Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani is making a three-day swing through Iowa in this week leading up to the Iowa Republican Party’s Straw Poll in Ames. But Giuliani announced in June he would not participate — financially — in the event, which means he didn’t rent space to host a party in Ames and he’s not buying Straw Poll tickets for his supporters.
Giuliani suggests some of his rivals are spending a lot on their Iowa effort in advance of that Straw Poll, while he’s saving his money for Iowa’s Caucuses. "It was just a practical decision," Giuliani told reporters this morning in Webster City. "We’re very, very heartened by the fact that they’ve spent millions and millions and millions and we’ve spent a tiny fraction of that and we’re in second place in most of the polls. In one poll that came out last week, we were ahead by one point, so the reality is we think Iowa is a real good opportunity for us."
According to Giuliani, he now has more paid staff in Iowa than in any other state to organize for the Caucuses. "The reason that we decided we couldn’t do the Straw Poll was we didn’t think we had the resources to do both and do it justice because we started somewhat later than just about all the other candidates," Giuliani said. "They all started six months earlier than we did."
Giuliani spoke this morning to about 50 people gathered in a Webster City restaurant. Retired teacher Tom Reintz was impressed with the candidate. "I think he’s very personable. I think he has a good sense of humor. I think he’s a realist. He was a tough prosecutor in New York City and obviously mayor," Reintz said. "There were a lot of things he was able to accomplish in New York City." When Reintz makes his presidential pick on Caucus Night, he’s going to choose either Giuliani, Mitt Romney or Bill Richardson.
Bruce Johnson, another retired school teacher who listened to Giuliani this morning in Webster City, said he’s tired of Giuliani’s rivals focusing on the abortion issue. "Seems to be just something that’s politically necessary, but with all the other issues — particularly Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and such — it just seems to me that that shouldn’t be the first and main thing addressed," Johnson said.
Giuliani has repeatedly said the government should not be involved in a woman’s decision on whether to carry her baby to term or have an abortion. During a mid-day stop in Fort Dodge, Giuliani said as president he’d push to simplify the adoption process and enhance tax incentives that encourage adoption.
Giuliani also said he would oppose any attempt to change restrictions on federal funding for abortion. Current rules only allow federal funding of abortions when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, or if the woman’s life is endangered by the pregnancy.
Pat Powers of KQWC in Webster City contributed to this report.