This story was written by George Sweeney, The Daily Iowan
Republican presidential frontrunner Rudy Giuliani blasted Democrats in a speech at the University of Iowa on Wednesday night.
In an address that lasted fewer than 30 minutes, he did not once mention another GOP contender.
"You want a growth economy. You don't want an economy controlled by a bunch of bureaucrats put in charge of your health care, put in charge of your schools, put in charge of your tax money," Giuliani said to the restless crowd that had waited more than 45 minutes to see him.
This focus on Democrats is not unusual for Giuliani, UI political-science associate professor Tim Hagle said.
"He basically is running a national campaign," Hagle said, pointing out that Giuliani's strategy of focusing on Democrats allows him to avoid criticizing other Republicans, something that hurt Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in his 2000 campaign for the GOP nomination.
The perceived divide between McCain and Bush in 2000 hurt McCain's ability to win over Bush supporters, Hagle said.
Giuliani briefly discussed national security, saying it's the most important issue of the campaign.
"We are at war. It doesn't feel like we're at war sometimes, but we are," he said, reminding the crowd of the danger posed by "Islamic terrorists."
But the former mayor of New York City focused most of his attention on defeating Democrats, not terrorists.
"You want to be able to make your choices about your medicine with a doctor, not with a Hillary bureaucrat," he said.
He also compared Democrats' positions on universal health care with a system he claims has failed in France.
"America works because it has a big private sector, not because it has a big central government," he said.
The former United States attorney also said tort reform is necessary, advocating a $50,000 cap on noneconomic damages in lawsuits. Giuliani pointed to a $54 million lawsuit brought by a man against a dry cleaner who had lost a pair of his pants. Though he lost the case in a trial, Giuliani said, it cost the owner of the small business $100,000 in legal fees. The Republican candidate also said people who sue and lose should have to pay for the defendant's legal fees.
Giuliani's visit to the UI campus was his first this election season and the first by a Republican candidate in the 2008 race.
Giuliani has held 34 events in the state of Iowa since January, second only to New Hampshire, where he's held 38, according to the Washington Post.
He's also the only GOP contender with an office in Iowa City.
A Rasmussen Reports poll conducted between Oct. 11 and Sunday shows Giuliani trails ex-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., with 13 percent of Iowa Republicans. Romney and Thompson carry 25 and 19 percent respectively.
But out of likely Republican primary voters nationwide, Giuliani takes 27 percent and Thompson carries 21 percent, Rasmussen reported on Wednesday.
Giuliani empathized with the crowd, many of whom support the Republican candidate in a city known for its leftward lean.
"There are more Republicans on this side of the room than in New York City, so I'm used to being in Democratic territory seeking votes," he joked.
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