For the second time in 2007, former New York City Mayor and presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani was in town to rake in more dough, but he also made a quick public appearance on State Street before heading out to Lancaster and Las Vegas for more fundraising.
Fresh off securing former California Gov. Pete Wilson‘s endorsement this morning, Giuliani headed up to Santa Barbara, where he attended a private fundraiser at the Four Seasons Biltmore. Organizer David Lack said that about 225 people attended the event, and more than $100,000 was raised. Spotted in the crowd at the fundraiser were hosts Andy Granatelli and Mary Belle Snow, as well as Calvary Chapel pastor Ricky Ryan, actress Bo Derek, oil deep-diver Lad Handelman, and former Carpinteria City Councilmember Greg Gandrud.
Giuliani was running almost an hour behind schedule, but those in attendance didn’t seem worried, lunching on a taco salad with chicken, iced tea, and rolls. Granatelli got up on stage and had the crowd laughing, informing them he felt it was a good time to let everyone know that he too would be running for president. Granatelli was followed by comedian and talk show host Dennis Miller, who told the crowd that Democrats spend too much time trying to figure out how to solve the problem of greenhouse gases, and that he had solved the problem. “Just get rid of the greenhouses,” he told the audience. He went on to crack more jokes about Sen. Larry Craig and Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad‘s recent visit to the United States. As Miller was speaking, Giuliani arrived from the lobby, and the crowd greeted him with a standing ovation.
During his 25-minute talk, Giuliani didn’t seem worried about competing with any other Republican candidates, but instead focused on the leading Democratic candidate, New York Senator Hillary Clinton. He told the crowd he didn’t get to listen to last night’s Democratic debate, but that he was “very disappointed” in what he read from the transcripts. “I’m very, very proud that I was a big figure in their debate,” he said. They all seemed caught up in his position on Iran, he said. Giuliani’s stance comes down to how to deal with tyrants, dictators and terrorists, and what you will allow them to do and what you won’t. “It’s very clear to me that Iran should not become a nuclear power,” he said. “Military option should not be taken off the table.”
Clinton, he said, was asked that what to do, and “she’s still answering that question,” he said to laughter. Despite being a lawyer and being good at language, he didn’t understand what she said. “I think what she said is that she wouldn’t make the commitment,” he said. “This is a new era in Clintonian speak. It doesn’t include a yes, it doesn’t include a no, it includes some vague indications of what she might or might not do.”
Barack Obama was asked the same question, and he said he would leave a military on the table, Giuliani said. The indecision of the candidates, he said, encourages the enemy.
Giuliani also tackled questions about immigration and the war in Iraq, and said that if Democrats are put in power, taxes will go up, and more control will go into the hands of the government. Later on, he said he doesn’t want to see a big civil work force, and that as government workers retire, he’d fill only 40 percent of the slots that open. He wants to end illegal immigration, and is encouraging Bush to erect a fence along the border with Mexico, money for which was allocated months ago, he said. “We’re not trying to hurt people,” he said later, “we’re trying to help.”
At Joe’s Cafe this afternoon, Giuliani rolled up in a black Cadillac CTS followed by a Cadillac Escalade at around 3:30 p.m. After talking with a few people outside the restaurant, he entered to applause from customers and workers. Giuliani, followed by a large throng of media, stopped at almost every table at the bar, signing autographs and taking photos. He slid behind the bar and posed with the bartenders, and also took some time to meet the cooks.
From there, he headed back outside for a quick stop to talk to media, explaining to them that his second stop in four months in Santa Barbara was because of California bumping its primary up to early February, making it a key state in the race for the presidency. “California is very important,” he said. “It’s obviously one of our big states.”
Giuliani’s visit to Santa Barbara marked the third by a presidential candidate in September alone. Lack, who is a state finance co-chair for Giuliani, hinted that he would be bringing the former mayor back to the South Coast again for a visit in January, before the February 5 primary. Democratic candidate Dennis Kucinich was in the Santa Barbara area all weekend, and fellow Democrat Barack Obama spoke at City College and attended a fundraiser at talk show host Oprah Winfrey’s Montecito estate in early September.