Republican Rudy Giuliani said Monday the reputation of the United States has suffered globally not so much because of arrogant actions but for lack of salesmanship about benefits of democracy.
If he is elected president, he said, he would seek ambassadors who would work hard to sell U.S. strengths to foreigners, not just explain those distant nations to Washington.
Giuliani, who is making a late push in the first primary state, also rekindled a dispute with rival Mitt Romney, accusing the former governor of neighboring Massachusetts of presiding over a crime surge while in office.
"I think Mitt kind of runs away from his record as governor," Giuliani said, a day after the two candidates clashed over Romney's appointment of a judge who later freed a convicted killer who went on to murder a pair of newlyweds.
Romney has called for the judge's resignation, and cited statistics showing a decrease in crime in Massachusetts.
Politics of New Hampshire
Giuliani, who spoke with reporters about the crime issue after a morning speech, had avoided campaigning in New Hampshire, where Romney leads in the polls, but he has mounted a late challenge with advertising, a weekend bus tour and promises of more visits.
One sign of his heightened interest was his appearance at the breakfast: His staff offered his attendance only in the past week, sending organizers scrambling to assemble the crowd and set up the food and meeting room.
On the subject of promoting America abroad, Giuliani spoke of the benefits at a "Politics and Eggs" breakfast sponsored by the New England Council and the New Hampshire Political Library.
"These are beautiful things, almost like gifts given to us by God, the wonderful resources of our country, the great system that our framers created that was ingenious," Giuliani said
He added: `We've got to have a State Department that gets that, that understands that, that we've got a reputation that needs to be defended and protected. We are a country of good motives, of good people, of great accomplishments. We don't want to force 'em on anybody in the world; we'd like to share it with them. That's what diplomacy is about. It's about sharing who we are with others and getting them to understand us better and understand our motives, because we don't have bad motives."
Taking some of the blame
Nonetheless, he conceded problems in the Middle East and the war in Iraq may be partially to blame on the United States, saying, "We didn't know enough about that culture in advance. We assumed things that might come out of our knowledge of Western culture or even other Asian cultures or Asian cultures that we'd become familiar with, like Japan and China."
At another point, he said: "Maybe sometimes we're too short; maybe sometimes we are too arrogant. Everybody has good points and bad points. One of the great things about Americans are we are very productive, we are very logical, we're terrific problem solvers, and sometimes we're too impatient."
He said those problems could be overcome with diplomacy that better understands foreign cultures.
Elsewhere during his hourlong remarks, Giuliani pounded away on the theme of experience, saying his background as a Justice Department office, U.S. attorney and city leader not only gave him the record to support his campaign promises, but also the traits to enact them.
In particular, he cited his tax-cutting record, which he said stands either at 23 cuts or 15, the latter if you consider only ones that he proposed to the City Council.
"I'm ahead of any Republican candidate for president either 23-0 or 15-0. That's almost a Patriots score," the mayor said, alluding to New England's undefeated football team.
Giuliani also picked up the endorsement of Jim Rappaport, a former chairman of the Massachusetts Republican Party. He and Romney have been at odds since 2002, when Romney supported his hand-picked running mate - Kerry Healey - over Rappaport in a campaign for lieutenant governor.