NEW CASTLE - "If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere."
That was essentially the answer former New York City Mayor and potential Republican presidential nominee Rudy Giuliani gave when asked about his qualifications to hold the position as leader of the free world.
Speaking of one of what he called "the four pillars of growth" - restraint of government spending - Giuliani said, "If I can do it in New York City, I can do it with the country."
When asked about his apparent lack of experience dealing with international issues, Giuliani again pointed to his time spent as NYC mayor.
"As mayor of New York City, you have to be very aware of foreign affairs," he told a crowd of over 250 people at a breakfast sponsored by the Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce at the Wentworth-by-the-Sea hotel on Tuesday. "We have the UN."
Giuliani spoke primarily about what he considered the two most important issues in the presidential campaign; economic and social growth, and the war on terrorism. His "four pillars" for growth were:
- Restraining government spending, which is something that can only "come from the top," said the former New York City mayor. Giuliani said he accomplished this as mayor by instituting spending caps on city departments.
"We need a president who understands the need for financial controls," he said.
- Tax reductions through changes to the tax code.
"People who say that if you need money to fight a war, you shouldnít give tax breaks have got it wrong," Giuliani said. "If you cut taxes the way the president has done, it stimulates the economy and you get more revenue even at the lower rates."
Giuliani said he would also push for lower taxes on capital gains and repeal of the death tax.
- Regulatory reform that, while ensuring things like environmental integrity and corporate responsibility, would not crush American businesses, and
- Having a Federal Reserve Bank that knows how to deal with inflation.
The former NYC mayor indicated his full support for continuing American involvement in Iraq.
"I believe this war is necessary, I believe this war is right and I believe we need to get it done," he said.
Giuliani said there is a need to remain on the offensive in the war on terror.
"That is a lesson I learned finally and irrevocably on 9-11," he said.
Despite the threat of nuclear annihilation during the Cold War, "even the Communists never came here to kill us. The nature of this war is different," Giuliani said.
The former mayor chided the Democratically controlled Congress for its actions over the past two weeks.
"When you decided on an organized retreat, which is what they did in Washington last week, why would you announce the schedule?" he asked rhetorically. "Iím a bit of an amateur historian, and I canít remember any government ever releasing its schedule for withdrawal to the enemy."
The other issue Giuliani spoke about was energy independence.
"Our emphasis on this should be the same as we put on getting a man on the moon," he said.
The former mayor stated his belief that energy independence and addressing global warming were essentially the same issue.
"When you get beyond the debate (over how much of global warming is caused by humans) the same things that are needed to ensure clean air and a clean environment are needed to achieve energy independence," he said. "We must expand ethanol using Brazil as an example of how to do it, and we must see how much farther we can push wind and solar energy."
Giuliani said he also favored expanding the amount of energy we get from nuclear sources and, in the short term, clean coal technology.
However, the former mayorís vision extended beyond energy independence and the global warming issue to the place American can secure in the increasingly global economy by addressing these issues.
"Countries like India and China offer a massive consumer market," he said. "America can benefit from that market if we can create things to sell to them and what better to sell than technology to create energy independence."
Doug MacGregor of Dover was in the audience at the Wentworth Tuesday and liked what he heard.
"What I liked was that (Giuliani) didnít spend a lot of time with his speech, but took questions," MacGregor said. "I liked his straight-forward approach."
Portsmouth resident and School Board member John Lyons enjoyed Giulianiís presentation as well.
"While, as you know, (Arizona Republican Sen. John) McCain is my guy, you canít help but be impressed by the mayor," Lyons said.
In fact, Lyons noted that many of the positions Giuliani took during the Tuesday event mirrored McCainís view.
"The mayor followed the Senatorís lead today, but the differences are on social issues, such as gun control," Lyons said.
Giuliani has favored gun control in the past, while McCain has opposed it.
Rye resident, Wayne Barrows, who ran for the Republican nomination for Congress against Jeb Bradley and others in 2002, said that despite what he heard from Giuliani, he remained firmly planted in the McCain camp.
"McCain paid his dues," Barrows said. "It is his time."