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Interview With Rudy Giuliani

Aired June 23, 2003 - 20:10   ET


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: He stepped onto the world stage on September 11 with the attack on the World Trade Center. Most recently former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani has been fighting, in his words, the world's oldest species of hatred, anti-Semitism.
And he recently spoke at the first major international conference to address anti-Semitism, and he joins me now tonight to talk about that and reports that he's begun considering his political future. Say it ain't so, sir. Good evening.

GIULIANI: Good evening.

ZAHN: Welcome.

GIULIANI: How are you, Paula?

ZAHN: I'm fine, thanks. Let's talk a little bit about what you have been enmeshed in over the last 76 hours or so. How dangerous of a world is it for Jews today?

GIULIANI: Well, I think if you look at what's been going on the last several years, the last two years in particular in Europe, things have gotten much worse. I mean the number of attacks against Jews and Jewish institutions has increased pretty substantially.

They were -- there was a tremendous increase in the fall of last year and some of that has subsided but it still continues and the worst part of the problem is that in many of the countries in Europe they don't keep statistics about hate crimes, bias-related crimes, like we do in the United States, like the FBI does, like the New York City Police Department does here and has been doing for the last 13 years.

So, you can't get a really good feeling for where the remedies have to be applied. So, President Bush and Secretary Powell put a lot of -- literally put a lot of pressure on the OSCE, which has 55 member nations mostly in Europe, to hold the first conference ever on discussing what can be done about anti-Semitism.

ZAHN: Are you concerned that you could see the kind of environment you saw in the 1930s which led to -- ultimately led to the Holocaust? Is it that grave?

GIULIANI: I wouldn't want to say it's that grave and there's -- you have two different forms of anti-Semitism. You have the 2000- year-old anti-Semitism that has infected Europe in some ways the way racism has been a problem for us, a shorter history but I mean that's been our historical burden and difficulty.

In Europe, anti-Semitism has been the historical burden and difficulty. Now you overlay that with anti-Zionism and using disagreements over Israel to really be another form of anti-Semitism in which instead of carrying it out as a political disagreement, synagogues are attacked, people are attacked because they're Jewish.

And, the purpose of this conference was to have governments throughout Europe have a uniform method of collecting these statistics, to pass hate crimes legislation, and then to institutionalize within the OSCE a review process that goes on on a regular basis.

ZAHN: Let's transition into a conversation about you, your least favorite topic. All right, you're the guy who said it on the record at "Time" magazine in our own company's publication where you talked about politics maybe being -- any run for public office maybe being a couple years away. What are you thinking about?

GIULIANI: Well, I'm not thinking about anything right now except helping to reelect the president. I just spent an hour, actually about three hours with the president and -

ZAHN: Did you write a check?

GIULIANI: Well, I helped raise money.

ZAHN: I know that.

GIULIANI: And the president was very successful in his fund- raiser here. My focus is going to be on reelecting President Bush and Dick Cheney next year. The convention is going to be here in the city of New York.

ZAHN: Yes, yes, yes.

GIULIANI: I'm one of the chairmen.

ZAHN: But that's not the question I asked you.

GIULIANI: You want to know what I'm going to do.

ZAHN: Yes.

GIULIANI: That's so far in the future, two years, three years, you can't really predict it.

ZAHN: Would you consider a run for governor?


ZAHN: Would you?

GIULIANI: I would consider running for public office again in a couple years because first of all I enjoy public service and I enjoy campaigning. I was in 30 states, I think, last year on behalf of Republican candidates and I intend to do a lot of campaigning in the next year for the president. So, at some point I'm going to want to do it again myself. I'm pretty sure.

ZAHN: Speaking of the presidency, you said it would be arrogant to talk about that office...


ZAHN: ...when it's not under serious consideration.


ZAHN: But is that something that you've ever given a glancing thought to?

GIULIANI: I don't think you do unless it's realistic and at this point my candidate for president in 2004 is President Bush and so you don't look much further down the road than that.

ZAHN: All right, so you're not committing to governor and you're not committing to Senator.

GIULIANI: Well, you shouldn't at this point.

ZAHN: It's like one of those two, maybe.

GIULIANI: Yes, we'll see what happens, God willing. I learned after September 11, having to deal with that, having to deal with prostate cancer that you don't -- politics is not your entire life. I'm having a great time right now and growing and enjoying myself and then we'll see. We'll see what happens.

ZAHN: That must be that newlywed glow?


ZAHN: You're coming up on that one month anniversary.

GIULIANI: It is. President Bush made it clear that I did one thing very similar to him.

ZAHN: And that is?

GIULIANI: I married above myself.

ZAHN: Judith (unintelligible) and you're happily married. Finally question to you there is a picture that got a lot of attention last week of you shaking the former president's hand. There have been reports that maybe you were reluctant to. Can we set the record straight?

GIULIANI: Not at all. Not even close to being true.

ZAHN: We'll eventually see the picture. I was going to say imagine this. Now there it is. GIULIANI: It was one of the stories where I woke up that morning and I saw it on the front page of the paper and said, first of all I didn't even know that President Clinton was going to be at the same event.

It was a charity event involving Joe Torre and Magic Johnson for Samsung, and of course I -- I was at an event with President Clinton two weeks before. You know we have different politics. We have a different view philosophically of the world but he's a former president. I respect him and, of course, I would shake his hand and I've done it before.

ZAHN: Yes, and his wife just said some harsh things about the rhetoric you used in leading into the Senator's campaign.

GIULIANI: Oh, we all say -- we all say harsh things about each other every once in a while but it doesn't mean that, you know, you don't shake hands or you're not together and you can't get together over important charities for children which is what this was.

ZAHN: Well, great to see you. This is a real handshake.

GIULIANI: So, I went there and I got there on time to shake hands with him.

ZAHN: Mayor Giuliani.

GIULIANI: And that was a real handshake too.

ZAHN: Great to see you.

GIULIANI: Take care.

ZAHN: And best of luck to you and Judith.

GIULIANI: Thank you.


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