Giuliani-McCain: That's the Ticket?

Rudy Giuliani says he'd support John McCain if the former mayor weren't running.

ByAaron Katersky
January 08, 2009, 1:43 AM

Aug. 17, 2007 — -- Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani are rivals for the 2008 Republican nomination, but you wouldn't know it by asking them.

In an interview with ABC News Radio Friday, McCain said he is "flattered" that Giuliani would support his bid for the White House were he not trying to win the job for himself.

At a campaign event Aug. 8, 2007, Giuliani told a crowd in Iowa, "I happen to be a very big admirer of Sen. McCain and I can tell you quite honestly that if I weren't running for president I would be here supporting him. If for some reason I made a decision not to run he'd be my candidate."

It was the second time this summer Giuliani voiced support for McCain without much prompting.

"I'm flattered by that," McCain told ABC News Radio. "That's a very nice thing for him to say. I have great respect for him and we are very friendly."

Though McCain and Giuliani are on friendly terms, only one candidate can capture a spot atop their party's ticket.

The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll showed Giuliani remains the preferred candidate among Republican contenders with 37 percent support. McCain's support stands at 16 percent.

It's too early for any contender to start seriously considering a running mate; first they've got to win the nomination.

But in the recent ABC News Republican debate, Sean Kennedy of Leesburg, Va., in a viewer submitted question, asked the candidates, "As a candidate for president, what authority would you delegate to the office of vice president? And should those authorities be more clearly defined through a constitutional amendment?"

Debate moderator George Stephanopoulos, in a special, 90-minute edition of "This Week" directed the question to McCain.

"Having been considered for that post several times, I've thought a lot about that," McCain replied, drawing laughter from his opponents and the crowd.

"The vice president really only has two duties. One is to cast a tie-breaking vote in the case of a tied vote in the Senate. And the other is to inquire daily as to the health of the president," McCain added, drawing louder laughter this time.


For now, McCain is focused on much more than second fiddle, attempting to reshape his campaign after a rough patch.

"I think we're doing fine," McCain said. "Overall people are going to start focusing in September and October and I'm confident we'll do well."

McCain, making the rounds to promote his latest book "Hard Call: Great Decisions and the Extraordinary People Who Made Them," painted a positive picture of a campaign that has struggled in the polls and in fundraising.

In a political shake-up earlier this summer, the 2000 also-ran fired top staffers to address financial shortfalls and refocus an ailing campaign.

"Money's coming in fine," McCain told ABC News. "We were spending too much money. We fixed it. We're in very good shape."

In his latest book, McCain dedicates a chapter to Winston Churchill, whose buildup of the Royal Navy prepared Britain for WWII.

McCain praised Churchill's "foresight" and for soliciting "information and opinions from junior officers and ordinary seamen."

It's the kind of leadership McCain said was lacking in the Bush administration's handling of Iraq, though his support for the war is steadfast.

"I think that we have the right strategy now after enormous sacrifice, frustration and anger."

McCain insisted "there have been enormous successes" in Iraq, but he said "there are going to be suicide bombers for a long time."

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