Rudy Gets Testy in NH

During Rudy Giuliani's campaign sweep through New Hampshire this week, he found generally receptive, if sedate, audiences as he talked about national security and the economy in town-hall-style meetings, or baked beans and baseball at a roadside grocery.   

But at one point, at least, I saw Giuliani show a side of his personality perhaps more familiar to New Yorkers who remember him from his days bashing ferrets. 

At a town hall-style meeting with about 100 voters at a technical college in Concord on Tuesday, Giuliani encountered a voter who asked why the former mayor made "New York City a sanctuary for illegal aliens."

"You must be talking about another candidate," said Giuliani, who went on to argue that his administration urged the federal government to deport as many illegal immigrants as possible.

"Here are the three areas that you have distorted into this view that I gave sanctuary to illegal immigrants," said Giuliani, turning his back on the voter and addressing the other voters, seated on couches and loveseats around him.

He said that, as mayor he had to make sure that all kids went to school, that everyone needed access to hospitals and that illegal immigrants needed to be able to inform the police about crimes without fear of deportation.

"That's why you are wrong," said Giuliani.

"As mayor of New York City," he said. "If I was nothing else, I was rational and sensible."

Giuliani's emphasis on immigration used to be different. He once told Meet the Press that, "There isn't a mayor or a public official in this country that's more strongly pro-immigrant than I am, including disagreeing with President Clinton when he signed an anti-immigration legislation about two or three years ago, which we got some amendments of to protect the rights of immigrants."