BEDFORD, NH — Rudy Giuliani just spoke here as part of the “Politics and Eggs” series, a Granite State tradition during recent election cycles in which a candidate delivers short remarks and takes questions over breakfast.
One woman asked Giuliani, given his talk of staying on offense against terrorism, how he would conduct diplomacy in light of anti-American sentiment abroad. Giliani said that global views of America are much more complicated. While he has seen anti-Americanism in his foreign travels, there are also countries that are trying to emulate us. Above all, he said, “we need to do a better job explaining ourselves.”
He said as president he would instill the idea that the State Department does not exist to represent other countries to America, but to defend American positions abroad. “We’ve got to have a State Department that understands we’ve got a reputation that needs to be defended and protected just as much as we have everything else that needs to be defended and protected,” he said. “That’s what diplomacy is about. It’s about sharing who we are with others, and getting them to understand us better, to understand our motives, because we don’t have bad motives.”
In what might be seen as a way of Giuliani distancing himself from President Bush, he said that some of our mistakes in the Middle East were based on what turned out to be incorrect assumptions of the region. “We assumed things that might come out of our knowledge of Western culture…we assumed things that weren’t necessarily correct,” he said, arguing for a more humble approach to spreading democracy. “We have to explain to them that we don’t want to force you to be a democracy, it’s just we’ve got something that’s so good, that really we’d like to share it with you.”
While we should remain open to negotiation, he said, “If you want to attack us, when you have these organizations that want to come here and kill us, we’re not negotiating. You commit yourselves to destroying the United States of America, as the Islamic terrorists have done, you go kill innocent American sailors, well then we’re going to be on offense against you in a way that will make us successful against you…You need to know when to negotiate, and you need to know when not to negotiate, because if you’re negotiating when you’re not supposed to, you create false expectations, and you kill more people.”
Another questioner asked him to reconcile his positions on immigration as mayor with his current commitment to end illegal immigration. He defended his policies as mayor that allowed illegal immigrants access to education and healthcare, and enabled them to report crimes without being reported to the INS. As he has done before, Giuliani defended his past position by arguing that as mayor of a city stuck with 400,000 illegal immigrants becasuse the federal government wasn’t doing its job, he had to make some difficult decisions. Given his emphasis on public safety, he didn’t want tens of thousands of children of illegal immigrants with nowhere to go during the day, an illegal population spreading communicable diseases, or for his police department to be denied information on criminal activity because a large chunk of the population was afraid to report crimes. He repeated his commitment to end illegal immigration as president, arguing that his record of producing results makes him the best qualified to solve the problem. This is not contradictory, he argued, because controlling immigration is a federal responsibility.
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