CNN's Chetry: 'Is GOP Trying to Paint Clinton Into a No-win Situation?'

Kiran Chetry with Rudy Giuliani, CNN American Morning| NewsBusters.orgFormer New York City Mayor and Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani was interviewed on Wednesday's "American Morning" by co-host Kiran Chetry about Senator Hillary Clinton's Tuesday night speech to the Democratic National Convention. After Giuliani argued that Clinton never answered the "big question" surrounding Senator Barack Obama of whether he is ready to be Commander-in-Chief, Chetry asked: "Well, what I'm wondering though, you know, is the GOP trying to paint her into a no-win situation? If she started bringing up some of Barack Obama's weaknesses that she talked about in the primary, she would have been panned for that."

Giuliani responded by saying that Clinton wouldn't have to actually bring up anything she's said about Obama's readiness to lead during the Democratic primary, she could have simply "talked about how she's gotten to know him, how much she believes in him, his character, his strength."

Chetry then brought up the Democratic talking point that Senator John McCain's term as president would continue the last eight years of President George Bush's presidency. She mentioned that some McCain supporters claim the senator is a maverick on issues such as campaign finance reform. However, the co-host was not convinced. She asked: "But really, how will McCain show besides those things that he is different from the Bush administration?"

Later in the interview, Chetry reported on a new CNN/Opinion Research poll that shows Obama beating McCain on the issue of the economy by 51 to 43 percent. She then asked Giuliani: "Has the economy become a Republican weak spot?"

This is when Giuliani went off on the media's love affair with Obama:

No. Actually, given the nature of Barack Obama's coverage, the enormously favorable coverage he received that even Governor Rendell complained about the other night, it's remarkable that he has such a small edge on the economy.

The former mayor then talked-up Obama's plan to raise taxes and how Americans will start to realize that would ultimately be bad for the country's economy. Chetry then jumped in and questioned McCain's plan to lower taxes: "How do you pay for it all? If you lower taxes and lower the corporate tax by 10 to 15 percent, how do you pay for it all?"

Giuliani cut right to lowering spending which he explained McCain has been a "hawk" about in Congress. He also said that both Republicans and Democrats have run away from cutting spending and that McCain would bring us back to "good, sound, American economics."

A transcript of the segment follows:

7:27 a.m. EDT

CHETRY: Well, we've heard she brought the house down. Hit a home run. She did what she needed to do. But as Democrats desperate for unity rally behind Hillary Clinton's speech last night, what does a former presidential candidate for the other side have to say about it?

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is here with his reaction this morning. Mr. Mayor, great to see you.

RUDY GIULIANI (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Good to see you.

CHETRY: There was Hillary Clinton's speech. What did you think?

GIULIANI: I thought it was an excellent speech and from the point of view of being a Republican and a big supporter of John McCain, I appreciated the fact that it seemed to be a very technical speech about being a Democrat, supporting him as a Democrat, but she never answered the big question. The claim she made during the primaries was he wasn't prepared to be president of the United States. She never said that.

And, of course, during the day it got compounded by Bill Clinton having that speech that he gave in which he talked about candidate X and candidate Y. And he said there may be a candidate X that you agree with but you don't think is prepared to be president. And a candidate Y that you half agree with but you do believe is prepared. Who would you vote for?

Hillary never answered the question who is candidate X and who is candidate Y.

CHETRY: Well, you know --

GIULIANI: And I think that left a big gap.

CHETRY: Well, what I'm wondering though, you know, is the GOP trying to paint her into a no-win situation. If she started bringing up some of Barack Obama's weaknesses that she talked about in the primary, she would have been panned for that.

GIULIANI: Well, she doesn't have to say that. All she had to say is he's prepared to be president. She never said it. She could have talked about how she's gotten to know him, how much she believes in him, his character, his strength.

I think the reason that woman is undecided about supporting Barack Obama, the woman who is very close to Hillary Clinton, is nothing really came from the heart here. This was a very good speech. They clearly agree on the issues.

Now, Barack Obama is clearly Bill Clinton's candidate X with whom you agree on the issues but don't think is prepared to be president.

CHETRY: Well, we'll see.

GIULIANI: But I mean, we'll have to see what Bill says tonight. I'd like the answer from Bill as to who is candidate Y and who's candidate X. That was a very interesting thing that he did and at a very, very inauspicious time for Barack Obama.

CHETRY: You know, another big theme last night for many of the speakers was that a vote for McCain means a vote to continue four more years of the Bush administration. And I know, and we've talked to a lot of John McCain supporters who say, look, he's a maverick. On examples like campaign finance reform, he's gone against the Bush administration. But really, how will McCain show besides those things that he is different from the Bush administration?

GIULIANI: John McCain was a supporter of the surge, you know, for several years before the surge happened and a critic of the administration for not doing it. In fact, a much stronger critic than I think any of the Democrats. And John McCain was right about the surge and Barack Obama was wrong about the surge.

So this is a silly kind of Democratic thing that isn't going to work which is why their convention I don't think is succeeding. There are reasons to attack different candidates. You cannot say if you really watched politics for the last eight years that John McCain is a continuation of George Bush. Just not so.

They agree on certain things. They disagree on certain things. And where John McCain disagreed he got in trouble in the Republican Party for being so strong about it.

CHETRY: You know, it's interesting because another place they disagree with is about how they would handle the economy, what they would do about taxes.

We have new poll out this morning. This is a CNN/Opinion Research poll showing that voters think Barack Obama would be better to handle the economy by a 51 to 43 percent margin. Has the economy become a Republican weak spot?

GIULIANI: No. Actually, given the nature of Barack Obama's coverage, the enormously favorable coverage he received that even Governor Rendell complained about the other night, it's remarkable that he has such a small edge on the economy.

The reality is that as the Americans get to know his plan to raise taxes, raise tariffs, and bring us towards socialized medicine and create a poverty fund for the world, I think Americans will realize that this would be the worst thing you could do to the economy. John McCain is going to stick to the things that worked for President Kennedy, President Reagan, and President Bush.

CHETRY: How do you pay for it all? If you lower taxes and lower the corporate tax by 10 to 15 percent, how do you pay for it all?

GIULIANI: How about you lower expenses? Which John McCain has been a hawk about all during the time he's been in Congress. After all, he came in with Ronald Reagan and he believes in the two twins of fiscal conservatism which is lower taxes but also significantly lower expenses which is what I did as mayor of New York City. That's how I paid for it. I lowered expenses. It's something that Republicans and Democrats have both run away from in the last four or five years. But John McCain can bring us back to that. And that is good, sound, American economics.

CHETRY: All right. It's great to talk to you this morning. A little surreal to see DNC right behind you in the background. Good luck at that convention and I'm sure -

GIULIANI: It might look a little better next week.

CHETRY: In Minneapolis, St. Paul. Rudy Giuliani, great to see you. As always, thanks.

GIULIANI: Thank you.