MONTGOMERY, Ala., April 10, 2007 -- Presidential candidate and former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani came to Montgomery on Tuesday where he met with lawmakers, publicly and privately, and took a few questions from reporters. Giuliani had a little problem with the price of grocery staples, but went with the flow of the questions answering questions related to Don Imus and gun rights among others.
In his remarks to the Alabama Legislature Giuliani said he wanted to talk to legislators about "the considerable ground we share - Alabama and New York City..There's a great deal of wisdom looking at cities and states..it seems many of the policies you're putting into play today are similar to what we put in place in New York...by exercising fiscal discipline we both were able to turn our deficits into profits...New York realized as Alabama knows, you can't be pro-worker and anti-business...tax cuts spur economic growth...fiscal conservative principles lead to government reform and Washington needs a serious dose of fiscal discipline...Fiscal conservatives believe...we can solve problems better that way..."
Giuliani went on to talk about cutting the size of government, winning the war on terror, and Iraq. "We're treading dangerously close to going back on defense..never before in history...has anyone decided to hand out the schedule of retreat to the enemy...Never again is America going to be on defense against terrorist that are planning to come here and kill us...."
Giuliani went on to say, "America is not a warlike country...it was hard for us to get involved in the Second World War...the essential nature of the American people is they want to sell you something...we want to do business with you...what country in history has ever embraced the enemy so quickly after war?..."
"If we're going to deal with these things, we need to make government smaller...You've taken aim at pork barrel spending - maybe you can go to Washington...(we need to) figure out what our big problems are...reduce our excess spending..."
Giuliani compared himself to Reagan as had Arizona Senator John McCain on a recent trip to Montgomery. After saying it was not important whether people agreed or disagreed with all his positions, the former mayor said, "That's what I like about Ronald Reagan, he just wasn't going to change his beliefs to be popular....if you don't set a destination, you just end up going where the winds take you....I'll set a course and stick with it...I'll set private market solutions on most problems...because they...lower costs, increase productivity..if you don't agree with that, I'm not your candidate..."
"I have a simple rule about leadership...a leader must share his believes honestly with people..."
Giuliani says leaders should leave their city, state, and country better than they found it" by doing such things as "more people moved out of poverty, better education for young people, for all our kids...a booming economy...If I become president, I'm going to copy what you're doing in Alabama..."
Giuliani after more private meetings with lawmakers headed outside to meet with the press.
My question to the would-be president was simple, "What's the cost of a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread?" "Right here?" asked Mr. Giuliani. "Anywhere," I replied. The former mayor gave an answer that indicated he probably had not made a recent trip to the grocery store.
"A gallon of milk is probably about $1.50 and a loaf of bread about $1.25, $1.30, the last time I brought one.
Where I do my grocery shopping a loaf of bread goes for about $1.99 and a gallon of milk for around $3.99. Other places in Montgomery are within a similar range. AP reporter Phillip Rawls did some homework on the issue. In his story, here, Rawls says, "A check of the Web site for D'Agostino supermarket on Manhattan's Upper East Side showed a gallon of milk priced at $4.19 and a loaf of white bread at $2.99 to $3.39. In Montgomery, Ala., a gallon of milk goes for about $3.39 and bread is about $2."
Rawls correctly points out that Giuliani was "closer to the mark on the price of a gallon of gasoline. 'Gas, I think, is $2.89,' he said."
Giuliani also weighed in on the Don Imus controversy about remarks made concerning the Rutgers University women's basketball team.
"My reaction is it was wrong, it was very wrong. He's acknowledged that and I have to say that I generally feel that in a thing like that when people make a mistake like that that I look at do they acknowledge it, do they seem to be really sorry for it and are they going to make a pledge not to do it again and he's done those things...Rutgers is a team that I like very much, my son plays football in New Jersey so I came to know the Rutgers football team a lot. Kids that play on the Rutgers football team play football with my son, so I have kind of a rooting interest in Rutgers."
Following up her original question, WSFA Reporter Eileen Jones asked Giuliani whether or not he would appear again on a Don Imus show.
"I would appear on his program again. I think, I take Don at his word that he understands the gravity of what he did. I listened to him very, very carefully..I called him a little while ago to talk to him about it personally and I believe that he understands that he made a very, very big mistake that that wasn't his intention but it was very, very damaging what he said. He understands the damage that he did to the people on the team and how much that will affect the university. He seems sincerely sorry about it and he seems like someone who will endeavor not to do that again and I'll take him at his word. And therefore, assume that he sticks to that which I have no reason he wouldn't. I would go on his show."
Reported by: Helen Hammons