Rudy Giuliani spoke this morning to the Republican Jewish Coalition conference, an audience that is about as close to a home crowd as he could get. As mayor of New York City, Giuliani had close ties to the Jewish community, especially Jewish Republicans, who still remember when he ejected Arafat from a UN concert at Lincoln Center and returned a $10 million check from the Saudi prince who implied U.S. support for Israel was partially responsible for the 9/11 attacks.
Giuliani had the crowd eating out of his hands with flashes of humor, tough talk on Iran, and a hard line against futile diplomacy with Palestinians who seek to destroy Israel.
“We’ve seen what Iran will do with ordinary weapons,” Giuliani said. “If I’m President of the United States, I guarantee you, we will never find out what they will do if they get nuclear weapons.” That lead to one of several standing ovations.
He mocked Barack Obama for saying he would negotiate with leaders of hostile regimes with no preconditions, and said when Hillary Clinton initially condemned Obama’s comments, it was “the first time I agreed with her since she announced she was a Yankees fan.”
He pointed out that Clinton has already reversed herself, and joked, “That was one of the longest positions she’s held.”
Then, he recounted his decision to eject Arafat from Lincoln Center as a way to draw contrast and poke fun at his rivals in both parties.
“I didn’t hesitate like Hillary Clinton hesitates when asked questions about what she would do about Iran,” Giuliani said about the incident. “I didn’t seek to negotiate like Barack Obama.”
Then, in a clear dig on Mitt Romney, Giuliani joked, “I didn’t call for a team of lawyers…to tell me ‘well, on the one hand you can throw him out, on the other hand you can’t.'”
He continued to exploit the moment for maximum value.
“‘Maybe you could partially throw him out,'” he chided. “‘Maybe you could have him sit, like, further up.'”
Then he got to the moral of the story.
“I just made a decision,” Giuliani said. “See, I lead. That’s what a leader is about.”
Romney will get a chance to address the audience this afternoon.
UPDATE: Also worth noting is that during his speech, a cell phone rang, and Giuliani said, “I’m not going to anwer that!” He joked that he just found the vibrate setting to his phone.