Sarah Palin instills the kind of excitement the Republican Party needs, says former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who added that the party should be thankful for her appeal to its conservative base.
The former Alaska governor and Republican vice-presidential candidate has time to hone her qualifications if she decides to seek the party's presidential nomination, Giuliani told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos Sunday.
"I think that is going to develop,” he said. “She's got two to three years to develop a case if she wants to make a case for running for president."
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Palin’s appearance this week on the cover of “Newsweek” is good for the GOP, Giuliani said, although the article is entitled: "How Do You Stop a Problem Like Sarah? She's Bad News for the GOP –– and Everybody Else, Too.”
“It shows a lot of attention is being paid to our party. She is an exciting figure in the Republican Party, and she is someone who draws an enormous amount of attention."
For example, Giuliani recalled the reaction when he took Palin to Yankee Stadium during the summer to see a game in front of what he estimated to be a “7-to-1” crowd" of Democrats in the Bronx.
"She got a great reception,” he told Stephanopoulos. “There is something extra special that Sarah Palin has in terms of reaching out to people. My party needs that kind of excitement. After all, we're a minority party."
When it was suggested Palin could drive some moderates out of the Republican Party, Giuliani said moderates should not feel threatened. Palin could push for the positions she holds, while others can propose their own views, with neither in fear of being pushed out of the GOP, he said.
“That's the kind of competition we want,” Giuliani said. “We want attention on the Republican Party. After all, it's good for a two-party system. [Palin] creates attention; she raises money; she helps candidates. I don't agree with everything that she says, but she doesn't agree with everything I say."
Giuliani said he isn’t worried that a majority of the American public doesn't think Palin is qualified to be president yet.
Appearing earlier in the day on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Giuliani told host John King: "We’re very far away from a 2012 election. Right now, I like figures who are creating interest in the Republican Party. Given the decisions that the Obama administration is making, particularly on this area of terrorism, which concerns me probably more than any other, we’re going to need some pretty strong alternatives in 2012. I don’t know if it’ll be Sarah Palin or someone else, but right now it is [about] developing interest the Republican Party. We need a two-party system and we need a healthy one.”
Palin is on tour promoting her new book, "Going Rogue: An American Life.” Her appearances this week include a five-part series on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” with the full interview on 20/20 Friday evening, and “The Oprah Winfrey Show” Monday.
A new ABC News/Washington Post poll shows that 43 percent of Americans express a favorable opinion of Palin overall, while 37 percent would consider voting for her for president. Seventy-six percent of Republicans view her favorably, while 61 percent see her as qualified for the presidency.
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