Giuliani Says The Test Is Florida

Jan 28, 2008 1:13pm

ABC News’ Jan Simmonds and Rick Klein Report: Former mayor Rudy Giuliani, R-N.Y., staked his political future on Florida, casting his political fate with New York transplants and a few million other voters, as the Sunshine State sheds light on a scattered Republican field in the last contest before the primary campaign goes national.

"We are going to win today — and then of course, if we don’t win, we figure out another strategy. But the idea is to win today, and to turn this thing," Giuliani told Robin Roberts on ABC’s "Good Morning America" on Tuesday. "I think we’re really going to surprise people."

Giuliani said he’s counting on early voting to have come through big for him — and said he still thinks the Florida gamble was worth it.

"The reasoning was that this was the state where we would have the chance to do the best, given my positions, given the pros and cons, given the resources we had, it would be better to apply them to a state this size," he said. "If you contemplate defeat, you’re going to have defeat. If you contemplate victory, you give yourself the best chance of winning."

Giuliani is committed to Wednesday’s Republican debate in California, but it feels like the end is near for Rudy — the lackluster crowds, the devastating quotes, the serene, almost resigned demeanor of his staff.

Flying from Sanford to St. Petersburg, Florida on Monday morning aboard his first ever campaign press plane, Giuliani touted Florida as test he will pass.

"We realize that this is the place where we have to test ourselves – where we have to test our campaign. It was the best choice given the realities that we had," said Giuliani. "We’re going to win here."

Giuliani continues to express optimism, even as some begin to write his presidential political obituary.

"I believe we’re going to win. I believe that our early voting strategy was a very good one. We have every indication that it was, and I think our positive message will appeal greatly to the people of Florida."

At two stops at Florida airports on Monday, the crowds have been light and the enthusiasm, at times, tempered. But outwardly the campaign and its candidate feel that by the end of the day, when all the votes are counted, they will prove the skeptics wrong.

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