ABC News’ Matt Stuart reports: Former Gov. Mitt Romney, R-Mass., is out with a new line of attack against former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, R-N.Y., calling his fiscal record "a problem" at an event in Amherst, N.H.
Romney prefaced his comments by saying, "Mayor Giuliani’s a friend of mine. I think he’s a good man. And I know he did a good job as the mayor of New York City." Romney then claimed that Giuliani increased the budget gap in New York City, saying, "when he came in there was a budget gap but when he left, he left a budget gap twice as big as the one he had inherited– over $3 billion. And Mayor Bloomberg has said he’s not going to leave a budget deficit like that to the person that follows."
Romney added, "…that $3 billion deficit doesn’t include the costs associate with 9/11."
The Giuliani campaign responded by releasing a statement from another former Massachusetts Gov. Paul Cellucci. "Mitt Romney simply has his facts wrong — not only did Mayor Giuliani turn over a balanced budget to his successor, but the city ended that fiscal year with a surplus," Cellucci said.
Romney also continued to advocate that the line item veto be put back into effect for the president. Previously, Romney criticized Giuliani for taking President Clinton’s line item veto to the Supreme Court. Romney claims Giuliani was fighting to get more money allocated for New York City — money that was taken by the line item veto. Giuliani asserts that he fought the bill, which was ultimately struck down by the Supreme Court, because it was unconstitutional.
The leading Democratic candidates also continue to loom large in Romney’s stump, with Sen. Clinton, Sen. Obama, and former Sen. Edwards each garnering mention.
Most notably, Romney said he hoped the audience hadn’t watched the Democratic debate in Las Vegas. Romney admitted he had, joking, "I have to be honest, I didn’t inhale, but I did look," referencing President Clinton’s famous line admitting he had tried, but not inhaled, marijuana.
Romney also referenced Hillary Clinton’s new ad, which talks about the "Republican attack machine." Talking about his best moment on the campaign trail so far, Romney said, "For me I guess it was seeing Hillary Clinton run an ad with my picture in it."
"She said, Mitt Romney is part of the Republican attack machine. Isn’t that great? I’ve always aspired to be a machine." Romney is pictured in the ad, but Clinton doesn’t mention Romney by name.
Romney added, "This is really exciting to have a campaign that is that strong. She hasn’t seen nothing yet of course."