Mitt vs. The Mayor

Now that Rudy Giuliani, the national poll leader, has joined Mitt Romney, the leader of key state polls, in releasing a point-by-point sketch of where he wants to lead the country, differences of emphasis are discernible between the two Republican presidential candidates on issues ranging from education to immigration to the war on terror.

On education, Romney's plan, which was released in 2006, is silent on school choice, preferring instead to focus on "raising the bar on education" by "making teaching a true profession, measuring progress, providing a focus on math and science, and involving parents from the beginning of a child's school career."

Giuliani's plan, which was released Tuesday in New Hampshire, embraces "real school choice" as a strategy for improving education. Giuliani views the public education system as a "monopoly" and he regrets not pushing harder on school choice as mayor. Though he did not detail how his education proposal would work, his staff confirmed that his ultimate goal is to bring the option of private or parochial school within the reach of more families.

On immigration, both the former Massachusetts governor and the former New York mayor call for securing the border and cracking down on illegal immigration. But while Romney's plan focuses on tackling the problem at the point of employment through a "biometrically-enabled and tamper-proof documentation and employment-verification system," Giuliani backs a farther-reaching proposal: he wants the federal government to "identify every non-citizen" in the country and to enter their names into a single national database. The purpose of this proposal is to uncover all non-citizens working in the underground economy who might be engaged in things such as drug dealing, human trafficking, or plotting a terrorist attack.

Another immigration split between the candidates pertains to Romney's explicit call for expanding the number of legal immigrants allowed into the United States. Giuliani's plan remains silent on this front.

One issue conspicuously absent from both the Romney and Giuliani vision statements is the war in Iraq. Both men view the Iraq war, which has cost more than 3,500 U.S. lives and tens of thousands of Iraqi lives, as part of a broader struggle with radical Islamic fundamentalists. But whereas President Bush speaks of a "Global War on Terror," the two Republicans who hope to succeed him would re-frame the conflict.

The mayor who led New York through 9/11wants to re-name the conflict as the "Terrorists' War On Us." Giuliani identifies keeping the U.S. "on offense" in that war as the first of the twelve priorities he outlined this week.

"Maybe we made a mistake in calling this the War on Terror," Giuliani told the Conservative Political Action Conference earlier this year. "This is not our war on them. This is their war on us. We desire peace. . . . This war is over when they stop planning to come here and kill us. When that ends, the war is over."

Romney, whose plan speaks in terms of "defeating the Jihadists," thinks the U.S. should ideally drop the terrorist terminology altogether when referring to its enemies.

"The old statement 'know thy enemy' is appropriate," Romney told ABC News last year. "They are terrorists, yes, but more directly, they are Jihadists, that has broad implications."

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