Rudy showed why he will be formidable in Florida. If the subject is economics he’s got an issue he can use to his advantage. This exchange from This Week shows him both on defense successfully batting away Romney allegations and on offense making the case for his superior fiscal record:
“STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, you’re laughing, Mr. Mayor, but you did sue the state of New York to keep a commuter tax in place, and you did leave a projected deficit when you left as mayor of New York.
GIULIANI: Well, the fact is, I’ve had eight balanced budgets, including that one, which turned out to be balanced. And we took the actions necessary to do that, including cutting back spending. And of course, my record in tax cutting is so much better than anyone else.The reality is, I didn’t cut all taxes. I wasn’t able to cut all taxes. I recommended, George, 64 tax cuts. We accomplished 23 of them. Now with my new program in which we’re recommending tax cuts, it will be the largest tax cut in American history.But the reality is, you can’t get all those tax cuts done.And that’s the process I use. I put out a lot of tax cuts, and then eventually, you get some of them. And some of them you also have to accept the tax cuts that your opponents may want. In some cases, I had to accept tax cuts that the Democrats in the city council thought were better.But on balance, I got the tax cuts that I wanted, and I did more than anyone else in government to reduce taxes.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You said you balanced eight budgets. But factcheck.org did a look at your record, and it said that you inherited a $2.3 billion deficit, but the last budget you projected, the one you left to your successor, had a $2.8 billion deficit.And Mayor Bloomberg has complained in the past about the deficits that he was left with to deal with.
GIULIANI: The reality is, I left in the middle of the fiscal year. In the middle of every fiscal year for eight years, there’s always a deficit because you don’t close it until the end of the year. The last budget that I closed was balanced. The last budget that I closed after I left was balanced.And that’s the way it works in New York City. You don’t balance a budget until you get to the end of the year, when you start recognizing revenues and you get a better picture of it. That was true in all eight years, George.
And, I mean, George Will said that I ran the most conservative government in America in the last 50 or 60 years. And I think a large part of it was, very strong fiscal management. I also turned around the economy of New York City, and I think I’m the only one who has an accomplishment like that. I took over a city with 10.5 percent unemployment. I left a city with 5 percent unemployment. I took over a city that had lost 320,000 jobs. I turned over a city that had 450,000 new jobs. And we moved 640,000 people off welfare, many of them to work.I don’t think anyone would dispute that it was probably the most successful government turnaround in the last 30 or 40 years.”
On the Bush stimulus package he made the case that while so called short term measures are nice permanent tax cuts are key to business investment decisions.Once again, Rudy is back in the picture. UPDATE: On the stump today he makes his pitch, distinguishing his record from McCain in clear but respectful tones.