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Giuliani mocks Obama on Libya

Last modified: 3/19/2011 12:00:00 AM
Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, whose drive-by approach to campaigning in New Hampshire drove his 2008 presidential campaign into the ground, began setting the stage for a do-over yesterday with a vitriolic speech in which he mocked President Obama as a stuttering weakling on foreign policy.

Speaking at a Manchester Republican Committee fundraiser, Giuliani said he hasn't decided yet whether he will again seek the GOP nomination. But he sounded a lot like a candidate, calling Obama's handling of the uprising in Libya in the last week the worst foreign policy-decision making - or lack thereof - he's ever seen.

When France proposed instituting a no-fly zone, "Our president, the leader of the free world, said, 'A what? That's hard! A no fly zone is r-r-r-really hard!' " Giuliani said to laughter.

"Can we stand two more years of this? We have to. Can we stand six more of this? We don't have to," Giuliani said. "It's up to you, and it's up to me. It's up to the Republican Party. . . . This president has been a failure in just about everything he's done."

In a more joking tone, he said later: "I'm going to say something I'll deny ever saying: Hillary Clinton would've been better."

As for his own bad decision-making, Giuliani acknowledged he should have spent more time in New Hampshire during his failed 2008 campaign instead of focusing on delegate-rich states later in the nominating season. He finished a distant fourth in New Hampshire and folded his campaign soon after.

"If I could go back and re-do what I did four years ago, there's about 45 things I would've done differently. But I would've spent more time here and run the way I governed in New York, holding town hall meetings," he said.

If Giuliani does run again and changes his campaign style, he'll find plenty of support in New Hampshire, said Wayne Semprini, who ran Giuliani's state campaign.

"I thought then and I still think Mayor Giuliani is a perfect candidate for New Hampshire because he is the one true fiscal conservative who has shown how he can turn a situation around using core, fiscally conservative principles," he said. "With everything that's going in the country right now, I don't think the priority on social issues is going to be as high as it was in the past."

Bill Gordon, chairman of the Goffstown-Weare Republican Town Committee, agreed with Semprini on the shifting priorities and said his group now tilts somewhat Libertarian.

"Smaller government, smaller government. That's all we hear. And I'm pretty much on that bandwagon," he said. "Social conservative? Nah. I couldn't care less. ... The litmus test for me is somebody who will try to be very businesslike, no nonsense, tell the truth as best as possible and not razzle-dazzle and misstating facts."

But Gordon said he didn't give Giuliani a lot of thought in 2008 and doesn't plan to this year.

"I liked what he did in New York, I liked how he took charge after 9/11," he said. "But really, 9/11 is really, really small compared to what we get into on a national level."

Allison Dorrington, 30, of Manchester, was looking forward to seeing Giuliani yesterday. She said she feels very strongly that Giuliani should run for president again.

"I believe that his strong Republican and conservative values are just what America needs to defend the Constitution and protect our homeland by standing up to terrorism," she said.

In a WMUR Granite State Poll last month, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney was the leader in the New Hampshire GOP primary, with Giuliani coming in a distant second.


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