Giuliani Shifts Emphasis From Security to Economy
By Zachary A. Goldfarb
Rudolph Giuliani, the man missing from the opening rounds of the Republican nomination process, opened a two-week campaign for Florida on Sunday by shifting to a new topic: the economy.
Declaring that he would implement the largest tax cut in history, the former New York mayor said, "The case for me is that I am the strongest fiscal conservative in the race, and that I have a record of supporting tax cuts."
By contrast, Giuliani said, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), who won the South Carolina primary Saturday on the heels of a victory in New Hampshire, voted against Bush tax cuts "and sided with the Democrats."
The change in subject was noticeable and significant for Giuliani, who had framed his campaign largely around his national security platform, in part through his experiences running New York after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and in part to alleviate concern among party faithful about his moderate views on abortion and gay rights.
But polls in early-voting states have showed that voters are casting ballots primarily based on their concerns over the economy, rather than on their belief of who will keep the United States safe. Giuliani rivals such as former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who won the Iowa caucuses, and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who has won three states, are speaking to such concerns through their stump speeches.
Giuliani has run poorly in every GOP primary or caucus thus far, as he focused on Super Tuesday, Feb. 5, when some two dozen states will hold nominating contests, including delegate-rich states such as New York, New Jersey and California.
On ABC's "This Week," he expressed confidence that he would win in Florida on Jan. 29, and that the victory would catapult him to victory on Super Tuesday.
"We're concentrating on Florida. We've been here for two weeks. We've been campaigning here, not quite full-time, but just about full-time for two weeks," Giuliani said. "We decided some time back that this is the place where we should put our most emphasis, that it worked our strength and weaknesses the best, and now we're ready for it."
Giuliani, who spent millions in New Hampshire and held more than 100 events there, said Florida is the best testing ground for his campaign.
"Florida is a microcosm of the country. It's a large state. It has virtually every, you know, diverse group that you can think of in different parts of the state, different economies in different parts of the state, different industries," he said. "This is a state that reflects America to a large extent, and we know this is the state that determined our president in the year 2000, so it's a state that's also very politically aware."
Romney, who won the Nevada caucuses yesterday, then finished fourth in South Carolina, continued to try to paint McCain as a Washington insider.
"I think if people want somebody who has been in Washington all their life and understands Washington's ways and has been part of the Washington scene for a quarter of a century, then John McCain will be their person," Romney said. "If they want somebody instead who's been in the real economy over the last 25, 30 years, who understands why jobs come and why they go and understands what it takes to grow an economy, then I think I'll be their person."
Romney also said the key in an economic stimulus package should be to create jobs -- not to send out government checks to citizens.
Describing his own $233 billion plan on "Fox News Sunday," Romney said, "It's not just designed to be a short-term stimulus, but rather a long-term growth boost."
Edwards Predicts McCain Will Be GOP Nominee
Former North Carolina senator John Edwards predicted McCain would be the Republican nominee, lavishing kind words on him, and said it will take a particularly strong Democrat to defeat him.
"[T]his is a guy who's a great advocate for campaign-finance reform. So, are we going to put a candidate against him who's taken lots of money from lobbyists and PACs?" Edwards said. "[H]e's also a very strong candidate with a long record, including an extraordinary record of military service."
Edwards's best finish thus far has been a second-place result in Iowa, and asked on CBS's "Face the Nation" why he has not done better, Edwards said "it's a factor" that Sen. Barack Obama is the first African American to be seriously considered as electable and Sen. Hillary Clinton is the first woman to be seriously considered.
But he suggested that neither is the right person to take on McCain.
"Senator Clinton, I think, is more the old-style, the Washington working the way it does, that it's okay to take the money from the lobbyists and the special-interest PACs, which I've never done and I'm proud of," Edwards aid.
"Senator Obama, I think, has a lot of great ideas, and he does believe in change. ... But he has what I would describe as a more academic approach to it than I do. I think if you're going to bring about change, you have to be willing to fight for that change, that it's not going to happen unless you're willing to take on these moneyed interests."
Edwards pledged to continue to his campaign through Feb. 5, even if he does not win the Democratic primary in South Carolina on Saturday. He performed particularly poorly in Nevada, drawing only 4 percent of delegates despite counting on a boost from unions.
"I got my butt kicked in Nevada," he said.
Rangel: Poor, Near-Poor Will Benefit From Stimulus
Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, said all income classes would benefit from an economic stimulus package.
"I don't think that anyone is going to be left out. And reaching out to the poor, the near-poor, the unemployed is really not a question of compassion. They're doing this for economic reasons," Rangel said on "Fox News Sunday."
President Bush has proposed a $145 billion stimulus package that would put as much as $800 in each taxpayer's pocket by spring, but some Democrats have complained that the rebates would not go to the millions of low-income workers who do not pay income taxes.
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