Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said Wednesday a rift in the GOP pitting the tea party movement against more traditional stalwarts of the Republican Party could hand President Barack Obama the 2012 election.
“It will hurt if it continues,” Giuliani told Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly. “I mean, the reality is I’m going back to 2007 when I ran — at this point, we had all devastated each other and it was much more bitter. So, I mean, if there is a certain amount of debate about how far to go, how fast to go there, how much to compromise, that’s OK.
“But if it becomes a real, real battle then we hand the presidency over to Obama.” Giuliani said. “And if we nominate somebody too far out that can’t occupy the middle and win independents — then we’re going to lose. The election, as you know, as you point out often, these elections are won by who gets the independents.”
O’Reilly noted the tea party movement is not a monolith and is comprised of both moderates and those who tend to be more extreme. He asked Giuliani whether the tea party “was a good thing.”
“The Tea Party overall so far has been an excellent thing — if it wasn’t for the Tea Party, we would have had no reduction in spending,” Giuliani said. “If Obama had had his way, he would have added to the debt ceiling — he would have added to spending — he would probably be doing another stimulus program right now.”
O’Reilly countered that if Giuliani ran for president he would not garner a large segment of the tea party vote because of his stance on social issues. The former New York City mayor said that does not diminish the movement’s status.
“I think I’m objective enough to realize even if you don’t vote for me you may have a lot of good ideas for the country — I think they have some very good ideas for the country,” Giuliani said. “It depends on how far do you go with it. The reality is, you saw a split in the tea party — half the tea party, new congressmen, voted for the deal — half of them voted against the deal.”
O’Reilly noted Giuliani had taken some recent trips to New Hampshire, asked where he stood on a 2012 presidential run, and whether his finances would make ascendancy to a candidacy “an impossible climb.”
“No. It's an impossible climb maybe because of what you said earlier about where the position of the party is,” Giuliani said. “How does the party look at somebody who has views that are more socially moderate.”
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