Drudge links to this video of Rudy Giuliani saying if he weren’t running, he’d be supporting John McCain. The Giuliani campaign passes along his full answer, which came in response to a question about campaign finance reform asked at a town hall meeting in Iowa:
QUESTION: Do you have any plans on repealing McCain-Feingold?
MR. GIULIANI: Do I have any plans on repealing McCain-Feingold? Gee, why don’t you ask Senator McCain when he comes? He knows better about McCain/Feingold. I’m gonna tell you — I’m going to tell you a few things, and this is not personal at all because I happen to be a very big admirer of Senator McCain, and I can tell you quite honestly, if I weren’t running for president, I would be here supporting him. If for some reason I made the decision not to run, he’d be my candidate, and I really admire the man tremendously. I supported McCain-Feingold. I wasn’t a big player in it because I wasn’t in Congress, but I supported it. The concept made sense to me. Now that I see it play out in a couple of elections, I think it was a mistake. We should get much closer to being able to allow people to — to realize their rights of free speech in the way in which they get involved in campaigns, make contributions to campaigns. I think these 527s have just — I think McCain — the end result of McCain-Feingold is not that the power of money has been lessened in politics. In some ways the power of money has been increased in politics, so I think it had an unintended consequence and we should go back and reform it, take out some of the abuses and probably get closer to recognizing people’s rights of free speech. So I think ultimately it hasn’t worked, and I do not in any way say that in any way to blame it on Senator McCain. I think he passed it in absolute good faith thinking he was straightening out a problem. I think lots of other people supported it, including me. I think, though, it’s like, you know, you say does this balance in running something, running a government or an Army or anything else, sometimes the things you think are going to go right go wrong and you got to go change them. And then sometimes they go – they go right and you stick with them. (Rudy Giuliani, Townhall Meeting, Mason City, IA, 8/6/07)
As for his views on campaign finance reform, while I would like to see Giulaini come out for an outright repeal of McCain-Feingold, I think he deserves credit for being up front about the fact that he supported it himself, while still acknowledging it was a mistake. As for his hypothetical scenario endorsement of McCain, it should be interesting to see how this plays out. On the one hand, it could mean that Giuliani could win over McCain’s remaining supporters if McCain makes an early exit, allowing him to consolidate the moderate/independent vote. On the other hand, by linking himself to McCain, Giuliani risks inheriting all of the negative feelings conservatives have for the Arizona Senator. It could provide an opening for Mitt Romney, who has no qualms about hiding from his past positions, to portray himself as the true conservative battling the Giuliani-McCain moderate axis.