Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani — appearing at an early morning fund-raiser in Toledo to raise cash for U.S. Senate candidate Josh Mandel — defended Mitt Romney’s now-infamous remarks about “the 47 percent” and also advised the presidential hopeful to “play politics” about the Obama administration's 2009 bailout of the auto industry.
Mr. Giuliani, who sought the Republican nomination for the presidency in 2008, also relaunched his accusation of a White House cover-up regarding the Sept. 11 killing of the US ambassador to Libya — something that is becoming election fodder. Like other Republicans, Mr. Giuliani seized on confusion over the death of Chris Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi.
“We cannot stand four more years of Barack Obama,” Mr. Giuliani told about 100 people listening at the fund-raiser at the Dorr Street headquarters of Health Care REIT Inc.
“We can’t stand that kind of damage to our economy or what you see unfolding in Libya. The kind of cover-up that took place. The death of four brave Americans,” he said. “Republicans get held accountable. Democrats get let off the hook. It’s a simple fact of the media being 70 to 80 percent Democrat, which you have here. If what happened in Libya happened under George Bush, the New York Times would be writing editorials talking about impeachment right now.”
He also blasted US ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice for her comments five days after the killings, in which she said they were part of a spontaneous anti-US protest.
“[The New York Times] would be talking about how could a UN ambassador go out there and call this a spontaneous incident five days later when the whole world knew it was an Islamic, extremist terrorist attack,” Mr. Giuliani said. “I knew that two hours after I found out about the attack.”
Mr. Giuliani also said the auto bailout has “played out” very favorably for President Obama.
“I sympathize with Mitt because I thought the bailout was illegal ... it took property without due process of law,” he said. “He has to moderate his position on it because he is running against the tide... Right now, politically, that’s one you’d rather not raise. I still think he has a chance to win Michigan. The only thing holding him back in winning Michigan is probably his opposition to the bailout, so maybe that would’ve been an area in which it would have been better he played politics.”
Mr. Mandel is running for U.S. Senate against Democrat Sherrod Brown, which is among the most expensive political races in the nation.
Sadie Weiner, spokesman for Senator Brown, said Mr. Giuliani’s comments about the auto bailout indicate how dangerous Mr. Romney’s and Mr, Mandel’s stance on the issue is for the Republicans.
“At the end of the day, Josh Mandel opposed the auto industry rescue that helped to save or protect 850,000 jobs in Ohio, and many in the Toledo area,” Ms. Weiner said. “Josh Mandel can bring in as many Republican surrogates as he wants, but it won’t change the fact that he called Sherrod un-American for supporting the auto industry... The idea that the auto rescue is all about politics is cynical and exactly what is wrong with his candidacy.”
The former New York mayor acknowledged Ohio’s importance as “the center of the political universe” since the swing state could decide the presidency along with the race between Mr. Mandel and Mr. Brown.
“We need a United States senator from Ohio who is going to represent the real interests of Ohio ... not just the left wing agenda of the United States Senate,” Mr. Giuliani said.
Mr. Romney’s “47 percent” comment was the topic of a question Mr. Giuliani was asked by an attendee of today’s fund-raiser.
The Republican presidential nominee, during a fund-raiser in May at a supporter’s home in Boca Raton, Fla., told wealthy donors that 47 percent of Americans are freeloaders who see themselves as “victims,” cannot be persuaded to take personal responsibility for their lives, and will support President Obama “no matter what.”
Mr. Giuliani said Mr. Romney should be proud of the remarks.
“If I were Governor Romney, I would say that I am glad I had the courage to raise an issue nobody else would raise — that too high a percentage of Americans are not paying taxes and that it’s dangerous when we start to get to half of the country not paying taxes,” he said “And what I want to do is put those people to work so they can pay taxes and I think Gov. Romney should not be embarrassed about his remark.”
Mr. Giuliani said Mr. Romney could have said it in a better way.
“It’s the same thing with all this nonsense about Big Bird,” he said. “Why are we supporting a radio station? When I became mayor of New York, we owned two radio stations... and I sold them for then, $38 million.... In my world where I grew up communist countries own radio stations.”
Ohio Sen. Mark Wagoner (R., Ottawa Hills), who introduced Mr. Mandel today, joked about the staggering cost of the campaign and the number of negative advertisements.
“I’ve never seen anyone with such a big smile after $21 million of negative ads,” he said referring to Mr. Mandel.
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