HANNITY: I'm Sean Hannity. We get to our top story tonight. Earlier today former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani filed a statement of candidacy papers. Mayor Giuliani joins us for "Hannity & Colmes" exclusive. Congratulations or condolences?
GIULIANI: A little of both. Mostly congratulations. It's wonderful thing to be organizing and putting together and it's very humbling to think that running for president of the united states is-- for a kid from Brooklyn, it's quite a step
HANNITY: you are then officially running to be the next president of the United States.
GIULIANI: Well. We still have to formally announce and do a few more things. But this is about as close as you get. We did everything you have to do I guess legally then you still have to make a formal announcement and things like that
HANNITY: Are you in it to win it?
GIULANI: Gosh yeah. That's the only reason to do it. First thing you have to do is say to yourself what can I bring to it, what can I do that's different and how can i make the country better? how can i improve it? i think the experiences that I've had as mayor of New York city, united states attorney, all of them very, very strongly kind of in the executive area where you have to have leadership and organization and focus and having dealt with a city that was really bad shape when I took over and I had to kind of turn around, i think it gives you the background to approach it and feel pretty comfortable that you can make a difference
HANNITY: Democrat were predicting this back in November. November 14th as a matter of fact. They said it's unclear whether or not Rudy Giuliani will be able to explain away the fact he has consistently taken positions completely opposite to the conservative republican base on issues they hold near and dear. That is accurate?
GIULIANI: I don't think anyone has campaigned much more than I have for republican candidates going back to 1998. I've been in 45 states on behalf of 200 candidates. All republicans. different-- sometimes differences on issues here and there. but same basic philosophy of strong foreign policy being on offense against terrorism, smaller government, lower taxes. And in my case those are things that I did. Those things I just mentioned are not just things I believe in. I lowered taxes in New York. I reduced the size of government in New York. I took a $2.4 billion deficit and turned it into a $3.2 billion surplus. And I reduced taxes over 23 times.
HANNITY: That's pretty good.
GIULIANI: Those are very conservative. On the issues-- sometimes there are disagreements. You never agree with any one candidate 100%. You don't even agree with me 100%. And I agree with you almost 100%
HANNITY: That might get you in trouble. That's the first campaign gaff. Let's talk about the controversial issues. You will be asked about them. Where does Rudy Giuliaini stand on abortion? And do you think roe v. wade is a good law or bad law.
GIULANI: I oppose it. I don't like it. I hate it. I think abortion is something that is a personal matter I would advise something against. However, I believe in a woman's right to choose. I think you have to ultimately not put a woman in jail for that. I think ultimately you have to leave that to a disagreement of conscience and have to respect the choice that somebody makes. So what I do say to conservatives because then you want to look at well okay what can we look to that is similar to the way you think. I think the appointment of judges that I would make would be very similar to if not exactly the same as the last two judges that were appointed. Chief Justice Roberts is somebody I work with, somebody I admire. Justice Alito, someone I knew when he was US attorney, also admire. If I had been president over the last four years, I can't think of any-- that I'd do anything different with that. I guess the key is and I appointed over 100 judges when I was the mayor so it's something I take very, very seriously. I would appoint judges that interpreted the constitution rather than invented it. Understood the difference of being a judge and a legislator. And having argued a case before the Supreme Court, having argued in many, many courts is something I would take very seriously.
HANNITY: So you would look for a Scalia, Roberts, Alito.
GIULIANI: Scalia is another former colleague of mine and somebody I consider to be a great judge. You are never going to get somebody exactly the same. I don't think you have a litmus test. But I do think you have a general philosophical approach that you want from a justice. I think a strict construction would be probably the way I describe it.
HANNITY: Is Roe bad?
GIULIANI: I think that's up to the court to decide. There are questions about the way it was decided and some of the basis for it. At this point it's precedent. It's going be very interesting to see what Chief Justice Roberts what Justices Scalia and Alito do with it. i think they're probably going to limit it rather than overturn it. In other words, they'll accept some of the limitations that different states have placed on it or the federal government has placed on it.
HANNITY: Partial birth?
GIULIANI: I think that's going to be upheld. I think it should be. as long as there's provision for the life of the mother then that's something that should be done.
HANNITY: There's a misconception that you support a partial birth abortion.
GIULIANI: If it doesn't have provision for the mother I wouldn't support the legislation. If it has provision for the life of the mother I would support
HANNITY: Parental notification.
GIULIANI: I think you have to have a judicial bypass. I think the court-- I mean that's the kind of thing i think the court will do with abortion. The other thing I should emphasize is while I was the mayor there's a column just written about it, abortions in New York wept down and adoptions went way up. Because we work odd adoptions as an alternative. so it would be a real choice. So that ultimately you respect a woman's choice. But it should be a real choice. adoption or if they make that choice I don't think the criminal law can deal with it.
HANNITY: I think conservatives would be happy with choices of Roberts, Scalia and Alito but there will be a disagreement on abortions.
GIULIANI: There are always disagreements. And then some people just won't be able to vote for you. You got to live with that. Reality is you got to be who you are. You got to be honest with people. If your views change you got to be willing to express it. When I was mayor my views changed. I began as mayor thinking I could reform the school system. After four years I became an advocate of choice, of scholarships and vouchers and parental choice because I thought that was the only way to really change the school system. When I started as mayor, I didn't believe that. When I went through three or four years of experience, that's what it taught me. I think you have to be willing-- you have strong ideas, strong views. but then you have to be willing to look at experience.
HANNITY: The issue of guns has come up a lot. When people talk about mayor Rudy Giuliani New York city had some of the toughest gun laws in the country. Do you support the right of people to carry handguns.
GIULANI: I understand the second amendment. People have the right to bear arms. As mayor of New York I took over at a very, very difficult time. We were averaging--
HANNITY: You inherited the gun laws in New York.
GIULIANI: Yeah. And I used them to help bring down homicide. We reduced homicide I think by 65, 70%. And some of it was by taking guns out of the streets of New York City. So if you are talking about a city like New York, a densely populated area like New York, I think it's appropriate. You might have different laws other places and maybe a lot of this gets resolved based on different states, different communities, making decisions. We do have a federal system of government in which you have the ability to accomplish that.
HANNITY: So you would support the state's rights to choose on specific gun laws?
GIUILANI: Yeah. A place like New York that is densely populated or maybe a place that is experiencing a serious crime problem like a few cities are now. Thank goodness not New York but some other cities. Maybe you have one solution there and in other place more rural, more suburban, other issues you have a different set of rule.
HANNITY: Generally speaking do you think it's acceptable if citizens have the right to carry a handgun?
GIULIANI: It's part of the constitution. People have the right to bear arms. Then restrictions have to be reasonable and sensible. You can't just remove that right. You got to regulate consistent with the second amendment
HANNITY: How do you feel about the Brady Bill on assault ban.
GIULIANI: I was in favor of that as part of the crime bill. Because I thought it was necessary to get the crime bill passed and also necessary with the 2000 murders or so we were looking at, 1800 to 2000 murders that I could use that in a tactical way to reduce crime. And I did.
HANNITY: Let me ask you about gay marriage. What do you think about the definition of marriage? Should it be between a man and woman.
GIULIANI: Marriage should be between a man and a woman. here is exactly the position I've always had. It's the same-- I feel the same way today that I did eight, ten years ago when i signed the domestic partnership legislation. Marriage should be between a man and woman and should remain that way. we should be tolerant, fair, open and understand the rights that all people have in society I. thought the best answer was domestic partnership as a way of dealing with that. so that you are recognizing the rights of people who are gay and protect them.
HANNITY: How do you feel about the borders? It's one of our most important security issues. There's talk about building a fence. Do you support that? Do you support amnesty? Do you support guest worker?
GIULIANI: I support security at the border. I think its enormously important in the post September 11th period. We have to know who is coming into this country. We have to be able to identify them and figure out who they are. I do think that with the fence-- the fence honestly has to be a technological fence. The head of my party, the new head, Mel Martinez who is a Senator from Florida, a great guy, he was being interviewed and they asked him about a fence. Do you think a fence should be put up. He said sure. He said except the only people that will pull put it up will be the illegal immigrants. I thought what the point that Mel was making was we need a technological fence. We need to be able to photograph people, see them, know who is there, record them. And then I think there has to be regularization for the people that are here. There's got to be a program to regularize the people that are here as you establish security at the border. And I would add to many of the proposals-- because there are a number of them in the house, senate and president as put forward. I would add to that at the end of the road if somebody's going to earn citizenship with-- citizenship with whatever other hurdles put in the way, at the end of the road they should be able to speak English, read English and have some knowledge of American history. Particularly if you are going to regularize somebody who in an undocumented status.
HANNITY: Does that mean amnesty.
GIULIANI: It means earning it. Here's the experience. I said I learn add lot from being mayor of New York city. We had a tremendous amount of crime. We did a survey. We figured out there are about 400,000 illegal or undocumented immigrants in New York city. The impact service deported 1500 a year that. Was the most they could deport. So I figured out I had 398,000. Now how do you handle that? What do you do with it? And then what we would catch drug dealers and criminals we'd turn them over to the immigration and naturalization service and say put them at the head of the line. get rid of the drug dealers and criminals first. They were dealing with somebody's maid and somebody who maybe was teaching at a college and just didn't have the right papers or somebody who was working in a restaurant and-- well that's all an issue. But the drug dealers and the criminals and now the terrorists are an issue. And if you have a law that isn't working, and you have thousands and thousands and millions of people, then the terrorists hide among them. We have to have a law that makes sense. and that's why I think you've got to come up with a solution that says much more security at the border, register people, document them, have english at the end of the line, but then have a system to regularize people as well.
HANNITY: You got a lot of conservatives coming on board. Latest one is George rowe. Let me put up what he said about you. Is that true? Are you ready for that?
GILUIANI: Yeah I'm as ready as anybody could be. I guess maybe more ready than some because I've--I mean I've lived through crisis. September 11th is the obviously biggest one that I've lived through. But being mayor of New York was a crisis a week and emergency every other day. You get use to it. I mean you get use to being able to keep focused, toe take advice, understand that you can't get too excited on any one situation. you got to remain very focused and remain optimistic about the result. And you got to communicate with people.
HANNITY: Let me ask about Iraq. You have been very supportive of the president and the Iraq war. Is there anything you would have done differently? Do you think there's been any mistakes made?
GIULIANI: Sure. The president has explained mistakes made.
HANNITY: If were you the president.
GIULIANI: I think he could go back and as we develop positions and explain things i think it's quite appropriate to explain well I might have done it this way or more troops, I might have done it some other way. But here's reality. We're at war. And when we're at war because they're at war with us. I mean sometimes when you listen to these debates in congress and listen to politicians debating you get the impression the they we're in control of whether we're at war or not. it doesn't matter what we think. They want to come here and kill us. And they did on September 11th. And they did a long time before September 11th. Way back in 1993 they came to this city and killed people. So we've got to put Iraq in the context of a much broader picture than just Iraq. And getting Iraq correctly, in other words, getting stability there is real important. And I support what the president has asked for support to do and what general petraeus has asked for support to do. Not because there's any guarantee it's going to work. There's never a guarantee at war. But if we can come out with a correct solution or better solution that iraq it's going to make the war on terror go better. We got to get beyond iraq.
HANNITY: Have people forgotten?
GIULIANI: It's natural. i mean, you have a terrible attack like September 11th, 2001, right in the aftermath of it there's tremendous unity. We understand that we have to be on offense against terrorists. That we have to make it bipartisan. This isn't about being a democrat or republican, it's about being an American. Now you get further away and that lesson isn't as vivid. and all wars have that happen. This is a difficult thing to do. But we've got to start getting beyond Iraq. We got to be thinking about Iran. We have to think about Syria. We have to be thinking about Pakistan and Afghanistan and making sure that the transition in Afghanistan goes correctly. We have to be ready for the fact that whatever happens in Iraq, success or failure-- success will help in the war on terror. Failure will hurt. But the war is still going on. They want to come here and kill us.
HANNITY: If you are president the baker report recommends taking down with ahmadinejad.
GIULIANI: I thought you almost can't put it up front. The minute you put it up front you give them all the leverage add take all the leverage away from us. That recommendation would have been better delivered secretly. Then you-- then through back channels you find out. Can achieve something with ahmadinejad? Can I achieve something with syria? Right now it doesn't look that way. Better thing to do Iran is to put pressure on them and let them know that we will not accept their being a nuclear power. The nightmare of the cold war was nuclear weapons in the hands of an irrational person. I don't want to live through that nightmare.
HANNITY: We're almost out of time. Who is the bigger Yankee fan, you or Hillary?
GILUIANI: We could do a debate on Yankee trivia and find out. [laughter] .
HANNITY: Your thoughts on Hillary, Barak Obama, John Edwards.
GILUIANI: I think they're 'all worthy people and going to fight it out for the democratic nomination. Right now it looks like Hillary. All you can do is look at polls. Right now she is ahead. But it's long way away. None of these races are over yet.
HANNITY: Senator McCain, Newt Gingrich.
GIULIANI: All good men. I respect all of them. I think I've campaigned with each one of them. I campaigned for mitt when he became governor of Massachusetts. I campaigned many, many times together with senator McCain. He's campaigned for me.
HANNITY: If you get the nomination do you have any doubt you would beat Hillary Clinton?
GIULIANI: I'm in this to win i. have no idea who is going to get the nomination. But you do this because you believe that you can win the nomination of your party then you believe that you are the strongest candidate to win the election for your party.
HANNITY: Name three people you would think of for vice president.
GIULIANI: Can't name vice presidents right now. I just told you three worthy people. Three great men. You can't be thinking about vice president at this point. It's enough to think about how to put this together, how to get it organized, how to get it announced, how to put together together the fundraising, what the major issues are and how to best articulate them to the American people to show leadership and strength. my campaign is going to be about the future. I mean the past is what we have to learn about how to direct America to the future. America to the future. The whole purpose of doing this is because you can make this country better.
HANNITY: As mayor of New York, I can't wait. If you were president it would be interesting. I don't think anyone's seen a press conference until they've seen a mayor Rudy Giuliani press conference.
GIULIANI: I told Tony Blair once it reminds me of the same thing he would go through every week with the question-and-answer period in the parliament. Combative. It means every single day you have to know what the heck is going on. if you don't there are at least two or three members of the press that will make you look like a fool.
HANNITY: Best of luck to you. Thank you for being here.