New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, arrives to deliver remarks at the Boca Raton Synagogue in Sarasota, Fla., Sunday, Jan. 27, 2008. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
by Mark Silva
ORLANDO --"People spend a lot of money to spend the month of January in Florida,'' says Rudy Giuliani, whose campaign for president today will carry him from a synagogue in Boca Raton to Paisano's gourmet pizza parlor in Port St. Lucie, the Italian-American Club in Vero Beach and the commercial icon of surfing on the Atlantic Coast, Ron Jon Surf Shop in Cocoa Beach.
And today, on CBS' Face the Nation, the former mayor of New York insisted that his high-stakes Florida strategy for claiming his stake to the Republican Party's presidential nomination is right on.
"We're going to win in Florida,'' Giuliani told host Bob Schieffer, with an allusion to the early voting that started en masse here on Jan. 14 and which the Giuliani campaign counts on for a cushion of support on Tuesday. "We have been campaigning here very steadily since the early voting began. There has been an unprecedented amount of early voting.''
"I believe the best stragtegy for us was one where we concentrated on Florida, given all the pros and cons of our races,'' said Giuliani, interviewed in Boca Raton this morning, and trailing Republicans Mitt Romney and John McCain in newspaper polls here. "The best chances were here in Florida… That’s going to be proven correct on Tuesday.’’
Giuliani laughed as the host suggest that, the more people get to know of Giuliani, the less they seem to like him -- as evidenced in sliding poll numbers for him and rising numbers for his rivals over the past two months.
"Those (other) people won those primaries, they got all the attention and now we have to establish ourselves here in Florida and show we can win,'' Romney said.
Giuliani -- who is airing a TV ad claiming that "Only Rudy'' can deliver economic prosperity and national security -- was asked how he can promise the historic tax cut he is promising in addition to the multbillion-dollar catastrophic storm relief fund that he is promising here.
"The tax cut plan is to cut taxes that would raise revenues,'' Giuliani said. "A cut in the corporate tax, for example… from 35 to 20 percent… would mean more jobs, more revenues. They are strategic tax cuts that would bring you more revenues.
"The catastrophic fund is a backup... The federal government is spending that money anyway,' he said, pointing to some $130 billion that the government spend in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. "The government gives out billions and billions of dollars. The idea here is that the government would be a backstop for a one in a hundred years catastrophe, so that people can get insurance... This would allow them to get insurance.''
He was asked about the new endorsement of McCain by Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who is widely popular and is appearing in TV ads touting a tax-cutting amendment on Tuesday's ballot -- as well as McCain's endorsement by Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.), the highest-ranking Cuban-American official in Florida and former chairman of the Republican National Committee.
"The reality is, I was surprised by the govenror’s endorsement,'' he said. "Everybody endorses.. The attorney general, Bill McCollum, longtime congressman, my campaign chairman (in Florida)… endorses me... The reality is, I think the people of Florida are going to make this decision’
"I’m the only one… who has actually lowered taxes and turned around an economy,'' he said. "We all have endorsements… but in the long run it’s getting your message to the people of Florida that is the most important thing.;’