Once former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani withdrew last year from contention for the Republican party presidential nomination, he soon after endorsed his longtime friend Sen. John McCain. Now he's not only endorsing the man, he's speaking out boldly in his favor.
This past Sunday, the former mayor addressed a sizable crowd at Congregation Beth Or in Maple Glen to explain just why McCain is the right man for the job. Plus, he offered a few choice words as to why Sen. Barack Obama isn't.
Speaking from the bimah before about 100 people seated in the main sanctuary, Giuliani praised McCain and said that "we have a real opportunity to have a president who can be a great president."
The former mayor's visit was the first in an ongoing political speaker series being offered by the Reform synagogue. Over the next few weeks, politicians from both major parties, representing local and national elections, will be giving presentations.
According to Giuliani, McCain's character was "developed in a way most can't imagine." The speaker was referring to the candidate's years as a POW during the Vietnam War. Giuliani said that the experience "made him stronger," and that McCain is "suited to lead this country in what is going to be a difficult future."
Giuliani contended that, in this election, there are two points to consider when voting for someone: the security of your country and the security of your family. He said it would be "catastrophic" if the wrong man wins the election.
Obama, he said, is "not prepared at all" to lead the United States, as he has never run a city, state, business or military unit.
"He doesn't have the experience to run this business," stressed the former mayor.
To question Obama's experience and qualifications for president is not a personal attack, but is "a real issue," Giuliani added. "He doesn't have the qualifications to be president."
He said that Americans should not only be "concerned about our economy," but should keep in mind that Obama "is in denial about the Islamic terrorist threat" facing this country.
Giuliani said that no one conducts a war perfectly — that even Abraham Lincoln didn't in the early years of the Civil War — but the "reality is, President Bush has kept us safe" because he reacted strongly to terrorists. In contrast, the Democrats, he argued, have indicated a "lack of toughness" when it comes to foreign policy.
McCain has fought for the United States and is "prepared to be president on the issue of national security," said Giuliani.
Audience members had a chance to ask questions of the former mayor, whom they referred to by the more-familiar "Rudy." Some of the topics they inquired about included foreign policy vis-à-vis Israel and Iran, and McCain's running mate, Sarah Palin.
Giuliani defended Palin, citing her executive experience as the governor of Alaska and former mayor of Wasilla, and stressed that she has "more experience then the leading candidate on the Democratic ticket."
"She has accountability. I like her instincts," said Giuliani. "I go a lot on instincts. She has the instincts of a leader. Obama seems to have the wrong instincts," he said, citing the Democrat's willingness to negotiate with Iran without preconditions, and his association with '60s radical William Ayers and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
With many recent polls showing Obama with a lead in the race, another audience member asked Giuliani point-blank: "Does McCain have the chance to win?"
The answer was an unequivocal "yes."