BRISTOL, N.H. – Presidential hopeful Fred Thompson said Friday that New York City isn't a model for the rest of the country and that Rudy Giuliani should stop basing his stances on his time as that city's mayor.
Thompson, campaigning at a New Hampshire gun store with stuffed moose and deer overhead, told reporters that Giuliani too often turns to his time as New York mayor to explain his support for stronger gun restrictions.
"He relates everything to New York City. Well, New York City is not emblematic of the rest of the country, I don't think. I think the sentiments of those people in the rest of the country are in support of the Second Amendment — which is where I've always been and I don't think he's ever been," Thompson said.
The former Tennessee senator and "Law & Order" actor badly trails Giuliani in New Hampshire polls, in part because Thompson has spent so little time in the state. On Friday, he planned to attend a town hall-style meeting at a Veterans of Foreign Wars hall.
Thompson is trying to show differences between himself and Giuliani, who trails former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Sen. John McCain in the latest CNN-WMUR-TV poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center. Giuliani polls at 16 percent, far short of Romney's 33 percent support.
Thompson, who fares relatively well in national polls, posted only 4 percent support.
Gun rights is a key issue among libertarian-leaning primary voters in New Hampshire.
"(Giuliani) simply supported just about every gun control legislation that came down the pipe. I just disagree with him on that," Thompson said. "I saw he was at bill signing ceremonies with (New York Sen.) Chuck Schumer and President Clinton and others for gun control legislation over the years. Of course, he's not as outspoken about it any more."
Thompson, however, is.
"I used to have my own skeet shoot," Thompson boasted as he wandered through the gun shop and bought his children gifts. "Some of my opponents, you know, have a bad record or no records. I have a solid record. ... I'm not embarrassed to remind anybody of it."
A Giuliani spokeswoman said Thompson should be careful with his rhetoric.
"Coming from a man who lives in the Beltway, who is a Washington insider and lobbyist and who played the role Rudy Giuliani actually lived on a television series, I am not sure what to make of the senator's comments, except to say results are results," Katie Levinson said.
"Time and again as U.S. attorney, the third-ranking official in the Reagan Justice Department and as mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani delivered, and no amount of political posturing will change that," she said.
Thompson also said the Democrats would do everything they could to end gun rights.
"They were against gun rights for a long time and they paid for it at the polls," he said. "I don't think Americans think taking guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens makes for a safer America. Just the opposite."