Politics & Government

Giuliani points to tax cuts, welfare record to woo conservatives

Rudolph Giuliani.
Rudolph Giuliani. Gary O'Brien / Orlando Sentinel

WASHINGTON — Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani delivered pointed jabs at his Republican opponents Friday and sharp body blows to the top three Democratic presidential candidates, claiming that he's the only person running for president who has lowered taxes and reduced welfare rolls.

Speaking to a convention of fiscal conservatives, Giuliani claimed their mantle as his own.

"A lot of people are going to come here, and they're going to be talking about tax cuts and spending cuts and economic results," Giuliani said. "But I point out to you that I'm the one who has the record of results from doing each and every one of those things, not once, not twice, but in many cases eight, nine, 10, 12 times against very, very big odds."

Giuliani said he cut or eliminated taxes 23 times during his eight years as New York's mayor. Research by FactCheck.org using data supplied by the nonpartisan New York City Independent Budget Office shows that Giuliani can take credit for a majority of the 23 cuts he touts, but he also takes credit for eight cuts that were initiatives from state lawmakers in Albany.

Giuliani didn't criticize any specific Republican opponent while touting himself as the party's top fiscal conservative candidate. But his remarks appeared to be aimed at former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who, like Giuliani, is courting Republican voters by campaigning on a fiscally conservative record.

Romney attacked Giuliani's social and fiscal conservative credentials on Thursday in Manchester, N.H. He took Giuliani to task for once opposing a presidential line-item veto and for supporting a commuter tax when he was mayor.

Giuliani told American Prosperity Foundation conventioneers Friday that his fiscal conservatism is unquestionable.

"Rhetoric's important. Ideas are important. The most important things are results," he said.

Giuliani also mocked three leading Democratic presidential candidates: Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C.

Giuliani said all three of them would raise taxes if they won the presidency, and he offered a once unlikely model as a sharp contrast:

"Even France is considering tax cuts under (President Nicholas) Sarkozy," he said. "Even France!"

Giuliani used another foreign comparison to blast Clinton's proposed $110-billion-a-year health care plan.

"And when our medicine becomes socialized under Hillary Clinton, just where are the Canadians going to go for their health care?" he said. "We at least know that (filmmaker) Michael Moore will be OK. He'll go to Cuba."

Clinton's plan would rely on existing private health insurers and employer-based plans, but would create a government-run alternative for those who prefer it.

For more on Giuliani's record as a tax cutter: