Mitt Romney the better man to lead U.S. through precarious times: Rudy Giuliani

TORONTO — On the eve of the eleventh anniversary of Sept. 11, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani warned “it isn’t over” for enemies preying on America and said Republican Mitt Romney is the better choice to lead the country through precarious times.

“Every December we remember Pearl Harbor because Pearl Harbor is over,” Mr. Giuliani told the National Post on Monday evening. “September 11 is different. No peace treaty has been signed… Their desire to come to the United States and kill us still exists.”

Mr. Giuliani was in Toronto to headline a fundraising event for children’s health-care facilities in Toronto and Jerusalem, and sat down with the Post to discuss the dark legacy of the Sept. 11 attacks, the U.S. presidential race, the killing of Osama bin Laden, and his own ambitions.

The typically outspoken lawyer and businessman was more reserved than usual — he does his best not to speak ill of President Barack Obama outside the United States, he said, out of patriotism.

“Both men [Mr. Romney and Mr. Obama], although they take different approaches, are equally dedicated to making sure [an attack] doesn’t happen again,” Mr. Giuliani said from the home of retired Canadian senator Jerry Grafstein, who hosted the outdoor soiree put on by the North York General Hospital Foundation and the Canadian Shaare Zedek Hospital Foundation.

Mr. Giuliani said he respected Mr. Obama for going after bin Laden; when asked whether he agreed with Republican critics who accuse Democrats of politicizing the death, he offered an explanation rather than the condemnation he has unleashed south of the border.

“Sometimes in politics we take too much credit for our successes because we get so much blame for our failures,” he said.

He said he did not watch Sunday night’s 60 Minutes interview in which U.S. Navy Seal Matt Bissonnette recounted the May 2011 bin Laden raid, although he said he recently picked up Mr. Bissonnette’s controversial book No Easy Day.

The 68-year-old has his own storied relationship with politics. In 1981, Ronald Reagan appointed him U.S. Associate Attorney General; just over a decade later, he was elected the first Republican mayor of New York City since the 1960s, and in 2008, he ran and then withdrew from the Republican nomination race.

He was touted widely as a presidential hopeful last year, but in October he shot down rumours of a 2012 run. Still, he has remained in the headlines and at the forefront of American politics, for example offering biting remarks at this summer’s Republican convention in Florida.

There, he called Mr. Obama a “weakling” who is “already written off, internationally.”

“I just don’t know how to do it differently — that’s how I functioned as mayor, that’s the way I’ve always functioned,” he said of his outspoken nature. “Would it work in Washington? I don’t know. But whoever gets elected is going to have to try something different because the last four years hasn’t worked.”

Indeed, at a time when Washington is divided and loathed like never before, and when politicians are accused of skirting the truth with partisan rhetoric, Mr. Giuliani is conspicuous for his blunt assessments across party lines.

Once a Democrat himself, Mr. Giuliani is a pro-choice, pro-gay marriage Republican who for nearly a decade presided as mayor of a liberal city in a solidly Democrat state.

He has taken both Democrats and Republicans to task, last month calling failed GOP candidate Ron Paul a “kook” and a “cranky old man” and labelling Vice President Joe Biden “dumb” and a “laugh riot on Jay Leno” for telling black supporters in Virginia that Mr. Romney wants to “put y’all back in chains.”

In Monday’s interview, he said Todd Akin — a Missouri Republican running for the Senate who said victims of “legitimate rape” do not typically get pregnant because the female body has “ways to shut that whole thing down” — should “go back to doing whatever he did before he was a congressman, and if it’s teaching, he should teach anything but biology.”

Derided by some as over-the-top, Mr. Giuliani’s name has nonetheless been floated for a future Romney cabinet and, perhaps, a 2016 presidential bid.

When asked whether he would entertain either, he replied in typical Giuliani-style, “I haven’t asked myself [about a cabinet position] because nobody’s asked me to do it. … Anybody who gives thought to 2016 now is just being silly.”

National Post

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