Video: Giuliani responds to criticism

updated 11/26/2007 1:49:39 PM ET 2007-11-26T18:49:39

Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani spoke with MSNBC's Joe Scarborough this morning on "Morning Joe," responding to criticism from his opponent Mitt Romney by saying that Romney is "in a big glass house," and that Romney has "had every position Hillary has had, he's had every position that everyone has had." The following is a partial transcript of this morning's interview.

Joe Scarborough, MSNBC Anchor: We're trying to warn Mitt Romney and other Republicans that you're a New Yorker, a real New Yorker, and if you get punched you're going to punch back. But Mitt Romney has been after you this weekend.

Rudy Giuliani: He actually has been for about three or four weeks.

Scarborough: This past weekend though he actually compared you to Hillary Rodham Clinton. What's going on up there?

Giuliani: The fact is, Mitt is in no position to be doing that. He really is in a glass house. Everything he attacks somebody else for, he usually has a much worse record. He's the one who said that he would be to the left of Teddy Kennedy on gay rights. Do you remember that?

Scarborough: I do remember that.

Giuliani: I think the reality is that everyone who knows how I governed New York knows there are a lot of differences between Hillary and me, most important of which is we would appoint very different judges. She would appoint 200 federal judges or so if she were President that would be of a liberal philosophy, and I would appoint 200 judges that would essentially be conservative, originalist. We have a very different position on national security, we have a totally different position on health care. In fact, his health care in Massachusetts, Mitt-care, is much more like Hillary-care than anything any Republican has ever proposed. So I would say, probably, he really is in a big glass house here and he's the one who more clearly had positions, at least at one time – in fact, he's had every position Hillary has had, he's had every position that everyone has had. So it isn't personal, it's about records.

Scarborough: And again, you have him going after you, now Fred Thompson is going after you on guns, I guess a bigger question here is what's going on.

Giuliani: I'm ahead. I'm used to that. In Mitt's case, he's been doing it. Fred and John McCain and all the rest, they do it intermittently, it's part of the campaign, it happens. Mitt's the one who's been doing it over and over again. The thing about Mitt is, he accuses people of things, and of course he has a much worse record in all of those areas, like this things with Hillary. I mean, he was the one as governor of Massachusetts who was likening himself to Ted Kennedy, this guy didn't even support Ronald Reagan. So you know, it doesn't work well when he does it. Again, it's not personal, it's about his record. The thing I pointed out yesterday was not necessarily criticizing him over the judge he appointed, it's pretty obvious, he said he made a big mistake in appointing that judge who released a person that committed murder. But it's his record on crime that most people don't know. The Boston Herald had a big piece on this two months ago, crime, murder, aggravated assault, burglary, all went up while he was governor. In the case of robbery it went up 12 percent. And those are all areas in which, while I was mayor of New York, those categories went down by 70 percent. So there's a big difference in his record as a governor, which, in the area of these violent crimes, was very poor as the Boston Herald pointed out, and my record as mayor, was one of the best from the point of view of safety and security, in the country.

Scarborough: Mr. Mayor, when I go across the country, I talk to a lot of evangelicals, a lot of conservatives, who want to vote for you but they keep going back to one issue. It seems like you have one hurdle to get over and it's not abortion, it's not guns, it's not gay marriage. It's about the type of Supreme Court Justices that you would appoint to the Supreme Court. Of course you've got Ted Olson working for you, you've got Miguel Estrada working for you. Are you going to continue telling conservatives that you'll appoint a Roberts, an Alito, a Scalia-type justice?

Giuliani: It's probably the commitment that I make that people believe the most, because it comes totally out of my background. I was associate attorney general, the third-ranking position in the Justice Department. I've been in the Justice Department more of my life than anything, including being mayor of New York, almost 15 years. The kind of appointments I would make are exactly those appointments, those are the people I work with, those are the people that are part of my judicial selection, my judicial advisory committee, that is chaired by Olson, and includes both Estrada and Calabrese, and included Mike Mukasey until he became attorney general. So those are the people I would turn to for advice, and my thinking is in line with theirs. I believe that a judge has to interpret rather than legislate. And you have to have a very clear commitment to that as a judge. Otherwise you take over the role of the legislator and you really totally take out the balance of our constitutional system.

Scarborough: Let me ask you about your political strategy, I think most political observers agree that if you make it to January 29th unscathed, you're going to roll up big victories in Florida and New York and these other big states, if you don't get tripped up in Iowa, New Hampshire, Michigan, those early states. Why are you even competing in Iowa, a state where you don't really line up, wouldn't it be smarter to skip Iowa and just start focusing on New Hampshire and see what happens there?

Giuliani: Look, you compete in all of them, and you recognize that nobody's going to win all of them, so as we get down to the last couple of weeks, we'll have to make decisions about which ones to we have a better chance in, which ones don't we have a better chance in. There are so many undecided voters in all of these that it's not worth making a choice like that right now. The reality is, as you know, nobody's ever won every primary on their way to getting a presidential nomination. Some actually lost some surprising ones – Ronald Reagan did, Bill Clinton did, even President Bush did. So we don't expect to win all of them. But we think right now we're competitive in every single one, and have a good chance in every single one, so until we see something different we'll work on all of them. We're in New Hampshire right now and we feel good about New Hampshire. And you left out South Carolina and that's a big one too.

Scarborough: South Carolina too, and again, I remember talking to some pundits in Washington about a year ago who were absolutely stunned at how well you do in states like South Carolina, how well you do in areas like northwest Florida, where I'm from. Why is it that a New York mayor does so well in the Deep South among evangelicals who really, if you look at it issue by issue, shouldn't be voting for Rudy Giuliani?

Giuliani: This is what we did in May and June, we put out our 12 commitments to the American people, and tried to lay out our philosophy and it really was done so that people could say to themselves, "if I agree with what most of what this guy is for, and I trust that he'll deliver, than maybe I should support him even if we disagree here and there on certain issues." And I think the old Ronald Reagan saying, "my 80 percent friend is not my 20 percent enemy," is the way most voters, no matter how you describe them, figure things out. They know I'm going to cut taxes, they know I'm going to end illegal immigration, I think they know I would be one of the strongest in being able to deal with the terrorist war on us. And I think they know that even in those areas where we have some disagreements, we have the same goals. So I think a lot of them come to the conclusion that since I may be the most electable of the Republican candidates, there's enough there that we agree on that they can support me.

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