Republican Rudy Giuliani took his first steps in Iowa as a presidential candidate today, backing President Bush’s latest statements on Iraq and answering conservatives who question his views on social issues.
President Bush said today it was "irresponsible" for Democrats in congress to include a date for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq in a spending bill, and Giuliani agrees. "It is to me very disturbing that the congress of the United States…came to the conclusion that we should announce our retreat to our enemies and give them a schedule of retreat," Giuliani said during an interview with Radio Iowa. "In the long history of war, I’m trying to think of when an army or a country ever did that."
According to Giuliani, congress wouldn’t have come to that conclusion if that had a "better appreciation" of the war on terror. "I think that the congress — this is not partisan at all — I just think they did something really wrong," Giuliani said.
A group of Iowa conservatives released a petition this morning saying Giuliani is the wrong candidate for the Republican Party because of his views on social issues. Giuliani said everyone has the right to their own opinion, but he’s asking conservatives in the GOP to take a second look at his record. "And my whole record a record in which as the Mayor of New York City I reduced taxes. I reduced spending," Giuliani said. "…I believe I’m the most fiscally-conservative candidate in this race…On abortion, I’m opposed to it. I don’t like it. I wish it didn’t have to happen and I would advice an adoption rather than an abortion, but ultimately, I think that a person should have an individual right to make that decision and shouldn’t be put in jail for it."
Giuliani supports "protecting the rights" of gays and lesbians and "domestic partnership" laws for homosexual couples, but he opposes gay marriage. "I support marriage between a man and a woman. I think that’s the only way in which marriage should take place," Giuliani said. "I don’t think that should be changed in any respect at all."
Surrounded by cameras and reporters, Giuliani walked through a Cedar Rapids neighborhood this afternoon and he headlined a rally at a West Des Moines high school this evening.
During his interview with Radio Iowa, Giuliani said he’s been all over the country and has a "pretty good feel" for what the American people want. "I’ve been here in Iowa many times, always on behalf of other candidates," Giuliani said. "I’m practing coming here on behalf of myself now."
According to Giuliani, public opinion polls which have shown him leading the pack of GOP candidates are "unreliable" but indicate he is "in a competitive position."
Hear part of Radio Iowa’s discussion with Giuliani by clicking on the audio link below and read more about it on The Blog.