Giuliani: Romney + McCain = "Me"

(CBS)
From CBS News' Ryan Corsaro:

SARASOTA, FLA. -- Rudy Giuliani told attendees of a Republican Party dinner in Sarasota that there's no need to decide between John McCain or Mitt Romney for a future president.

"You don't have to choose one or the other -- you can choose me and have both," said Giuliani.

Warmly received by the well-dressed crowd of 500, he circumvented the negative attacks that McCain and Romney have recently traded and searched for higher ground. Pointing to the pair's criticisms, Giuliani suggested he could fill their shortcomings.

"Governor Romney is attacking Senator McCain as being a 'Washington Insider', with not enough expertise and understanding in economic matters. And Senator McCain is attacking Mitt Romney for being a manager, not a leader, and lacking experience in foreign policy and national security," explained Giuliani.

"The choice is clear -- Floridians deserve someone who has been tested and proven in both areas. And that's me."

But Giuliani also broadly chided both men for their records on taxes, casting both as tax increase supporters, but without the use of any specifics.

"When Mitt and John were facing the choice of lower taxes, each chose higher taxes. There is a fundamental difference in how we look at a growth economy. I have also had the safety and security of millions of people on my shoulders. I know what it means to carry that responsibility and to face acts of terrorism."

"So I say to the Republicans in Florida, you should vote for me because I am the candidate, when it comes to tackling the biggest challenges, that has had experience, been tested, and has had results in both areas, you don't have to choose one or the other. If you choose me you can have them both."

Giuliani, who admitted he has been an "unconventional candidate," justified his highly-questioned Florida primary strategy for winning the nomination, saying basically, he's just that type of guy.

"Unconventional approaches to things are the only way to change something," said Giuliani. "This is an unconventional election. I am unconventional candidate. You know that for sure. If I was a conventional candidate, New York City would look the way it did back in 1990."

Since he arrived in this state almost three weeks ago, the delivery of his record and proposals for the future has become acutely tailored to the needs of Florida, which he says inspired his tax cut plan and his support for a National Catastrophic Relief Fund.

"I see this as both a humane solution and a fiscally conservative solution," Giuliani says. "Some of the other candidates, I think maybe not being here as often I have, I don't think understand the issue as much as I do. If they did, I think they'd come around to my position."

Giuliani later told reporters why he had not named McCain and Romney as distinctly in the past as he did tonight.

"Sometimes I do. Sometimes I don't," said Giuliani.

"In this particular case, it would have been very hard to not use their names where I was trying to point out that one was pointing out a deficiency in the other -- I would have had to say 'Mr. X said about Mr. Y, and Mr. Y said about Mr. X,' and I would have gotten confused, so it seemed easier to use their names."
  • Ryan Corsaro

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