Here’s video from Rudy Giuliani’s brief appearance at the Kings County Republican Committee’s annual fund-raiser last night, where he paid tribute to his former community assistance commissioner, Rosemarie O’Keefe.
“I wouldn’t be anywhere else tonight,” Giuliani told the audience, which gave him a warm, though not particularly impassioned, welcome. “We met in 1989 and she worked very, very hard to get me elected in 1989, [and] we didn’t succeed, but we became very good friends,” he said.
Giuliani spoke for about eight minutes, praising O’Keefe’s work with families of 9/11 victims and her efforts to build the Republican Party. He made no mention of the presidential race, nor of his plans for the future. Afterward, Giuliani shook a few hands with attendees and left. On his way out, the former mayor declined to speak with me, but stood next to his double-parked SUV while taking photos with several well-wishers.
Also attending the event was Giuliani’s close aide Tony Carbonetti, (who confirmed that Giuliani met with the state Republican chairman and discussed, in passing, the 2010 governor’s race); New York’s Conservative Party chairman, Mike Long; and former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge.
Ridge, the evening’s keynote speaker, cited security and the economy in making the case for electing John McCain.
“We need a leader that understands that our national security and our economic prosperity are tied, inexplicably linked together,” he said. “We need a leader who fits the times, not merely a candidate who thinks it’s his time.”
Afterward, I asked Ridge for his thoughts on Giuliani possibly running for governor. Ridge, who was a two-term governor from Pennsylvania before joining the Bush administration, said Giuliani would do well in that race.
“You know, there are a lot of people that thought a couple of years ago that he would run [in 2010]. And I think he would not only get a lot of support from New York, but I think he picked up a lot of admirers around the country, so I suspect that he’d have great national support if he chose to take that on. That’s a tough personal decision because he’s doing so well in the private sector.”
Later, I asked Ridge about Barack Obama’s position on terrorism — which Giuliani recently criticized.
Ridge said, “I do think that he [Obama] would [start] immediately bringing troops home from Iraq, [and that] is a horrible miscalculation, a misunderstanding of the forces at play in that region. He proudly asserts that he was against the war from the get-go. Well, that was then. That debate is over. You lost, and we’re there. Now, the question becomes, ‘What is the right approach to deal with our presence in trying to bring some stability?’”