Rudy Giuliani Under the GOP's Big Tent

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," Aug. 25, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.

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ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Now one of the big speakers that everybody is waiting tonight is former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. But before he takes the stage, you'll see him right here. Sean caught up with the mayor for an exclusive interview. Take a look.


SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Let's get a preview of your speech. What are we going to hear from Mayor Giuliani?

RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY: A lot of the speech will be about leadership and it's going to be about contrasting two different approaches.

And one that I think is enormously important to the future of this country right now at a time of war and someone who I think has exactly the wrong approach.

President Bush is a leader who has demonstrated that he can stick with his agenda, namely, the war on terrorism, when it's popular or unpopular. He doesn't change his mind and go back and forth and shift and shift.

And John Kerry, even for a profession, politicians, people change their mind, John Kerry is like at the outer edge of someone who almost changes his mind more often than he makes it up.

HANNITY: Let's talk about the diversity within the Republican Party. It's been made a fact; here you have this prominent role at the convention. You were out stumping heavily with the president. I assume you did that for the rest of the campaign.

John McCain, Arnold Schwarzenegger, there's a lot of diversity within the party because you're not a social conservative. You're very tough on crime?


HANNITY: A staunch economic conservative but on some social issues you disagree with many parts of the party platform.

GIULIANI: Well, I think we're a much more diverse and broader party than some elements in the media give us credit for because they want to paint us as this very narrow group of people, which we're not.

We represent, I think, even better than the Democratic Party the kind of length and breadth of the American people and the kind of disagreements that Americans have, even in their homes.

There can be people who feel one way about gay rights, another way about gay rights. There can be people who have different views on abortion.

But I think we respect each other. I think we learn from each other. And we understand that ultimately we have the same values. We have different ways of getting there and that our party is organized around two very, very strong principles.

One is a very strong national defense. We've been the party in the last 50 years that has argued for a strong national defense. The Democratic Party has been the party that has reduced defense spending, reduced the emphasis on defense, even during Clinton's administration, the peace dividend.

And we're a party that believes in freedom more for people. We believe that people should make more choices, government less, and we don't we can't always do that but where we have a choice we do that.

So these are two powerful principles that bring people together and then it makes them more likely and able to say, on some other things that maybe have to do with conscience and religion and personal choice, we're going to have to disagree.

HANNITY: Let me ask you about the Swift Boat Veterans. These guys that I've interviewed, and a lot of them, very angry at John Kerry for what he said back in 1971 when he accused them of committing all these horrible atrocities.

And also, they've pointed out a lot of inconsistent statements that Kerry has made over the years about his service. He didn't spend Christmas in Cambodia. There are some other questions there.

As it relates to these guys, there seems to be a united effort to get rid of their ability to express themselves through these 527s. 87 percent of the money goes to liberal groups, but isn't that a mistake and a violation? Didn't they earn the right to say what they want to say?

GIULIANI: This is a matter of principle. The president has seen how these 527s operate. They were an unintended consequence of McCain-Feingold. And they've kind of created the biggest soft money campaign that maybe we've ever had, with all the money that the Democrats have spent maligning the president.

So the point that the president is making is that all these 527s should not be allowed to operate; that they were a mistake; that nobody really thought of this when McCain-Feingold was passed.

And as far as the right of the Swift Boat Veterans or the anti-Bush people or the Michael Moore people or whatever, to say whatever they want to say, they have an absolute right to do that.

And these men have a viewpoint. They have medals. They have as many medals, if not more, than John Kerry and his group. You could probably count up the medals. And they are very significant and we have to sort of stand back in awe of what they did and what they accomplished.

So they have a right to their opinion and the veterans that are on John Kerry's side have a right to defend him and they have a right to their opinion as well.

HANNITY: Let me ask you this last question. John Kerry did make that, though, the cornerstone of his campaign.

He has a 19-year record in the United States Senate. I can't think of a major accomplishment. He's fought Reagan. He wanted a nuclear freeze, Reagan wanted to win the Cold War by confronting the evil empire. Didn't want the death penalty for terrorists who kill Americans. After the first Trade Center bombing, he proposed those $6 billion in cuts in the intelligence community. And then the flip-flopping all over Iraq.

Should that now and will that now become the focus of this campaign, and would you encourage the president to stay focused on that record?

GIULIANI: I think that the unfortunate part of all of this dispute over the ads, the Swift Boat ads, the 527s and everything else, is all of it has us dealing with only four months of John Kerry's life. And for which at least I'm willing to say to him, we honor him, we respect him, and we should move on.

The Democratic Convention was all about basically four months of his life. There's a whole big life after that and when you look at his record in the Senate, there's nothing that emerges from it.

The biggest thing that comes out of his Senate career is inconsistency and that's the biggest picture that comes out of it. Having these dramatically inconsistent votes; voting not to go to war against Saddam Hussein, when the man invades a country and then going to war in Iraq, but then not supporting it.

And voting for NAFTA; now wanting to repeal NAFTA. Voting for the Patriot Act; now wanting to repeal the Patriot Act.

HANNITY: A lot of changing going on there?

GIULIANI: A lot of changes on really, really important, substantive things. Changes on matters of war and peace. Senators change, but not this way.

I mean, think of the Democratic senators and the Republican senators. Think of Chuck Shumer or Teddy Kennedy or some of the Republican senators. There are some changes in mind. But you don't have this major, this major inconsistency going on.

So I think that it is a very fair point. The American people will want out of any leader, at least some degree of consistency and particularly at a time of war. And I think John Kerry's record is the thing that ultimately will defeat him, because I think he doesn't have the kind of record that suggests a man who can stand up for a principle and stick with it when it becomes unpopular.

HANNITY: So he lacks a core?

GIULIANI: There's something going on from his Senate career of shifting positions so often that's a worthwhile thing for us to analyze.

It's certainly fair and it's something that we want to contrast, because President Bush has been just the opposite. President Bush has been a strong leader. And he's been able to do like Ronald Reagan, he's been able to stick with positions, whether the media may have ridiculed him or his opponents may have made fun of him, but he's willing to stick with it.

HANNITY: Sort of like Rudy Giuliani?

GIULIANI: Well, maybe that's why I respect him so much. I see in him the qualities of leadership that I saw in Ronald Reagan. And I think that ultimately is the major issue on when this campaign is going to be decided.

Because America is going through a tremendous crisis right now of the war on terrorism and the fear of terrorism and all of which are absolutely valid. And we need a man who can set a consistent direction, not someone who's going to change his mind if things get tough, which he's demonstrated he does.

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