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Public Statements

MSNBC - Transcript

Interview

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MS. ROBACH: While most GOP candidates are focusing on the upcoming primary in South Carolina, Rudy Giuliani continues to stump for votes in Florida. Today the former mayor of New York is in the Panhandle, with scheduled stops in Panama City and Pensacola.

Joining us now from Washington, D.C., is Republican Congressman from New York Peter King. He is also Rudy Giuliani's homeland security adviser.

Thanks for being with us.

REP. KING: Thank you, Amy.

MS. ROBACH: All right. So Giuliani has said that he can -- he has said many times he can win blue, industrial states like Pennsylvania, he can put them in play in a general election. But if you look at what happened in Michigan, obviously he came in behind Ron Paul. And I know that he says he hasn't put time and effort into these states, but is that concerning to the Giuliani campaign?

REP. KING: Amy, listen, Rudy would have liked to campaign in all the states and caucuses. The reality is that there's only a certain amount of money that all the candidates have, and after the first three, now, debates -- primaries and caucuses, there is no front runner. Each of the other three has won, so they are back where they started from, really, they're back at square one.

And Rudy has the money and has the campaign now organized in Florida, and that is going to be, really, the first test of all the candidates together, and he's best-positioned.

Again, I think he's the first one that realized the political landscape has changed this year, and that to win on January 29th provides the impetus, the launching pad for February 5th, which is Super Tuesday, and you're going to have 1,100 delegates chosen in those two weeks, as opposed to about 79 or 80 up until now.

So, listen; again, he would have loved to have been in all the primaries, all the caucuses, but right now it's really going as best as could have been expected. And I'd rather be in Rudy's position than any of the other candidates.

MS. ROBACH: Congressman, Giuliani, we know, has focused all of his attention on Florida instead of these early contests, but he has lost a big lead in the polls -- in the national polls. And you say he's sound, financially speaking, but we do know that obviously a dozen or so of his top staffers are going this month without pay to keep that money for Florida. If he doesn't win Florida, is it over for him?

REP. KING: Well, I'm assuming he is going to win Florida. All the signals are he's going to win it. And as far as, you know, the national polls, that's really a reflection of the week-to-week primaries. I mean, John McCain jumped to the top of the national polls after winning New Hampshire, but he lost Michigan last night. So I expect Governor Romney to get a bit of a bump from that.

So I think they go into Florida basically even, except that Rudy will have been there for about a week to 10 days already with a television campaign, going -- really, you know, breaking his back going from city to city on a statewide bus tour. And he will have the ground game in play before the other candidates even get there.

And as far as the money, he will have more on hand than John McCain or Mike Huckabee. Now, he can't match Mitt Romney's personal fortune, but as far as McCain and Huckabee, Rudy will be in very good shape and able to pay whatever has to be done through Florida.

MS. ROBACH: And Congressman King, obviously a lot of attention has been placed on Romney, on Huckabee, on McCain because of these early primary wins. And it's all been fragmented, probably a good thing for the Giuliani campaign, but when it comes to South Carolina, is there real concern that there can be a significant bounce for whoever wins that state going into Florida?

REP. KING: I know that Fred Thompson seems to be doing well in South Carolina, and that would just level the playing field even more.

No, listen, obviously whoever wins South Carolina will get a bit of a bump. But again, because of the money situation with Senator McCain and Governor Huckabee, I don't think they're going to be able to match what Rudy Giuliani has been doing in Florida.

And nobody said this was going to be easy. If it was easy, all of us would jump in and run. It's tough. But again, I think Rudy has the best long-range plan, not really because he wanted it, but really out of necessity. And he realized it, and the other candidates didn't.

MS. ROBACH: All right. We appreciate your time. Congressman Peter King, thank you.

REP. KING: Amy, thank you. Thank you.


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