Giuliani, Edwards Bail on Presidential Race

Rudy Giuliani and John Edwards drop out of the presidential race; Republicans debate at the Reagan Library in California.

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BILL WOLFF (Announcer): From NPR News in New York, this is the BRYANT PARK PROJECT.

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WOLFF: Live from NPR studios at Bryant Park in midtown Manhattan, New York City, this is the BRYANT PARK PROJECT. We are news and information, audaciously crossing the hopeful bridge to the 20th century. How's that?

I'm Bill Wolff.

ALISON STEWART, host:

I'm Alison Stewart.

It's Thursday, January 31st, 2008.

Tonight…

WOLFF: Yes?

STEWART: …the Democrats are going to debate.

WOLFF: Yeah, how many?

STEWART: And about two.

WOLFF: Yeah.

STEWART: One, two.

WOLFF: We're down to it. It's like Ali-Frazier I, you know, they go.

STEWART: It's going to be - I'm excited. I'm actually staying up for this debate. I have to admit I did not stay up for last night's debate. I had a very busy - I volunteered yesterday (unintelligible). I was out and about and…

WOLFF: Yeah.

STEWART: …I needed to sleep. But you…

WOLFF: I'm not accusing you of anything.

STEWART: I'm, it sounds a little bit guilty. And then I realized you were going to be sitting in on the show. For those of you just listening, Bill and I are husband and wife. And you're going to be sitting on the show and you stayed up and watched the debate. So…

WOLFF: But then I can't get enough.

STEWART: And it was that exciting?

WOLFF: It was more exciting than the antecedent Republican debate. It was better than the one last Thursday before the Florida primary…

STEWART: Uh-huh.

WOLFF: …because there's such bitterness between John McCain and Mitt Romney, so there was that sort of cringe-tastic(ph) tension going on the debate.

STEWART: And there are so many delegates up for grabs…

WOLFF: Indeed.

STEWART: …on Tuesday. What do we have coming up on the show this hour?

WOLFF: Well, for one thing, bird flu. Remember that?

STEWART: I do.

WOLFF: There's a new crisis in Bangladesh in the poultry population. But the bird to human spread of the virus has not been as bad as we have been led to believe…

STEWART: Did it…

WOLFF: …a year and a half ago.

STEWART: There were these maps on the evening news that showed it just spreading across the globe.

WOLFF: Oh, yes.

STEWART: People were completely anxiety, ridden…

WOLFF: Yeah. Well, and government warnings about pandemic.

STEWART: Yeah.

WOLFF: But it hasn't seem to happen. We don't want to jinx it or look a gift horse in the mouth. But we're going to find out the latest on the bird flu pandemic, where it stands and what's going on.

STEWART: And it is the last day of National Hobby Month. Yes, January was National Hobby Month. So we've been celebrating…

WOLFF: I thought there was something in the air.

STEWART: Well, yeah. We had been celebrating people who had sort of extreme hobbies. Today, it's extreme knitting. Look at this book. This is an intense picture book with various knitting projects which are political, there's knitting for speedy.

WOLFF: Yeah.

STEWART: We're going to explore it. Our guest is here.

WOLFF: Is there a combat knitting?

STEWART: Hello. There could be combat knitting, I don't know.

WOLFF: Needles and such?

STEWART: He doesn't look too dangerous though.

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WOLFF: No.

STEWART: And you have a story out of Boulder, Colorado?

WOLFF: Yes. In fact, Boulder, Colorado is the home of some of the largest houses in the country. And that runs contrary to the eco consciousness in the city of Boulder. So how do you balance the desire to save the environment with the desire to live in a monstrous mansion which is not exactly environmentally friendly. We will get into it with a person in Boulder, Colorado, familiar with that struggle.

STEWART: All right. We'll get to Rachel Martin very shortly for today's headlines.

But first, here's the BPP's Big Story.

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WOLFF: And then there were two.

STEWART: What about Gravel?

WOLFF: All right. Technically, and then there were three.

STEWART: That's right. John Edwards made it official yesterday, ending his run for the presidency in the city where he announced 13 years ago - excuse me, 13 months ago…

WOLFF: Yeah.

STEWART: …excuse me, New Orleans.

Mr. JOHN EDWARDS (Former Democratic Senator, North Carolina): It's time for me to step aside so that history can blaze its path. We do not know who will take the final steps to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but what we do know is that our Democratic Party will make history.

WOLFF: No doubt, Democratic contenders Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are anxiously…

STEWART: What about Gravel?

WOLFF: Woman…

STEWART: Gravel?

WOLFF: Woman, stop it.

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WOLFF: No doubt Democratic contenders Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are anxiously awaiting to hear whom John Edwards will endorse. He said he received pledges from both Clinton and Obama to continue to spotlight the issues of poverty which were the central themes of Edwards' presidential run.

STEWART: And as expected, the man The New York Times described as having a pugnacious past, Rudy Giuliani threw in the towel after his rope-a-dope campaign strategy failed to yield him Florida. Instead of its 57 delegates, they went to John McCain and in the end, so did Giuliani himself.

Mr. RUDY GIULIANI (Former Republican Mayor, New York City): John McCain is the most qualified candidate to be the next commander in chief of the United States. He is an American hero. And America could use heroes in the White House.

WOLFF: Now that is a nice endorsement.

STEWART: It really was a very nice thing to say. And I hope that Senator McCain enjoyed it. Because after the Giuliani announcement, McCain headed to the CNN-politico.com Republican debate where Mitt Romney dropped a whole lot of not so nice on him. Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee, yeah, they were there too. But McCain and Romney simply dominated the conversation.

WOLFF: Let us pick it up where it started to get ugly. And as we said, cringe-tastic. Romney said many of McCain's views were - what was it?

Mr. MITT ROMNEY (Former Republican Governor, Massachusetts; Presidential Candidate): …outside the mainstream of Republican conservative thought. And I guess I'd also note that if you get endorsed by The New York Times, you're probably not a conservative.

Unidentified Man: Senator McCain?

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Senator JOHN McCAIN (Republican, Arizona; Presidential Candidate): Let me note that I was endorsed by your two hometown newspapers…

Mr. ROMNEY: I know.

Sen. McCAIN: …who know you best, including the very conservative Boston Herald…

Mr. ROMNEY: I say the same thing.

Sen. McCAIN: …who know you well better than anybody. So I guarantee you, The Arizona Republic will be endorsing me, my friend.

STEWART: I guess they're not really friends.

WOLFF: Yes.

STEWART: It didn't end there. Later on the subject, when it turned to timetables for troops withdrawal from Iraq, this is what happened.

Sen. McCain: Timetables was the buzzword for withdrawal.

Mr. ROMNEY: Why give the (unintelligible), senator? That - why (unintelligible) I'm not using the actual quote. That's not what I said.

Sen. McCAIN: The actual quote is, we don't want them to lay in the weeds until we leave. That is the actual quote and I'm sure…

Mr. ROMNEY: What does that mean?

Sen. McCAIN: …fact-checkers…

Mr. ROMNEY: What does that mean?

Sen. McCAIN: It means a timetable for until we leave.

Mr. ROMNEY: Listen, senator, let me…

Sen. McCAIN: So…

STEWART: I'm going to jump in. I just want to cut it off there. Trust us, they kept going on like that. We'll see if there is a similar sniping when Obama and Clinton face off tonight at L.A.'s Kodak Theater. Yes, that is the same site where the Oscars are held. And a campaign advisor for the California Democratic Party says, quote, "This debate is so hot, we're getting more requests for tickets than the Oscars are getting."

WOLFF: And like the Oscars, you can find your tickets on Craigslist now.

STEWART: There are actually tickets on Craigslist for this debate.

WOLFF: Oh, bring a (unintelligible) shoot the locks off the wall and you can go to the debate too.

That is the BRYANT PARK PROJECT's Big Story.

Now here's Rachel Martin with even more news.

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