In Palm Beach, Giuliani talks about 2012, Obama, Palin, Romney, tea partiesby George Bennett | March 22nd, 2011
PALM BEACH — Former New York Mayor and 2008 Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani left the door open for a 2012 run tonight, saying he’d think about launching another White House bid if it looks the GOP might otherwise pick a nominee who is “too right-wing.”
Giuliani backed away from his previous suggestion that he’d be more likely to run if Sarah Palin got in the race. He said another potential 2012 GOP candidate, Mitt Romney, should declare the health care plan he championed as governor of Massachusetts was a mistake.
Giuliani spoke for about 90 minutes to a Palm Beach Republican Club crowd of about 200 at The Colony hotel.
During a Q-and-A session, he was asked about his January comments on CNN that he’d be tempted to run if Palin were a candidate. Giuliani called that remark “rash.” But he said his fears of the GOP choosing a nominee who can’t win a general election might prompt him to run.
“If all we are faced with are candidates that are too far right so that they can’t win the general election, then that’s when I’d reconsider doing it,” Giuliani said.
“Do not underestimate Barack Obama. He is a very ineffective president but a very effective politician,” Giuliani said. Obama can win a second term “if we put up a candidate that he can isolate as a right-wing candidate, too far-right.”
Giuliani advocates low taxes and smaller government and is a hard-liner on national security issues. But he parts company with many conservative Republican primary voters on abortion rights and other social issues.
Giuliani said the GOP presidential primary process produces nominees who cannot compete in the general election in the northeast and in California and other western states. That gives the party less margin for error on the electoral college map, he said.
In response to an audience question, Giuliani said Romney, a 2008 rival seen as a likely 2012 candidate, should disown the health care plan he championed in Massachusetts. The plan includes a requirement that individuals purchase health insurance, similar to a key feature in the federal health care law.
“I think Mitt Romney should say that it was a mistake. Romneycare in Massachusetts is a mistake,” Giuliani said.
Giuliani served up candidate-style portions of red meat to the Republican crowd. He said the next president’s first action should be repealing the federal health care law. Then the new president should make the Bush tax cuts permanent and then cut the budget by 10 percent to 12 percent.
“You just cut it. How do you cut it? You cut it. You just say ‘No, we’re not going to spend the money. Sorry.’ “
Giuliani praised the tea party movement as a “wonderful exercise of American democracy” and slammed Obama for “irresponsible and immature” decision-making on Libya and other issues.
He also said Obama seems to have a “European socialist-democratic view of how an economy should be handled.”
Whether he runs again or not, Giuliani said he’ll be active in the 2012 presidential race.
“My whole objective is to spend every bit of effort that I have in politics to make sure that we have Barack Obama as a one-term president and that we have a Republican who’s going to give us pro-growth, pro-military policies in the future.”