Keep America on the offense, Giuliani says

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Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani made a campaign stop Wednesday, May 9, at the Tuscaloosa, Ala., headquarters of Randall-Reilly Publishing, publisher of CCJ, eTrucker.com, Overdrive and Truckers News.

Giuliani, a former New York City mayor, told the crowd of about 800 people that the two biggest concerns for all Americans are fighting the war on terrorism and continued economic growth. On both these fronts, “it’s much better to be on the offense than the defense,” he said.

America is involved in a war right now, Giuliani said, although “sometimes it doesn’t feel that way. We’re safe sitting here today.” It’s a dangerous war, fought in a way Americans aren’t used to, against a group of people who “spend the day trying to figure how to kill us,” Giuliani said. “They’ve already done it.”

After the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, which he called the first terrorist attack on U.S. soil, “We reacted like it was another crime, not like it was an act of war,” he said. Ten conspirators in that case went to prison after being convicted in civilian court of criminal charges. That bombing occurred a few months before Giuliani, then an attorney in private practice, was first elected mayor.

Democrats want to put the country on the defense by giving our enemies a “detailed schedule of retreat,” he said, referring to the push by some congressional Democrats for a timetable to get out of Iraq. “Do we keep the Patriot Act intact or cut back on all of that?” he asked. “We have to assume we’ll be attacked again and be ready for it.”

On the economic front, Giuliani accused Democrats of wanting to follow Europe’s example of big government and government-mandated health care. “We need a Republican president and Republican Congress, to make sure the Democrats don’t spend us into oblivion,” he said. Yet he acknowledged that the previous Republican-led Congress had “done a good job on many things but not on spending.”

Giuliani suggested simply not replacing half the 42 percent of federal employees who are coming up for retirement. “Why don’t we start getting the federal government to act like a business?” he said.

On immigration, he said the United States needs to know everyone who’s coming here from a foreign country. He called for a tamper-proof I.D. card and said immigrants must pledge to pay their fair share in taxes. Those who won’t sign up shouldn’t get immunity, Giuliani said: “That would be wrong.” Immigrants also should take a test to prove they can write and speak English, Giuliani said, a suggestion that brought applause from the audience.

Alabama’s presidential primary is Feb. 5, 2008, and among likely Republican voters in the state, Giuliani leads the pack of GOP candidates with 29 percent, according to a current Alabama Education Association poll. Alabama’s electoral votes have gone to a Republican in every presidential election since 1980, when Ronald Reagan was elected to his first term. The latest nationwide CNN poll shows Giuliani barely ahead of GOP rival John McCain among registered Republicans, 25 percent to 23 percent.