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GIULIANI: Dems ‘More Concerned About Terrorist Rights Than American People’

Former New York Mayor and GOP presidential Candidate Rudy Giuliani went to bat for the McCain campaign today and hammered home the campaign’s message that Sen. Barack Obama and the Democrats are weak on terrorism. Giuliani made appearances on behalf of the Arizona senator on cable news programs this morning, before taking part in a McCain campaign conference call with reporters.

In the call, Giuliani attacked statements made yesterday by Obama surrogates Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Richard Clarke, former counterterrorism adviser to Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush:

However, as Kerry noted yesterday, about the recent Supreme Court decision, Boumediene v. Bush, McCain would also be obligated to recognize Osama bin Laden’s right to habeas corpus, in the event he were captured. From yesterday’s Obama campaign conference call with reporters:

Giuliani reiterated the McCain campaign’s attempts to label Obama as having a pre-Sept. 11 mindset.

This is only one of many issues that I believe are going to emerge over the next three to four months, of a dramatically different approach to dealing with terrorism. In the case of Sen. McCain, a willingness to accept it for what it is and to be on offense against it — which would include using the criminal justice system, but not end there; and the approach that Sen. Obama would take — very similar, as we saw yesterday in the remarks of Sen. Kerry, to the traditional approach the Democrats have wanted to take to it, which is to go back to the pre-Sept. 11 approach of ‘deal with it as a criminal justice matter, deal with it as a defensive matter, deal with it as a matter of negotiation.’

When asked how the McCain campaign would respond to Clarke’s assertion that Obama has developed a comprehensive, multi-pronged strategy for combating terrorism, Giuliani ducked the question. Instead, he restated the McCain campaign’s attacks on statements Obama made in an interview Monday about the prosecution of the 1993 World Trade Center bombers.

The New York Times reported Saturday that Giuliani has offered to appear with Republican candidates, but with a condition — Giuliani gets some of the dough from any fund-raiser he attends to pay off his own outstanding campaign debts. The timing of Giuliani’s appearances on behalf of McCain today raises the question of whether a financial arrangement has been worked out between the two former competitors. Let’s see if Giuliani begins showing up at McCain fund-raisers.

One other interesting development in this morning’s conference call was Giuliani’s use of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s criticism of Obama as being naive and inexperienced on foreign policy.

"We could point to many, many examples during the debates where the words irresponsible and naive were applied to Sen. Obama — but not by a Republican — by Hillary Clinton. I know that she’d probably be in a different position now, but these are issues that Hillary Clinton very dramatically pointed out during the Democratic primary."

Some Democratic Party leaders expressed concern that the protracted primary season would bloody the eventual nominee and provide grist for GOP attacks during the general election campaign. Now that the McCain campaign is attempting to turn those attacks against the Democrats, will this strategy be effective in fomenting doubts about Obama’s strength as a leader in the minds of independent voters — and former Clinton supporters?

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