Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani has some advice for the GOP presidential candidates following his own failed presidential campaign in 2008: move away from social issues.
"People focused a lot on what I did as mayor [with] Sept. 11, so I went high in the polls," Giuliani told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program
Tuesday, but where he got slammed was on his social views, which tend to be moderate enough that he got tagged as a liberal.
"My opponent started focusing on that I was pro-choice," said Giuliani. "Donald [Trump] announced he is pro-life, which is easier in the primary. I'm pro-gay rights. At the time gay marriage wasn't a big issue. I'm now pro-gay marriage. I signed the first partnership bill ever signed by anyone."
And eventually, the issues got to the voters, and his celebrity status "negated" his campaign, said Giuliani.
The party needs, overall, to put the focus back on the economy and national security, he said.
"Where it gets to social issues, the party might disagree with me," said Giuliani, but I think that's our soft underbelly. And I look at it differently. That's where we lose the suburbs."
Meanwhile, the former mayor, who knows Trump well as a Manhattan real estate developer, said that he was laughed at when he said the former reality TV star could get the GOP nomination but he compares him to late President Ronald Reagan.
"He is an extraordinarily smart guy," said Giuliani on Trump. "He learns on the fly. He picks things up very, very quickly.... We have never seen his intellect. It is a big intellect, strong intellect."
Many people underestimate Trump because of his persona, Giuliani said.
"I compared him, and I got really criticized, to Ronald Reagan," the former mayor said. "He [Reagan] always had one great advantage. He was always underestimated. He was always the dumb actor."
And Trump has been underestimated from the beginning, but there are other good candidates, said Giuliani, like Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who he called "superbly talented," and Jeb Bush, who "has everything except the charisma thing."
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