Giuliani’s Maiden Keynote Conference Call Goes Off the Rails

The McCain campaign just held a conference call with Rudy Giuliani–recently named the Republican National Convention keynote speaker– ostensibly to talk about an reported meeting between an Obama adviser, Ambassador Daniel Kurtzer, and Syrian government officials.

It didn’t go so well.

At one point during the call, Giuliani seemed to suggest that McCain would be open to picking a pro-choice running mate. A follow-up questioner was subsequently cut off by the McCain campaign.

Earlier in the call, a reporter asking Giuliani about his own association with hostile foreign entities seemed to disappear, mid-query, from the call entirely. (The reporter subsequently said that he was dropped.)

When asked whether McCain could pick a pro-choice vice presidential nominee, Giuliani said, "Well, any choice you make for vice president has pros and cons, that’ll be true for Senator Obama and Senator McCain."

He added, "It would seem to me that the Republican Party is not, as far as I can tell, and I have traveled to thousands of places last year, a one-issue party. And that would just be one issue among many that would have to be evaluated by the party. But I believe the party will support Senator McCain’s choice."

He also said, "You certainly want to give yourself the best chance to win. I know from talking to John McCain about this, not just now but in the past, when we both used to think about choosing a vice president when we were opponents, that our main criteria would be a person who would allow us to sleep at night, knowing that we had selected someone who could immediately be president of the United States."

Giuliani went on, "If that person happens to be, among other things, pro-choice, the party will support that." He then said the party would remain committed to ending abortion no matter who the running mate is.

That answer prompted a follow-up from a reporter from the conservative blog Town Hall.com: "Actually, my understanding is that yesterday FOX News reported the R.N.C. said McCain is no longer considering any candidates who are pro-choice. To your knowledge, is that incorrect?"

McCain aide Mike Goldfarb then interrupted, saying, "We could do a call all day about Senator McCain’s V.P. choices, frankly we’re not talking about Senator McCain’s V.P. choices until he makes a V.P. choice."

Before that, Ron Kampeas, a reporter from the Jewish news outlet J.T.A., essentially accused the McCain campaign of hypocrisy for criticizing Kurtzer for meeting with the Syrians because Giuliani, he said, has represented the company Citgo, which is owned by the Venezuelan government. He also noted that Giuliani’s firm once represented Saudi Arabian interests.

"Actually I don’t have any representations with the Saudis, that’s incorrect," said Giuliani. "And I never represented Citgo in negotiations with the Chavez government. So, both of those are factually inaccurate."

Kampeas said, "Bloomberg reported that your law firm lobbied for Huge Chavez at Citgo — is that not correct?"

"It is not correct that I had negotiations with Chavez’s government," said Giuliani. "It is correct that my law firm for many, many years — it doesn’t any longer — represented Citgo, an American corporation. But it had nothing to do with Chavez."

"And you never represented Saudi Arabia’s oil ministry in a Texas court case?" Kampeas asked.

"I never represented Saudi Arabia," Giuliani said. "I’ve never been to Saudi Arabia."

Moments later Kampeas’s line went dead.

As for the meeting between Kurtzer and the Syrian government officials, Giuliani said it amounted to "another indication of the inexperience Senator Obama has in conducting foreign policy."

Giuliani went on to say that the meeting in Syria reflected Obama’s inexperience, and added, "Which is of course the point Hillary Clinton made." He called Obama "one of the least experienced candidates for president in the last 100 years, if not the least experienced."

Giuliani’s Maiden Keynote Conference Call Goes Off the Rails