In his first campaign appearance in the area since May, former New York City mayor and current Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani stressed economic growth and robust foreign engagement to an enthusiastic crowd of about 100 at Lebanon High School Tuesday night.
The speech was arranged in a town-hall format, with approximately 20 minutes of speaking by Giuliani, followed by five questions from the audience.
Massachusetts State Treasurer Joe Malone announced his support for Giuliani before the talk. He appeared with former Massachusetts Gov. Paul Celucci, who also supports Giuliani over fellow former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
"Mayor Giuliani is the right man to serve as the next president of the United States," Malone said, before Giuliani entered to a standing ovation.
Giuliani's major theme throughout the night was the economy. He emphasized tort reform, tying the idea of damage caps to strengthening the economy. He noted that when Texas put a hard cap on medical malpractice lawsuits, it saw an increase in the number of doctors working there by 9 percent in the first year after the reform and 30 percent in the second year.
"Keeps up like this we're going to have to go to Texas for medical care," he joked.
In answering an audience member's question on losing manufacturing jobs overseas, Giuliani said the best way to correct trade imbalance is to export more, not to import less, and drew on the experience of the Great Depression to illustrate the danger of tariffs. He also noted that the rise of China and India could be good for trade.
"There are 30, 40, 50 million people a year coming out of poverty, and they're potential customers," he said.
At the Tuesday event, Giuliani also connected trade to national security, asserting that increased trade with countries like China would lead to better political relations. He linked his economic policy to the war on terror, arguing that America was willing to go on the offensive, but would rather trade than fight.
"We'd prefer to sell you something," Giuliani said. "We want to do business with you."
In Oct. 16 remarks to the Republican Jewish Coalition in Washington, D.C., however, Giuliani equated China to the "evil empire" of the Soviet Union.
Giuliani predicted that a similar policy of economic engagement could bring currently hostile Middle Eastern countries into more favorable relations with the United States.
Giuliani then launched into one of many attacks on the Democrats, accusing their candidates of planning to raise taxes on all Americans by 20 to 30 percent, part of Democrats' policies of "overspending, overtaxing, overregulating, oversuing."
At the same time, Giuliani defended President Bush's tax cuts, saying that the country was collecting $500 billion more from lower taxes than it did when it had higher tax rates in effect.
Giuliani suggested that the best way to trim the federal government would be simply not to rehire bureaucrats who retire in the next 10 years.
In fielding audience questions on the Second Amendment, school vouchers, his view of strict constructivism and Israel, Giuliani took care to challenge the Democrats at every opportunity. When responding to a question about ensuring Israel's security, Giuliani moved from a discussion of negotiation terms with the Palestinians to an attack on the willingness of his opponents Sens. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., to negotiate with rogue states.
Giuliani seemed at ease with his audience throughout the evening, mourning the defeat of the Yankees and wishing the Red Sox luck in their World Series endeavors.
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© 2007 The Dartmouth via U-WIRE