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Giuliani's responses at the CNN/YouTube debate

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These are exherpts from the November 28, 2007 Republican YouTube debates. These questions were directed to and answered by candidate Rudy Giuliani.

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (CNN) -- Ernie Nardi: This is Ernie Nardi from Dyker Heights in Brooklyn, New York, with a question for the ex-Mayor Giuliani.

Under your administration, as well as others, New York City was operated as a sanctuary city, aiding and abetting illegal aliens.

I would like to know, if you become president of the United States, will you continue to aid and abet the flight of illegal aliens into this country?

Cooper: Mayor Giuliani?

Giuliani: Ernie, that was a very good question. And the reality is that New York City was not a sanctuary city. (OFF-MIKE) single illegal immigrant that New York City could find that either committed a crime or was suspected of a crime. That was in the executive order originally done by Ed Koch, continued by David Dinkins and then done by me.

The reason for the confusion is, there were three areas in which New York City made an exception. New York City allowed the children of illegal immigrants to go to school. If we didn't allow the children of illegal immigrants to go to school, we would have had 70,000 children on the streets at a time in which New York City was going through a massive crime wave, averaging 2,000 murders a year, 10,000 felonies a week.

The other two exceptions related to care -- emergency care in the hospital and being able to report crimes. If we didn't allow illegals to report crimes, a lot of criminals would have gone free because they're the ones who had the information.

But, most important point is, we reported thousands and thousands and thousands of names of illegal immigrants who committed crimes to the immigration service. They did not deport them. And what we did, the policies that we had, were necessary because the federal policies weren't working.

The federal policies weren't working, stopping people coming into the United States. If I were president of the United States, I could do something about that by deploying a fence, by deploying a virtual fence, by having a BorderStat system like my COMSTAT system that brought down crime in New York, and just stopping people from coming in, and then having a tamper-proof ID card.

Michael Weitz: Good evening. There are thousands of people in Canada and Mexico waiting to come to America legally. They want to become American citizens. They want to be part of the American dream. Yet, there are those in the Senate that want to grant amnesty for those that come here illegally.

Will you pledge tonight, if elected president, to veto any immigration bill that involves amnesty for those that have come here illegally?

Thank you.

Cooper: Because this was a direct mention of Mayor Giuliani, we have to allow you to respond. Thirty seconds, please.

Giuliani: New York City was not a sanctuary city. New York City did three exceptions. The three exceptions were to allow children to go to school, to allow those illegal immigrants who were the victims of crime to report the person who assaulted them, beat them up, mugged them.

And third, to allow emergency care in the hospitals, which we were required to do by federal law. We had a policy of reporting every single illegal immigrant other than those three who commit any kind of crime or were suspected of crime, and we reported thousands of them to immigration service. Few of them were deported.

Cooper: Since we're on fiscal matters, I would be remiss if I didn't ask this question, since it did just break a couple hours ago. This is to Mayor Giuliani. Politico broke a story a few hours ago questioning your accounting of taxpayer dollars as mayor.

They say that as mayor, the report says you took trips to the Hamptons and expensed the cost of your police detail to obscure city offices.

One, is that true? And, if so, was it appropriate?

Giuliani: First of all, it's not true. I had 24-hour security for the eight years that I was mayor. They followed me everyplace I went. It was because there were, you know, threats, threats that I don't generally talk about. Some have become public recently; most of them haven't.

And they took care of me, and they put in their records, and they handled them in the way they handled them. I had nothing to do with the handling of their records, and they were handled, as far as I know, perfectly appropriately.

Andrew Fink: Hello. My name is Andrew Fink, and I have a question for Rudy Giuliani.

Mr. Giuliani, at a recent NRA convention, you stated that it's every American's right to be secure. Yet, on March 21 of the year 2000, The Boston Globe quoted you as saying, "Anyone wanting to own a gun should have to pass a written exam."

Considering the Constitution grants us the right to bear arms as a means of protection, why do you believe that citizens should be required to pass an exam in order to exercise their right to protect themselves and their families?

Thank you.

Cooper: Mayor Giuliani, 90 seconds.

Giuliani: Andrew, what I believe is that we have to be very aggressive about enforcing the gun laws that exist. I had a city in which, when I took over, there were 2,000 murders a year, 10,000 felonies a week. And I enforced the gun laws very aggressively.

I enforced all laws very aggressively. And that's the reason we reduced shootings by 74 percent. We reduced homicide by 67 percent. And we went from being one of the most dangerous cities in the country to being one of the safest.

As far as that's concerned, what I believe is, the Second Amendment gives people an individual right to keep and to bear arms. Government can impose reasonable regulations. Generally, those reasonable regulations would be about...

(Audience booing)

Cooper: Let him answer.

Giuliani: Let me finish. Generally, those reasonable regulations would be about criminal background, background of mental instability, basically the ones that are outlined in the opinion of the judge who wrote the Parker decision, Judge Silverman. And if those regulations go beyond that, then those are unconstitutional.

I think states can have a little bit of leeway. New York could have a somewhat stricter rule than, let's say, Kentucky. Texas might have different rules than Ohio. But generally, you've got to comply with this rule.

Now, the Supreme Court's going to decide this. The Supreme Court's going to decide this, probably within the next six months. The Parker (ph) case has been taken to the Supreme Court. They're going to decide whether it's a right that pertains to the militia -- which I don't believe it is -- or is it a right that is a personal right. I believe that it is.

And I will live by that. And people will be allowed to have guns. I'm not going to interfere with that. Generally, decisions are going to be made on a state basis. And they're going to have to comply with the Constitution.

Cooper: Mayor Giuliani, your campaign manager week called Governor Romney a mediocre one-term governor. On the issue of fighting crime, is he a crime fighter?

Giuliani: The governor has a mixed record in fighting crime. For example, murder went up by 7.5 percent. Burglary went up. One other category of violent crime went up. Some categories of violent crime went down. So, it would be fair to say it's a mixed record.

The reality is, I had a very strong record in doing precisely what the young man was asking about. And that is reducing crime in specifically neighborhoods that would be regarded as poor neighborhoods, the neighborhoods that had the most crime.

For example, in Harlem, we reduced crime by about 80 percent. We reduced shootings, overall in the city, by 74 percent.

The city of New York was one of the most dangerous cities in America, and particularly in the neighborhoods this young man is worried about, they were really dangerous.

They are not that way anymore and we made the changes with the CompStat program, the broken windows theory and with very, very good leadership.

Questioner: Hello, my name is AJ. I'm from Millstone, New Jersey. I would all of the candidates to give an answer on this. If hypothetically, Roe v. Wade was overturned, and the Congress passed a federal ban on all abortions and it came to your desk, would you sign it? Yes or no?

Cooper: Mayor Giuliani?

Giuliani: If Congress passed a ban on all abortions throughout the United States?

Cooper: If Roe v. Wade was overturned and Congress passed a federal ban on all abortions and it came to your desk, would you sign it, yes or no?

Giuliani: I probably would not sign it. I would leave it to the states to make that decision.


I think that that -- the problem with Roe against Wade is that it took the decision away from the states. If Roe against Wade were overturned because it was poorly decided, if the justices decide that, it would them go back to the states, and it would seem to me that that would be the answer.

The answer is that each state would make a different decision. I don't believe, in the circumstance that you asked before, that it should be criminalized. I think that would be a mistake unless we're talking about partial birth abortion or late-term abortion.

I think you should have parental consent. I think we should have access to adoptions instead of abortion. But, ultimately, I think these decisions should be made on a state-by-state basis.

Joseph: I am Joseph. I am from Dallas, Texas, and how you answer this question will tell us everything we need to know about you. Do you believe every word of this book? Specifically, this book that I am holding in my hand, do you believe this book?

Cooper: I think we've got a question.

Mayor Giuliani?

Huckabee: Do I need to help you out, Mayor, on this one?



Giuliani: Wait a second, you're the minister. You're going to help me out on this one.

Huckabee: I'm trying to help you out.

Giuliani: OK. The reality is, I believe it, but I don't believe it's necessarily literally true in every single respect.

Giuliani: I think there are parts of the Bible that are interpretive. I think there are parts of the Bible that are allegorical. I think there are parts of the Bible that are meant to be interpreted in a modern context.

So, yes, I believe it. I think it's the great book ever written. I read it frequently. I read it very frequently when I've gone through the bigger crises in my life, and I find great wisdom in it, and it does define to a very large extent my faith. But I don't believe every single thing in the literal sense of Jonah being in the belly of the whale, or, you know, there are some things in it that I think were put there as allegorical.

Yasmin: Good evening, gentlemen. My name is Yasmin and I hail from Huntsville, Alabama.

My question has to do with the current crisis in Iraq, as well as the U.S. efforts in Afghanistan.

After living abroad, personally, in the Middle East for a year, I realized just how much damage the Iraq war and the perception of invasion has done to the image of America. What would you do as president to repair the image of America in the eyes of the Muslim world?

Cooper: Mayor Giuliani, 90 seconds?

Giuliani: Well, the most important thing to do is to make certain we remain on offense against Islamic terrorism.


And then make it clear that what that means is this is a small group of people, Islamic terrorists, who have defiled a great religion, that the vast majority of people who are Islamic, the vast majority of people who are Arabs, the vast majority of people living in these countries are good people. We should be trading with them. We should have contact with them. We should expand our contacts with them. We should have cultural exchanges with them.

The night of September 11th, 2001, when we were beginning to recover -- or, not really recover, but maybe just first catch our breath after the attack of September 11th, you'll see one of the first things I said was I said to the people of my city and then probably to the people of America that we should not engage in group blame.

We shouldn't do the thing that we're being attacked for. We shouldn't blame an entire group of people for the horrible acts of a few people who have distorted a great religion. They have turned it into an ideology of hatred and an ideology of violence.

By the same token, we can't do what the Democrats do. We can't put our head in the sand. You've got a Democratic debate and not a single one of those Democratic candidates used the word "Islamic terrorism." I don't know who they think they're offending. The people they're offending are the people we want to offend -- the Islamic terrorists ...


... and not decent people like Yasmin. We are intelligent enough and good enough as Americans to make this distinction.

Sam Garcia: Hi. My name is Sam Garcia.

I'm from Colorado Springs, Colorado. The following question is for Rudy Giuliani. Mr. Giuliani, a while back, a friend and I were having a discussion about you and some of the other Republican candidates.

He blatantly made this statement somewhere along the line: Rudy Giuliani is using September 11, 2001, to propel himself into the White House. My question to you is: How do you respond to this accusation and other accusations similar to it?

Cooper: Ninety seconds.

Giuliani: Sam, what I say is, I would like people to look at my whole record. Long before September 11, 2001, I was the third-ranking official in the Reagan justice department.

During that period of time, I actually did something about illegal immigration. I played a large part in stopping the Haitian illegal immigration into south Florida. I negotiated the agreement with the Haitian government that allowed us to put a Coast Guard cutter in the waters outside Port-au-Prince, as well as the legal agreements that were necessary to do the examinations there.

And this terrible problem that was going on that was also leading to the loss of life was ended, or at least ameliorated tremendously.

I was United States attorney in the Southern District of New York. I prosecuted thousands of organized crimes figures. I prosecuted Sicilian Mafia members, never done before in an American court.

I was mayor of a city that was described as one of the greatest turnarounds of any city in the history of America. George Will said I ran the most conservative government in this country, most successful conservative government in this country in the last 50 or 60 years. This is all before September 11th, 2001. I reduced taxes. I reduced spending. I reduced welfare. I reduced abortions, increased adoptions.

These are all things that I did before September 11, 2001. And the reason that I believe I'm qualified to be president of the United States is not because of September 11th, 2001. It's because I've been tested. I've been tested in a way in which I ran the third-largest government in this country, the 17th-largest economy in the world, and I got very, very remarkable results.

And that is the evaluation of other people, not me.

David McMillan: Hi, my name is David McMillan, and I'm from Los Angeles, California. On a variety of specific issues -- gay marriage, taxes, the death penalty, immigration, faith-based initiatives, school vouchers, school prayer -- many African Americans hold fairly conservative views.

And yet, we overwhelmingly vote Democrat in most elections. So my question to any of the Republican candidates here is, why don't we vote for you?


Cooper: Mayor Giuliani?

GIULIANI: We probably haven't done a good enough job as a party in pointing out that our solutions, our philosophy, is really the philosophy that would be the most attractive to the overwhelming majority of people in the African American and Hispanic community.

Whether they are upper middle class, rich, middle class or poor, the -- good education is something that everyone in all these communities and all communities want. The idea of choice in education is something that would totally turn around education in this country. It's something that large percentages of African American and Hispanic parents support. They would like to be able to choose a private school, a parochial school, a charter school, home-schooling for their children.

Instead, they have the government telling them that their child has to go to an inadequate school.

So there are many, many issues on which we can reach out. I found that one of the best was moving people off welfare. I moved 640,000 people off welfare, most of them to jobs. I change the welfare agency into a job agency, and all of a sudden I had people that had a future, people that had great hope in life.

I think the reason that crime not only declined in New York more than anyplace else, but continues to decline, is that many of those people who were hopeless 10, 12 years ago, now have hope. They have a future. They have gotten the genius of the American way of life. We haven't made it available to all people, and we have to do that.

We will be a very popular party in those communities.

Dr. Hank Campbell: Good evening. My name is Dr. Hank Campbell. I'm in Lake Worth, Florida. My question is our infrastructure. It's been estimated that to fix the bridges, the tunnels, the power grids, the water delivery systems in this country will be in excess of $2 trillion -- that is "t" for "trillion" -- and it is plural.

Who among the candidates here is willing to step forward and begin to articulate the very difficult sacrifices which we need to make in order to start repairing America? Thank you.

Cooper: Mayor Giuliani?

Giuliani: Well, I faced a situation like this, a microcosm of it in New York City. New York City hadn't invested in infrastructure for a very, long time. I had kind of gotten through its fiscal crisis that way. We started a long-term capital investment program on the infrastructure. My predecessor started it. I continued it. I turned it over to my successor and it really has done I think remarkable work in rebuilding the infrastructure of New York. That's what America needs.

It can't be done by one president. This is something where you're going to need a succession of presidents to have a sustained program. Probably we should have budgeting that allows for -- we can't really have a capital budget under federal budgeting, but we could have a separate accounting.

So that kind of budgeting is long-term, because this is going to help America over a 20- or a 30-year period. Most of the time when we're spending money, as Senator Thompson said, we're spending the next generation's money and we shouldn't be doing that. Fiscal conservatism is about preventing that.

But when we're rebuilding our roads, rebuilding our bridges, building new bridges, rebuilding our infrastructure, that's actually going to benefit the next generation and the generation after. And there are ways to spread that out over a long period of time.

But it needs a sustained program, and it cannot be done just by the federal government. It needs to be done as a partnership with state and local governments. And I believe I'd be in a good position to lead that.

Chris Krul: Giuliani, can you explain why you being a lifelong Yankees fan, that this year, after the Yankees lost everything, you rooted for the Red Sox in the postseason? Can you explain that position for me?


Cooper: Mayor Giuliani?

Giuliani: Hey, Krul. Hey, Krul. I'm Giuliani. He's Krul. So I'll explain it to him like in Brooklyn.

I'm an American -- I'm an American League fan. I root for the American League team when they get into the World Series. I've done it for 50 years. I actually rooted for the Red Sox...

(Audience member booing)

Giuliani: Can't help it. I'm an American League fan. I rooted for the White Sox, the Tigers, the Red Sox.

As soon as the World Series are over, I rooted for the Yankees again. We're gonna beat you next year.


I unfortunately have lost a bet already, to John McCain, with the Arizona Diamondbacks, so I don't have a 100 record. But I do point out that when I was mayor of New York City, the Yankees won four world championships.


And -- wait, wait, wait.

I wanted to put this -- I wanted to put this in our reel, but they cut it out, so I'm going to get it in -- and since I've left being mayor of New York City, the Yankees have won none.

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