There is a veritable smackdown between Giuliani and Romney — blue-state Republicans with a history of moderate views on social issues. While Romney seems to have changed his positions on issues such as abortion and gay rights, Giuliani has generally remained consistent in his views.
"Somebody recommended that way back before I started, 'You've got to change your positions on all these things,'" Giuliani said. "Look, you know, I'd rather not run. Here's the only way I can do it."
Beyond emphasizing his leadership on Sept. 11, perhaps his greatest strength, Giuliani has been trying to play up his most conservative views, which he laid out earlier this year in a series of commitments.
"Look at my 12 Commitments and you'll see how I'll define the Republican Party," he said when asked how his nomination would redefine the GOP. "I'll define it as a party largely built around strong national defense, being on offense against Islamic terrorism and being on offense for a growth economy."
Giuliani supports the Iraq War and rarely criticizes President Bush's foreign policy, but he suggested that the United States is not doing enough in Afghanistan.
"I'll believe they're doing enough when we've caught [Osama] bin Laden and we have totally reversed and created no possibility of the Taliban and al Qaeda re-emerging. Then I will be convinced we're doing enough. And, until we get there, we've got to do more," he said.
But critiques of the president do not come easily. Those of his junior senator roll off the tongue.
In the ABC News interview, it was suggested that Giuliani can't wait for the fight against Clinton.
"No, no, no," he pushed back, taking issue that there was anything personal about what he was saying. "It's the ideology and the thinking. … I guarantee you if Sen. [Barack] Obama or [former Sen. John] Edwards got the nomination, with one or two differences, the same ideological feuds would be there."
In fact, as of now the only non-issue-related personal attack launched in the 2008 presidential campaign was offered by a Clinton campaign co-chair, former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, who suggested in an interview with the NY1 cable channel that Giuliani's multiple marriages and strained relations with his children would hurt him.
The attack did not surprise Giuliani, he said.
"I've watched the Clintons over the years," he said. "I mean, the whole way in which they deal with allegations sometimes against them — fair or unfair — is they personally attack people of the other side. There's a whole history of that. So I'm ready for that."
He was known as a street fighter in New York politics. Of course, many of his sharpest words were displayed to those who listened to his weekly radio show as mayor. He seems more serene now, calmer. Did his temperament change? Were there remarks he wished he hadn't said?
Giuliani laughed when asked. "Do you know how many things I wish I hadn't said? There are a lot of things I wish I hadn't said. If the question is, 'Have I changed?' You keep changing throughout life. I mean, I've been through a lot in the last seven or eight years. I've been through things people know about — you know, a lot of things in my personal life, a lot of things in my public life, Sept. 11, anthrax, building the business … 94 foreign trips, 35 countries. I've been through cancer. Sure, I've changed."