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Behind the Giuliani Campaign

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Behind the Giuliani Campaign

Election 2008

Behind the Giuliani Campaign

Behind the Giuliani Campaign

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Mike DuHaime, campaign manager for Republican presidential candidate Rudolph Giuliani, talks with Michele Norris. This is one of a series of conversations with people behind the scenes in the presidential campaign. DuHaime says the new primary schedule presents challenges — and opportunities — for the former New York mayor, and lays out Giuliani's road map to win the Republican nomination.


From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Michele Norris.

During this presidential race, we're checking in with people behind the scenes in the campaigns. Up today, Mike DuHaime, the campaign manager for Republican Rudolph Giuliani. DuHaime says the new primary schedule presents challenges and opportunities for the former New York mayor. He laid out Giuliani's road map to win the Republican nomination.

NORRIS: Well, I think it is one to do well certainly in the early primaries - Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, continue to hold a very special and important place, and are primary system for both parties. I think what has changed in this election compared to previous presidential elections is that there are other states that are going to be very important as well.

NORRIS: I heard you say that the plan is to do well in those early contests. I didn't hear you say to win in those early contests. Is this the case where you're hoping or not expecting to see a victory until you get to Florida later in the campaign?

NORRIS: Well, generally, what happens in the earlier contests is that it serves to kind of weed out the large number of candidates, obviously, in the Republican field right now. You have approximately 10 candidates, almost as many in the Democrat field. And generally, what happens is Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina tend to whittle that field down to two or three, or maybe even four strong candidates.

So I think it behooves any campaign to have a long-term strategy. I'm confident the mayor will do well, but also know that the campaign likely won't be decided in those first two or three states.

NORRIS: I want to turn, if I could, to other issues at play in the campaign. Rudolph Giuliani has said repeatedly that the Republican Party should not be defined by particular hot button issues, particularly abortion and gay rights. And yet, in order to win the nomination, he has to win support from conservative voters who look at him and see a candidate who's pro-choice, who's been a champion of gay rights, who's been a man who has been married three times, who's someone who supports gun control. So when they look at this candidate, what's the sales pitch that he makes, particularly to those conservative voters who are very wary about what they see?

NORRIS: I think many folks who look at Republican politics from the outside make a fundamental mistake in terms of thinking that all conservative voters are somehow single-issue conservative voters and are not capable of looking at the many issues that face anybody who is going to be president.

Really, when you look - the reason Mayor Giuliani generally leads both with conservatives - self-identified conservative voters with evangelical voters is generally because of his strong stance in the terrorist war against us. The majority of people in the Republican Party obviously want us to stay on offense in the terrorist war on us. And they believe Mayor Giuliani is somebody who can do that.

The other thing that I think people perhaps haven't seen yet or given credit to, but is bearing out in many of the polls is that Mayor Giuliani has a tremendous amount of common ground with many conservatives. For example, pro-life voters - if you look at Mayor Giuliani's record when he was mayor of New York, he created a culture of personal responsibility. And one of the things he did on that was to cut the red tape on adoption. And adoption skyrocketed while he was mayor. At the same time, abortions went down, and they went down about 30 to 40 percent faster than the national average.

NORRIS: Now, I've heard you on offense. I want to hear you on defense. What is the biggest negative that the former mayor has to overcome?

NORRIS: You know, I think, some ways, it's the perception among folks that he will not garner conservative support. And I think it's a faulty perception, but nonetheless a perception that the more it is talked about on radio and on television, you know, can sometimes take on a life of its own.

I find it sometimes humorous that over the course of the year, where the mayor has probably led in over 95 percent of the national polls, there continues to be this doubt as to whether or not he can win. And certainly, no doubt that he can be our nominee and likely will be.

NORRIS: Doubt expressed, though, by members of his own team. I mean, there was that campaign memo that was leaked earlier this year that suggested that the negatives were so great that he might actually drop out of the race at some point.

NORRIS: Well, I think that's a no.

NORRIS: Well, it's not just the media that's been discussing this.

NORRIS: That is certainly a long time ago. And any campaign would do itself a disservice without looking at the strengths and weaknesses of every candidate in the race including oneself.

NORRIS: What is his vision? What is his campaign as reduced to not one paragraph, but one sentence?

NORRIS: Mayor Giuliani is somebody who will keep America safe in a terrorist war on us and keep us moving forward towards an economy that is prosperous, and one that gives opportunity to all people at every level of the economic spectrum.

NORRIS: You know, if you remove the words Rudolph Giuliani, and inserted the words President Bush there, there are really remarkable similarities in that statement.

NORRIS: Well, I mean, it goes to a philosophy, a philosophy of what's important in this country. And Mayor Giuliani thinks that President Bush got certainly the most important decision of his presidency correct. And that was one that says we are not going to have the mentality of sitting back on defense anymore.

NORRIS: Are you saying that a Giuliani administration would be a continuation of the Bush presidency in many aspects?

NORRIS: I think every administration will be vastly different. They are two different people. When you look at some of the important things - and the economy has done very well under President Bush. So in many ways, I think, you know, Mayor Giuliani being similar to President Bush in terms of those goals is a very good thing.

NORRIS: Politically risky at all to make statements like that, though, given the president's current popularity rating.

NORRIS: People can analyze whether things are about politics or not. The bottom line is that candidates for office need to do what is correct, policy wise, and let the politics take care of itself.

NORRIS: Michael DuHaime, I've really enjoyed talking to you. Thanks so much.

NORRIS: Thank you, Michele.

NORRIS: Michael DuHaime is campaign manager for Republican presidential candidate Rudolph Giuliani.

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