At a fund-raiser last night for his one-time deputy mayor Joe Lhota, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani not only came out swinging against Democratic officials’ counter-terrorism policies, he blasted this year’s crop of Democratic mayoral candidates, saying neither they–nor President Barack Obama–had ever held a real job.
Mr. Giuliani, one of Mr. Lhota’s biggest backers as he seeks the Republican nomination for City Hall’s top job, touted his former attack dog’s record in the private sector and as the city’s once-budget director.
“That’s exactly what we need. Not these career politicians who have never really held a job. Like our President, who never really held a job,” he said, to laughs, according to footage of the speech at the Excelsior Grand in Staten Island, captured by blogger Jacob Kornbluh.
Mr. Giuliani went after the Democratic candidates for being too closely aligned with local labor unions, whose endorsements are expected to play a key role in the race.
“The Democratic candidates are going to be owned by the unions,” he said, according to the footage, pointing to the fact that all of the city’s unions are now operating without contracts, waiting to strike more sympathetic deals with the next administration.
“What they’re signaling to us is they want a lot more money than they think Mike Bloomberg would give them,” said Mr. Giuliani, warning that, with the wrong person in charge, the city could easily endure a repeat of the fiscal crisis of the 1970s, when the city was on the verge of bankruptcy. “What they are threatening to do is to take that crisis into ruination which will result in ridiculously high taxes and the fleeing of business from Nee York City.”
Mr. Giuliani also did his best to woo the Staten Island crowd, touting Mr. Lhota’s “obsession” with the borough, which Mr. Giuliani carried to Gracie Mansion when he first won.
“You are the hard-core middle class and upper-middle class of this city. We need a mayor who understands that this city is not all about Manhattan,” he said, in a not-so-subtle shot at the current mayor. “You haven’t had that, really, since I was the mayor.”
In fact, Mr. Giuliani appeared to have a generally gloomy view of the city under Mayor Bloomberg, lamenting that things just can’t get any worse.
“With all the crime and all the deficits and all the unemployment and all of the welfare, my slogan was, ‘Vote for me, you can’t do any worse,'” Mr. Giuliani said of his own campaign platform. “Well you know something? That slogan applies today. You can’t do any worse. And in fact you will do worse, a lot worse, if you don’t elect Joe Lhota.”
Still, he acknowledged that Mr. Lhota is facing an uphill battle for the mayoralty. While Mr. Lhota leads his fellow Republicans, he remains far behind all of the major Democratic candidates in recent polls. Mr. Giuliani urged the crowd to pony up contributions to make him a viable candidate.
“We cannot give this city back to a bunch of Democratic machine politicians,” he argued.
We reached out to the Democratic candidates, but did not immediately receive any responses.