like when the stock market knows that something is going to happen, you discount it two or three weeks in advance.

We were ready for this for two or three weeks. It was a big enthusiasm I guess three or four weeks ago that Colin Powell was going to endorse Barack Obama. So now he's done it. We understand his reasons. Other secretaries of state disagree, like Henry Kissinger and Jim Baker, and some others go the other way.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why did it happen? He's a Republican and he's former military.

GIULIANI: Everybody is entitled to their own opinion. I respect Colin Powell a lot. He's a good friend of mine. I disagree with him.

One of the points he makes is--he got upset because he believes that Sarah Palin is not experienced enough. With all due respect, the candidate he selected is less experienced than Sarah Palin. I would have liked to have asked Colin that. He seems so enthusiastic about Barack Obama and so annoyed about Sarah Palin.

I've been an executive, you know. Barack Obama hasn't been. She has. She's been a governor, she's been a mayor. Barack Obama has never run a city, he's never run a state, he's never run a business.

His experience as a community organizer, looks like a lot of it had to do with ACORN. And we're just finding out about ACORN and what ACORN's all about.

So I would say that the analysis, to me at least, doesn't seem like a correct analysis.

VAN SUSTEREN: Here's what I don't get. And I don't think a lot American people don't. You say that Colin Powell is your good friend. Colin Powell endorses Senator Obama yesterday and said Senator McCain is my good friend. You guys are good friends--

GIULIANI: But we disagree with each other.

VAN SUSTEREN: You publicly endorse each other, and you're still friends?


I have friendships with lots of Democrats. I ran a city of more Democrats than Republicans. If I didn't have any Democratic friends in New York, I wouldn't have any friends. So I end up--

VAN SUSTEREN: If I had a friend who endorsed somebody else, I'd be mad.

GIULIANI: I'm disappointed in his endorsements. But he has a right to make that endorsement, and he has the right to be wrong. I think he's wrong.


VAN SUSTEREN: Coming up, what major international crisis is Senator Obama's running mate Senator Biden talking about? And what does Mayor Giuliani want to now ask Senator Biden? The mayor will tell you himself.

And later, this has lit some on fire. Senator McCain compares Senator Obama to European socialists. Is the comparison accurate or exaggerated?

And is Senator McCain gaining traction by hammering Senator Obama on the economy?



VAN SUSTEREN: We continue now with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Mayor Giuliani has a question about something Senator Biden said. Senator Biden said that Senator Obama will face an international generated crisis within six months of being elected, and that it will test senator Obama. What does the mayor think?


VAN SUSTEREN: So, mayor, Senator Biden, who's the vice-presidential candidate, of course, had some predictions.

GIULIANI: Senator Biden yesterday, if I'm quoting him correctly, says that he predicts -- he says, "Mark my words, that within six months there will be a major incident testing the mettle of Barack Obama if he's elected president, like there was John Kennedy."

And it seems to me that what Joe Biden is saying is that there are people throughout this world who believe that Barack Obama may not be ready to be president, as Joe Biden said himself a few months ago.

And the reality is that when we elected Ronald Reagan, we didn't have anybody test Ronald Reagan's mettle because the world was convinced that he was ready to handle it.

It would seem to me that John McCain is a lot closer to being like Ronald Reagan, having been tested in crisis. I don't think anybody is going to test John McCain's mettle. I think they know what John McCain is made of.

VAN SUSTEREN: There are two issues--one is the political issue about why he would say that, but the other is sort of like does he know something.

I take it that this was just sort of a campaign thought, that he is not privy to anything that should scare the rest of us, at least, any more than we should be on the alert.

GIULIANI: Well, Joe Biden is allowed to say the most extraordinary things and not questioned about it. It seems to me someone should be required to hold a press conference and explain what he meant.

This is a very extraordinary statement. He actually says, "Mark my words, there will be some terrible international incident." He says he can think of five or six places it can come, and then he mentions the Middle East and Russia. He only mentions two of them.

And he also then suggests that people won't be pleased with Barack Obama and people should stick with him.

So this is a very big thought that he has, and I think he should explain what he's talking about. But the reality is that if he has this kind of concern, that people are going to test Barack Obama's mettle, maybe he was right in the first place when he said that Barack Obama isn't ready to be commander in chief at this stage of his career.

John McCain is certainly ready to be commander in chief. And I don't think there will be any concern that anyone is going to test John McCain's mettle.

VAN SUSTEREN: To the extent that conventional wisdom would--actually, I'm always a little funny about conventional wisdom, whether I should put any credence into it or not. But conventional wisdom is if there's an economic crisis, that it will go with Senator Obama, if there's a terrorism crisis, that it will go with Senator McCain.

So it seems almost like a peculiar statement, like a political gaffe if he's putting it out there that something bad is going to happen. I imagine he'd like to take that one back.

GIULIANI: He said it with great certitude. "Mark my words." I think he said, "gird your loins."

So he prefaced this and surrounded it with very some strong language. "Mark my words, there will be an incident within six months testing Barack Obama's mettle." He predicted parts of the world it might come from, Russia, Middle East, left out the others that he was referring to. And then he said, "gird your loins."

So I don't know what he's talking about, but I think he should be required to have to explain what he's talking about.

And I do suggest that you don't need to have this kind of concern with John McCain. I don't think you'd have the same concern that anyone in the world would want to test John McCain's mettle. John McCain's mettle has been tested, and he's shown that he can handle crisis.

VAN SUSTEREN: We'll ask him. We'll see if we can't track him down.

Thank you, Mr. Mayor. Thank you.

GIULIANI: Thank you.


VAN SUSTEREN: Not only is Mayor Giuliani taking on Senator Biden for the international crisis comment, but so is Senator McCain.

So naturally now Senator Obama is responding. Senator Obama's campaign says in a statement, "With our nation facing two wars and 21st century threats abroad, Senator Biden referenced the simple fact that history shows presidents face challenges from day one.

After eight years of a failed foreign policy, we need Barack Obama's good judgment and steady leadership, not the erratic and ideological Bush- McCain approach that has set back our security and standing in the world."

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