Thursday, September 30, 2010

Rudy Ready for Return to the Ring

Rudy Giuliani, visiting Seattle to endorse Dino Rossi, raise funds for Dave Reichert, and officially open a new branch for his law firm, sat down with Q13 FOX News for the following interview, in which the former New York City mayor and presidential candidate gave the clearest indication to date that he intends on pursuing the presidency again in 2012.

Q: Let's talk a little more about clean energy and clean tech. You guys are kind of focused on that. You're going to be holding a roundtable. What are you telling people about clean tech because, politically, it's been tough. It's been tough to sell.

GIULIANI: Well, you know, I think the focus on cap-and-trade has kind of warped a little of the discussion of all this because cap-and-trade, whether you agree with it or not, would be unrealistic right now because the technologies don't exist for people to avoid the emissions. Cap-and-trade would make more sense, if at all, if there were those technologies. And that's where we should be spending our time on. We should be spending our time developing clean technologies. Technologies that allow us to produce the energy that we need without the emission of carbon, without endangering the environment. Or technologies that reduce that risk, even if we can't get that perfection right away. And our firm has been involved in this for decades, before it even had a title like 'clean tech.' We've represented companies and government agencies in every aspect of this. So, it's something that we have both in Texas, because of our presence there, and a long history with the energy industry. Because of our presence in Washington with a very strong government-relations arm. Our presence in New York where a lot of the financing is done. This is something where we can really help companies that are seeking to, in some way, enter into clean tech, whether we're talking about wind, or solar, or we're talking about bio-fuels, or remediation situations -- hybrid vehicles, electronic vehicles. All these things offer a great deal of hope. No one of them is a magic bullet, which sometimes in the past has been like a mistake that's been made. But each one of them, if they make, the way I've always looked at it, if they make a 10 or 15 percent contribution, you add up enough 10 or 15 percent contributions, and you're at 100 percent.

Now, I think we understand that. And we understand all aspects of it. We understand the start of the financing. The local, state and federal relations that are involved, the taxing issues that are involved. So, we think this is a good place to build that practice that we have a lot of experience in.

Q: How do you get from point A to point B, and what's government's role in that?

GIULIANI: In developing a law firm, or getting clean tech? (Laughs)

Q:  No, we know you're an expert in developing a law firm. But, in terms of implementing clean tech, this technology, obviously is going to take a partnership between government and the people funding the research, and the implementation, and also private industry as well. So, what's the answer? It's a really tough economy right now, and you know, here in Washington, we've got Hanford, the biggest cleanup site in the whole world there. And we've also got some great wind farms just over the mountains in eastern Washington. So, how do you sell it, and how do you put all the pieces together, especially in terms of what government's role is?

GIULIANI:  Well, the research and development dollars from the federal government, I think, come out to about $5 billion. That is substantially less than, what is it, $60 or $70 billion in defense? And it's less than the pharmaceutical companies spend. I mean, Pfizer alone spends five or six billion on research and development on pharmaceutical products, which, of course, are enormously important. So, whether the answer is on the private side or the government side, there has to be an answer. And I think, probably, the answer comes from both. I'm generally a bigger believer in private financing. I think the way the pharmaceutical industries have financed the development of our miracle medicines and our cures for cancer, and our remediation for cancer, and heart disease -- almost all of that has come from the private sector. It's had some government help.

Q: A lot of it. NIH is tremendously helpful.

GIULIANI: But the amount of government dollars dwarfs in comparison to the private dollars the pharmaceutical companies have put in for medical research. On the defense side, it's been largely government. So, here there should be a greater government -- $5 billion is too little, but then there also should be private dollars, venture capital dollars, other dollars, that follow this. This is the business of the future. Not enough visionaries have recognized that yet. People in China recognize it. This is the business of the future. Whoever solves the transition problem for energy. It won't be one person. It will be many. But, whoever gets involved in that solution, they're going to be the great companies of the future. The government can help by seeding that vision, but that vision has to happen in the private sector.

Q: I want to ask you about -- you did such a great job in New York, of turning the public safety issue around. And here in Seattle, here in King County, we're really facing big budget shortfalls for next year. And both governments yesterday came out with their revisions of how much money in Seattle -- it's something like $67 million they have to cut from the city budget -- so, I wanted to ask you, if you were, I mean, we have to solve the public safety issue, and they're saying, that we're not going to probably investigate a lot of property crimes, because we just can't. So, if you were to advise them, given your background, in coming up with the solutions in New York. What would you say, in a tough economy, how do you keep law and order?

GIULIANI:  In a tough economy, cutting law enforcement is like repeating the mistakes of history. In my city, in the 1970's, New York City almost went bankrupt. New York City did a massive revision based on a directive from the State of New York to cut its budget. And the mistake that was made, it cut its police department, with everything else. Cut its police department down to the lowest they've ever been. Crime began to soar, and it took us 30 years to get control -- 30 years. It took us until 1994 or '95 to get control of it. Well, I would say then, cut everything but law enforcement. I know that sounds like special pleading for law enforcement, but it isn't. It's special pleading for the community. Because when you go through difficult times, that's just when crime can start to really emerge. And, there are a lot of strategies for fighting crime. I used the Broken Windows theory. I used the CompStat program. I used community policing. But, it wouldn't have worked if we didn't have enough police officers. I had to add roughly 5,000 more police officers. And that cost more money. So, I faced a deficit when I became mayor of New York City, as big or bigger than the deficits now, and 10 percent unemployment. I cut everything. I cut all spending -- spending I agreed with, spending I disagreed with; except I increased the size of the police. I took a tremendous amount of criticism for that. People don't criticize anymore because crime is down 70 percent.

New York City went from being the crime capital of America to being the safest large city in America. It developed the CompStat program that won the award from the Kennedy School of Government as the most innovative program in government. You've got to have priorities. That's what governing is about. Ronald Reagan demonstrated that in the 1980's. He cut everything but the military. Had he cut the military, I'm not sure the Soviet Union would be gone, or at least it wouldn't have been gone as fast. So, part of leadership is exercising a vision and having priorities. Priorities should be -- you should only spend as much money as you have. And when you're in a fiscally damaging situation, you need to do the same thing a family or a business does -- government should. You figure out what your realistic revenues are going to be, without raising taxes, without driving people out, because then the revenues will decrease. And then, you cut your budget to meet those revenues. If you, in your family, knew your expenses were now $2,000 a month, but you're only earning $1,500 a month, you would go and cut $500 from your spending, no matter how difficult it was, to stay at $1,500. That's what government has to do. It's got to be what I call results-oriented. If you need a five percent reduction, it has to be a five percent reduction. And if you have to eliminate a few things from that, like say in a family budget, you have to eliminate medicines. You need the medicines, maybe to stay alive or function, then you eliminate that from the cuts. So you eliminate the police. Virtually everything else has to be a part of it.

Q:  I want to get your take briefly on the mid-term elections coming up. I'd like just, first of all, just for you to give me your take on the political landscape right now. We've seen the Tea Party emerge to the right of many Republicans, and unseating some of them. How would you fit in, in this scenario, if you were in the political game today.

GIULIANI:  I never fitted in perfectly with any movement or group or ideology because I've never -- I've always felt I was an independent person having to exercise my own independent judgment about things. And I'd almost feel like I'd lost my ability to give people creative solutions if I started to think of myself as defined solely by an ideology.

But I understand the Tea Party movement, completely, and I see it differently than maybe some of the critics do. I see it as a grassroots movement that began with the anger at higher taxes, and the anger at out-of-control government spending, and the anger at a growing government, and has become much deeper than that. It's become, a sort of sense that, maybe, with this massive government build-up, we're beginning to lose some of our liberty and freedom. And that's in jeopardy. And I think that's why you see the emotion.

This has reached something that doesn't always get reached in America. And that is Americans' great desire for, in each generation, a little bit more freedom of choice; a little bit more reliance on the private individual. And that's where I see the Tea Party movement. Are there excesses? Of course. Are there some people that shouldn't be there because they're crazy? Yeah, but there are Republicans, Democrats, liberals, conservatives, and Independents who have some people that are crazy. Everybody has that group. We could find them in every group.

But the core of the Tea Party movement is a reaction to big government and it's a very quintessential American feeling. After all, America is the only country I think that really has developed to an art form the desire to keep government limited. I mean, think of all these European governments, social democracies. They’re gigantic. Asian governments. African governments. They began under this authoritarian, large model. It’s our coutry that has given the world an understanding that the most creative kind of government, the most productive kind of government, is the least government. Government where necessary. But not where it isn’t necessary, because government is largely inefficient when it operates in the areas where the private sector should be operating.

The Tea Party, I think, is driven by the fact that this administration of President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid – have gone further in the direction of big government than any administration in history, and appears to have a very, very strong anti-business bias -- anti-big business, medium-size business, small business. They seem to want to have the government take over the decision-making because they believe the government can decide it better.

Q:  How big a swing do you think we’ll see away from the Democrats?

GIULIANI:  I think we’re going to see a very big swing away from big government. I think that the results of this big government have been catastrophic. The president did a stimulus program. The stimulus program was supposed to reduce unemployment below eight percent. Unemployment is above nine percent. It was supposed to create two million jobs. We’ve lost two and half to three million jobs. His results, with regard to his vision of big government and social democracy for our economy, have been catastrophic. Our economy, which wants to recover, his programs have held back that recovery.

Why are people uncertain about investing? They’re uncertain about investing because they have no idea what President Obama is going to do about our tax rates next year. Here we are, just a short way away from next year, and we have no idea if the tax rates are going to be the same, 20 percent higher, 30 percent higher, in some cases, 50 percent higher. That creates uncertainty. That’s created solely by the lack of decision-making on the part of the Obama administration.

Q:  If you were in the White House through this whole crisis, what would you have done differently? I know that’s probably a four or five-hour answer if you…

GIULIANI:  No, real quick. I would have immediately cut spending to fit the reduced revenues. I would have used it as an opportunity to make government efficient as I did when I was mayor of New York City. I always found when we had deficits easier to govern, and do a budget, because you didn’t have a lot of money to throw around. This administration did just the opposite. At a time of a very deep recession, they spent more money than we’ve ever spent before. They took our federal deficit to the highest levels any president had ever had. President Obama has added more to the deficit than our last ten presidents combined. Now, this is an extraordinary thing to do in the middle of a recession. And if we’re wondering why we’re not coming out of it, we’re not coming out of it because of the grossly inefficient spending that was done by this administration. They have put a burden on us that is making it very, very difficult for the economy to revive, even though it wants to.

Q: I know that a lot of people are wondering if and when you'll get back into the political game. I know you're busy right now, but could you foresee a day under the right circumstances that you would come back?

GIULIANI: Well, first of all, I feel like I am partially in the political arena anyway. I do spend a great deal of time working in my law firm, Bracewell Giuliani. A great deal of time working with my security firm, Giuliani Partners. But, that gives me the opportunity, including giving speeches, to go around the world. I was in South Africa earlier this summer -- or the middle part of the summer. I'm going to Scotland and Colombia a little later this year. So, I spend a lot of time traveling. I'm very involved in security issues all over the world. And I'm very involved in this election because I really do think we have to put a stop to the massive overspending of the Obama-Pelosi era. So, yeah, I see myself at some point getting, re-- I just don't know when yet. A lot of it will depend on what kind of conclusions I draw at the end of this election cycle; about what the Republican party needs. I believe we need the strongest possible alternative to President Obama's administration because I believe that they are determined, and are trying, and have already taken steps to take us to a different kind of economy -- more like a European social democracy economy rather than the quintessential American private economy that made us so great.

Q:  In term of security, I mean, we’re looking out at the waterfront here in Seattle, and security is something we’re always thinking about, especially post-9/11. What do you think America’s vulnerabilities are that you’re concerned about right now?

GIULIANI:  Well, I’m always concerned about it because of something President Bush used to say, which is that we couldn’t be right just 99 percent of the time. We had to right 100 percent. And they’re always thinking of something new, something different.

I think, just without giving away any secrets, I’ll just state what has already been stated many times, but it’s kind of obvious. We’ve spent a lot of time dealing with airport security, and with that, we still had breaches of it, like on Christmas Day, which only because he was inefficient, not because of security, was that attack on Detroit foiled. But, with that, we have pretty good airport security.

The ports have not gotten the attention that the airports have gotten. They’re harder in some ways, and in other ways, they’re not, because you can get more control over the shipments. We’re not dealing with individual rights and individual liberties, and we’re dealing with cargo. And there are a lot of things that could be done that would make the ports more secure. A lot of it has to do with being able to search the cargo at the port of embarkation, where it’s first loaded, and then using technology to trace it as it comes to Seattle or Los Angeles or New York, or wherever. And that’s an area that should be getting the same emphasis that airport security gets because this is a heck of a way to attack us if they focus on it. And I know it’s getting more, but this is probably late in coming.

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