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Rep. Fossella Discusses Giuliani's Expected Departure from U.S. Senate RaceAired May 19, 2000 - 2:19 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: You have probably heard because we've been on it for well over an hour now, but in case you are just checking in, the mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani, whose had some personal problems, health problems and marital problems, announced to the nation within the past three weeks or so, has decided to pull out of the U.S. Senate race against Hillary Rodham Clinton for that seat being vacated in New York.
We have U.S. Congressman Vito Fossella on the line with us.
We lost our connection with you earlier, Mr. Fossella, we are sorry about that. Have you spoken with the mayor today?
REP. VITO FOSSELLA (R), NEW YORK: No, I haven't, but I was notified earlier this afternoon that the mayor would be announcing he was dropping out. And I think it is regrettable because he would have made a fine candidate. But nevertheless, he has his personal life to deal with, and the world will know in about an hour.
But the point I think still remains that while the messenger has changed, the message remains the same, and we are going to be, I think a united Republican Party, with probably the Conservative Party as well in New York, articulating principles, whether it is lower taxes or a strong national defense, or improving education and protecting and strengthening Social Security and Medicare the way the Republican Party has done the last several years, that's going to be the message, and I think it is going to be a united party to defeat Mrs. Clinton in November.
WATERS: Well, one of the analysis of what happened today is that there's probably some joy within the Clinton camp today over this impending announcement by the mayor. They apparently would figure that Lazio would be an easy man to beat?
FOSSELLA: Well, I wouldn't rush to judgment. You know, the people of New York are a little more sophisticated and intelligent than that, and I would never deny their common sense. I still think that Mrs. Clinton has a significant problem in overcoming the image that she's just coming to New York to run for Senate. There are still a lot of people in New York who want somebody who is from New York to represent them.
But above all, if it is Rick Lazio, he's done a terrific job as a congressman, he's well liked. As you mentioned earlier, he defeated an 18-year incumbent to get to Congress, and he is going to be articulating those issues that important to the people of New York: continuing reform welfare, to continue to create opportunities for people of New York and this country, a pro-growth business economy, whereas I think Mrs. Clinton's views are stuck in the past, and the people of New York want more of that.
WATERS: Have you spoken to the mayor at all within past three weeks or so?
FOSSELLA: We have touched base, but I have deferred to his personal decisions on this matter, this man has been diagnosed with cancer, and anybody in that position would keep my distance and hope that he made the best decision for himself and for his future. And I guess he has. He feels comfortable with that, as far as I understand, and we'll leave it at that. Time marches on.
WATERS: All right Representative Vito Fossella, congressman from New York.
FOSSELLA: Thank you.
WATERS: Appreciate it.
FOSSELLA: Thank you very much.
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