Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani was in Washington on Dec. 4 to raise money-and to see me. In a nondescript office building two blocks from the White House, Giuliani answered a wide range of questions on domestic and foreign policy.
Two hours after a news conference by President Bush on the subject of the newest National Intelligence Estimate, which said Iran had suspended its nuclear weapons program in 2003, Giuliani said the report should not be seen in isolation from Iran's behavior and rhetoric over the last 30 years. Noting Iran's expressed goal of destroying Israel, Giuliani said,"We are not going to allow [Iran] to become a nuclear power [because] the regime, not just particular individuals, but the regime, has been too irresponsible for that to happen."
On domestic issues, Giuliani said there are three parts to fiscal conservatism: reduce spending, cut taxes, and make sure regulations are "moderate and sensible as opposed to regulating businesses out of your state or country." He says he would reduce the size and cost of government through attrition: "Forty-two percent [of civilian federal workers] are going to retire in the next 8 to 10 years." By not hiring replacements, he estimates $22 billion to $23 billion could be saved.
Of greatest interest to social conservatives is Giuliani's pledge to nominate only "strict constructionists" to the federal courts.Why would a supporter of "choice" on abortion nominate judges likely to overturn Roe v. Wade? "My view of a strict constructionist or originalist judge who sticks with the plain meaning of the Constitution comes from my judicial philosophy. It's not that I want one particular decision changed." He added that originalists might have "different views on this" and that precedent might trump even a wrongly decided case like Roe. Or, he said, the justices could overturn it.
On personal matters, such as his three marriages, Giuliani says he should be judged on his ability to do the job. He mentions that some of our greatest presidents had personal failings. True, but let's see if he can sell that to the "values voters." If Hillary Clinton is the nominee, he might. Possibly less so if it's Obama.
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