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Giuliani says he has transition plan

Giuliani says he is
Giuliani says he is "open to the idea" of continuing as mayor past the end of his term.  

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said Wednesday he has devised a plan to keep the city unified during the transition to a new mayor, but would not discuss it publicly until he has spoken with all three of the men still in the running to succeed him.

Giuliani, who said he has broached the subject with "one or two" of the three candidates who emerged from Tuesday's primary with a chance of winning the job, did not rule out that he might try to make a third consecutive bid himself.

In an interview taped Tuesday with CBS and broadcast Wednesday on 60 Minutes 2, Giuliani was more straightforward about his desire to continue as mayor past December 31, when his term ends.

"I am open to the idea of doing it," he said.

"You can't have invested the kind of time and effort and love ... without having a great concern that we developed all this expertise and this is the time the city needs it most."

Asked if he is available, he did not hesitate. "Yes, I couldn't walk away from it. I'd feel like I'm walking out on my duty and obligation if I did."

Tuesday's primary narrowed the Democratic field to two: Public Advocate Mark Green and Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer. The party nominee is to be decided in a runoff election October 11.

Businessman Michael Bloomberg locked up the Republican Party's nomination. The general election is scheduled to take place in November.

"What I'd like to do is to maintain the unity that exists in the city," Giuliani told reporters. "I'm going to talk to them and try to come up with something that unifies the spirit, the strong spirit of unity. I think it's my obligation to try to maintain it."

Giuliani would not specify what that plan might be until after he has spoken with all the candidates. "After the conversations, I'll tell you if we've succeeded in coming up with something that unifies. I hope we do."

Asked when that might be, he said, "In the next couple of days, hopefully. Maybe within a day or so."

New York, Giuliani said, "is still the best city in the world, but it's going to need a lot of help, it's going to need a lot of assistance, it's going to need a lot of unity, and it's going to need politicians who think outside the box -- who think outside the old way in which we practice politics."

Giuliani said his plan "allows us to handle this in the best interests of the city."

Asked if he envisions a job for himself other than mayor, he said, "I don't want a job. I meant an approach to how we handle this that we agree on."

"There are now three candidates for mayor. We don't know which one of them is going to be the mayor. So I'm going to present them with a proposal that, as the current mayor, who has, I think, the best interests of the city at heart, that I think will help to unify the city.

"I want to see if I can get their agreement. It has nothing to do with me. It has to do with the city."

Giuliani, who is barred from serving a third consecutive term under the city charter, was asked about reports that he is seeking a way to eliminate the term limitation.

"That's a possibility," Giuliani told reporters. "We might do that. But I'm much more hopeful that we can work out a unified approach to handling this."

Green was nonplused: "He's not on the ballot, he won't be on the ballot," the Democrat said.

Bloomberg wasn't enthused either. "I don't know what his plans are. I'm going to go and run my campaign and I certainly would hope to have the mayor's support in that."

Ferrer's press secretary said the candidate had not spoken with Giuliani.

Giuliani said he has been so busy since the attacks that he has not had the time to talk at length with Gov. George Pataki about the possibility of running for a third term, nor has he had the chance to grieve for the people he knew who are dead or missing.

After one funeral service, "I went into the bathroom by myself and locked the door and just cried for four or five minutes," he said.


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