Saturday, March 31, 2007

Giuliani rakes in Utah donations

Ex-mayor says he's not too liberal for Utahns
By Lisa Riley RocheDeseret Morning News

GOP presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani said Friday his record as mayor of New York City proves he's not too liberal for Utah voters — and that he may be the toughest candidate in the war on terrorism.

Mike Terry, Deseret Morning News
Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani acknowledges supporters at his fund-raiser in Federal Heights on Friday. He raised about $250,000. Giuliani, who arrived in Utah midday and left shortly after collecting as much as $250,000 at an early evening fund-raiser at the Federal Heights home of former Salt Lake County Council member Steve Harmsen, was careful not to criticize the other Republicans in the race. Especially not Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who is widely seen as the favorite to win Utah in 2008. Not only did Romney turn around the scandal-tainted 2002 Winter Olympics, he's also a Mormon like the majority of Utahns. "I like Mitt very much. I think Mitt was a really good governor. I campaigned for him," Giuliani told local reporters, adding that Republicans have "got a really big challenge ahead of us next year making sure a Democrat stays out of the White House." During the 10 minutes or so he spent fielding questions, Giuliani repeatedly touted his experience as mayor of New York City during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that made him a hero in the eyes of many, heralded as "America's mayor." He talked tough on Iraq, criticizing Democrats in Congress for demanding a deadline for withdrawing troops. "What they did was irresponsible. To give your enemy a timetable to your retreat is unheard of, I think, in the history of war." Giuliani said Iran's leader needs "to know that America will use its military power not because it wants to. We know it's dangerous. We know it's not a good thing to do. We know it's a worse thing if he has nuclear weapons." The word conservative came up again and again as Giuliani described how he cleaned up crime, wiped out budget deficits and reduced taxes as mayor. On social issues, though, he acknowledged "people should know we're going to have some differences."

Giuliani, whose support for abortion rights, gay rights and gun control set him apart in a nomination process dominated by Christian conservatives, said he'd appoint judges who would interpret the Constitution "based on what it means, not what they would like it to mean." Asked about his pro-choice views on abortion, Giuliani, a former federal prosecutor, said he believes "abortion is wrong. I'd advise someone not to have an abortion ... But my view of the the Constitution is, you have to leave that ultimate choice to a person, an individual, and you cannot put them in jail for it." He made a point of bringing up a controversy surrounding his wife Judith's potential participation in a Giuliani administration. "We had a very, very good laugh today when we saw they were suggesting she might be a Cabinet secretary," Giuliani said. His third wife, a nurse, has no interest in politics or policy beyond educating the public on health issues. He had told Barbara Walters on ABC News' "20/20" that he was open to his wife attending Cabinet meetings. Giuliani is the third top Republican in the race to travel to Utah to raise money. In February, Romney raised more than $1 million in Salt Lake City and St. George. Earlier this month, McCain collected more than $150,000 in Salt Lake City. Initially, Giuliani had not scheduled any public appearances, including before the media. That changed shortly before the fund-raiser, which cost between $1,000 and $2,300 a person to attend depending on whether participants wanted a chance to chat with Giuliani. Although he was a half-hour late for the event, Giuliani spoke with reporters and even posed for a few pictures with a few supporters, including 6-year-old Araceli Blake, whose bright pink outfit drew a smile from the candidate.

Mike Terry, Deseret Morning News
Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani is swarmed during his 10-minute chat with Utah reporters Friday. The emphasis on raising money is to be expected at this stage of the campaign. "No candidate can afford to pass up an opportunity to raise money," said Kelly Patterson, director of Brigham Young University's Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy. That's true even in Utah. Romney holds a command- ing lead in Utah, according to a February survey for the Deseret Morning News/KSL-TV. Forty-five percent of those polled by Dan Jones & Associates said Romney was their favorite. Only 11 percent picked McCain and just 7 percent named Giuliani. But with the November 2008 presidential election more than 1 1/2- years away, Patterson said candidates are intent on raising money and securing influential endorsements, not swaying votes. "It's just not the public phase of the campaign," Patterson said. "For the most part, candidates really are reaching out to individuals who can endorse their ticket or give them money. That's a very narrow and small segment of the electorate." Plus, Patterson said, Utah is a relatively small state. "Utah doesn't have a lot of delegates to add to a candidate's pot," he said. "That doesn't mean they can't see the state for another form of support other than votes." Raising money has brought Democrats to GOP-dominated Utah before and could do so again soon. Todd Taylor, executive director of the Utah Democratic Party said former presidential candidate Bill Bradley slipped into the state for a quick fund-raiser during the 2000 campaign for the Democratic nomination. So far, none of the big-name Democrats seeking the '08 nomination have come to Utah, but Taylor said both Illinois Sen. Barak Obama and former North Carolina senator John Edwards have expressed interest in making appearances here this summer.

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