Giuliani Reacts to “Real Republican” Debate

Oct 14, 2007 2:24pm

ABC News’ Jan Simmonds reports: Rudy Giuliani did his best to stay above the fray this morning in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, when he was asked to react to the debate among the top republican contenders about who the "real republican" is.

"This is what we are having a primary for right?" said Giuliani with a laugh. "We are letting the Republican party decide. Republican members decide, who should represent the Republican party. I think I have a pretty good claim on it."

In Sparks, Nevada, on Friday, Mitt Romney, R-MA, said "I tend to be a candidate that is a real Republican through and through. And, on that basis I think we reignite the excitement in our party."

Romney’s comments have caused a good deal of uproar among the Republican candidates with John McCain, R-AZ, and several other campaigns responding yesterday.

Today Giuliani was asked about the issue publicly for the first time and without pointing out discrepancies in his fellow Republicans, Giuliani chose to focus on his own fiscal record and ability to cut taxes in New York City.

"I think in one area I have the strongest results. Honestly, I have the only results, I’m the only one who really reduced taxes," said Giuliani. "I reduced taxes 23 times, I reduced them by over 9 billion dollars."

Giuliani also noted that he thought the discourse among the Democrats was much worse, citing the discourse the top three Democrats have made about each other. Specifically, he cited Hillary Clinton, D-NY, calling Barack Obama, D-IL, "naïve" at one time.

The former New York City Mayor did indirectly answer one of his critics in John McCain, R-AZ.

On CBS’ Face The Nation this morning, McCain criticized Giuliani for opposing the line item veto while he ran New York City.

"His advocacy of opposing the line-item veto is opposing what 43 governors or 50 governors have taken to court so they can preserve pork-barrel projects," said McCain.

"It is a direct contradiction, I think, to a fundamental Republican principle of being economic conservatives and eliminating waist and pork barrel projects if you oppose the line-item veto," he later added.

Answering McCain’s criticism, Giuliani said that he supported the idea of a line item veto but that it was unconstitutional.

"Here’s the truth… Straight talk?," said Giuliani using one of McCain’s catch phrases. "You have to have a constitutional amendment to get a line item veto. If you were to try it again, like we did it last time, we would be wasting the taxpayer’s money."

"… Reality is you need a constitutional amendment. And if we want to… I would, I would support a constitutional amendment to create a line item veto, but we got to do it the right way. We don’t get to re-write the constitution to fit our whims. This is what us conservatives complain about, we complain about activist judges who make up the constitution."

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