Giuliani Too 'Hawkish,' 'Hard Line' and 'Neocon' for NYT and NBC

“The people guiding” Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani “in his foreign policy message...are drawing some attention,” NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams announced Thursday evening in advancing the news agenda of a front page New York Times story which ominously warned Giuliani “is consulting with, among others, a particularly hawkish group of advisers and neoconservative thinkers” and that has “raised concerns among some Democrats.” Reporter Ron Allen explained how “New York's former Mayor takes a hard line when it comes to facing America's adversaries like Iran” and treated it as newsworthy that “among the Republican hopefuls, it is Rudy Giuliani who has most closely surrounded himself with so-called neoconservative foreign policy thinkers, many from the Bush-Cheney administration.” Giving credit to the source of NBC's story idea, Allen relayed the paper's rogues' gallery of those who have advised Giuliani: “This morning's New York Times lists advisors who have called for profiling Muslims at airports, another who favors ending the U.S. ban on carrying out assassinations, and the author of 'The Case for Bombing Iran.'”

Allen soon found great wisdom in a commentator not usually considered so wise by journalists: “It was the neoconservative voices in the Bush administration that most forcefully made the case for invading Iraq, a decision even some conservative Republicans say was a disaster.” Viewers then heard from Pat Buchanan, long outside of the GOP mainstream on Iraq, denouncing neoconservatives: “If these people, the neoconservatives, are Rudy Giuliani's foreign policy team, a vote for Rudy is tantamount to a vote for permanent war.”

An excerpt from the top of the October 25 front page New York Times article, “Mideast Hawks Help to Develop Giuliani Policy,” by Michael Cooper and Marc Santora:
Rudolph W. Giuliani's approach to foreign policy shares with other Republican presidential candidates an aggressive posture toward terrorism, a commitment to strengthening the military and disdain for the United Nations.

But in developing his views, Mr. Giuliani is consulting with, among others, a particularly hawkish group of advisers and neoconservative thinkers.

Their positions have been criticized by Democrats as irresponsible and applauded by some conservatives as appropriately tough, while raising questions about how closely aligned Mr. Giuliani's thinking is with theirs.

Mr. Giuliani's team includes Norman Podhoretz, a prominent neoconservative who advocates bombing Iran "as soon as it is logistically possible"; Daniel Pipes, the director of the Middle East Forum, who has called for profiling Muslims at airports and scrutinizing American Muslims in law enforcement, the military and the diplomatic corps; and Michael Rubin, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute who has written in favor of revoking the United States' ban on assassination.

The campaign says that the foreign policy team, which also includes scholars and experts with different policy approaches, is meant to give Mr. Giuliani a variety of perspectives.

Based on his public statements, Mr. Giuliani does not share all of their views and parts company with traditional neoconservative thinking in some respects. But their presence has reassured some conservatives who have expressed doubts about Mr. Giuliani's positions on issues like abortion and gun control, and underscored his efforts to cast himself as a tough-minded potential commander in chief.

And while Mr. Giuliani, like other New York mayors, liked to be seen as conducting his own brand of foreign policy from City Hall, he had little direct exposure to many of the specific issues the next president will confront and is still meeting for the first time with some of his advisers to develop detailed positions on particular subjects.

Mr. Giuliani has taken an aggressive position on Iran's efforts to build a nuclear program, saying last month it was a "promise" that as president he would take military action to keep the Iranians from developing a nuclear weapon.

Warnings like that one and his reliance on advisers like Mr. Podhoretz, who wrote an article in June for Commentary magazine called "The Case for Bombing Iran," have raised concerns among some Democrats.

Mr. Podhoretz said in an interview published Wednesday in The New York Observer that he recently met with Mr. Giuliani to discuss his new book, in which he advocates bombing Iran as part of a larger struggle against "Islamofascism," and "there is very little difference in how he sees the war and I see it."...
The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the closed-captioning against the video to provide this transcript of the October 25 NBC Nightly News story:
BRIAN WILLIAMS: All of this brings us to the campaign trail, and a look tonight at the still developing foreign policy of the leading Republican in the race, Rudy Giuliani. Like others in his party, Giuliani talks tough on Iran and tough on terror, he mentions 9/11 constantly, but it's the people guiding Giuliani in his foreign policy message who are drawing some attention as we hear tonight from NBC's Ron Allen.

RON ALLEN: On the campaign trail, New York's former Mayor takes a hard line when it comes to facing America's adversaries like Iran.

RUDOLPH GIULIANI, OCTOBER 16: If I'm President of the United States, I guarantee you we will never find out what they will do if they get nuclear weapons because they're not going to get nuclear weapons.

ALLEN: Among the Republican hopefuls, it is Rudy Giuliani who has most closely surrounded himself with so-called neoconservative foreign policy thinkers, many from the Bush-Cheney administration. This morning's New York Times lists advisors who have called for profiling Muslims at airports, another who favors ending the U.S. ban on carrying out assassinations, and the author of "The Case for Bombing Iran," in Commentary magazine, his comments posted online.

NORMAN PODHORETZ, COMMENTARY MAGAZINE: All the other available options have proved to be sterile.

ALLEN: It was the neoconservative voices in the Bush administration that most forcefully made the case for invading Iraq, a decision even some conservative Republicans say was a disaster.

PAT BUCHANAN, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR: If these people, the neoconservatives, are Rudy Giuliani's foreign policy team, a vote for Rudy is tantamount to a vote for permanent war.

ALLEN: Giuliani's supporters insist it is a policy that projects strength, a conservative approach that analysts say also may help blunt criticism of his not very conservative views on social issues like abortion. Giuliani's chief foreign policy advisor says he listens to a wide range of ideas, and dismisses the accusation that neoconservative voices are louder than any others.

CHARLES HILL, Giuliani Foreign Policy Advisor: Mayor Giuliani has his own foreign policy. He doesn't listen to people other than those who can possibly contribute to his own view of the world.

ALLEN: Critics worry the advice he's getting will lead to conflicts, while the Mayor insists he knows how to keep America safe. Ron Allen, NBC News, New York.
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center