Giuliani targets Dems in Kirkland cafe chat
Seattle Times staff reporter
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani swung through a Kirkland cafe Saturday afternoon, posing for pictures and taking swipes at Democrats before heading to a private fundraiser in Hunts Point.
In the brief campaign stop at Oriel Cafe, Giuliani chatted up customers, ordered a coffee with Sweet'N Low, slapped down a $20 bill and let the staff keep the change, and then attacked Democratic presidential front-runner New York Sen. Hillary Clinton for what he termed a failure to take a strong position on Iraq and other issues.
Giuliani rapped Clinton for what he said were unclear and shifting answers on when American troops would be withdrawn from Iraq.
He did not offer any timetable of his own, saying withdrawal "should be premised on American success," which he defined as a "stable" Iraq that could act as an ally in "the terrorists' war against us."
Giuliani also challenged Clinton to take a clear stand on how to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
When it comes to the war on terror, Giuliani said "I'd be on offense. It seems to me at least many of the Democrats would be on defense."
Giuliani also mocked a proposal floated by Clinton to give every American child a $5,000 bond to save for college: "I imagine Hillary is going to give them a bond and a chicken in every pot."
He said her bond proposal would be too costly and give away money even to those who don't need it.
Giuliani argued he could keep taxes low and restrain government spending even with U.S. troops in Iraq.
Asked if he'd consider a tax increase to fund the war under any circumstances, Giuliani said he didn't think it would be necessary.
The Giuliani event drew a handful of protesters, who held signs claiming the Sept. 11 attacks were an "inside job" and who hectored the candidate as he left for a private reception.
A Giuliani aide said the reception was scheduled at the Hunts Point home of Kevin and Krista Hughes.
Giuliani stopped earlier Saturday in Portland for a private fundraiser, then headed to a New York-style deli to mingle with voters, where he was met by dozens of protesters equating him with the Bush administration.
Portland is traditionally Democratic country, as evidenced by the jeers that greeted Giuliani. But those inside the restaurant left their pastrami-on-pumpernickel sandwiches and lined up to have their pictures taken with the candidate, who offered praise for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and jabbed at Clinton.
"Newt is a good friend of mine, one of the real geniuses of American politics," Giuliani said of Gingrich, who announced Saturday that he won't join the Republican race for the presidential nomination. "Had he run, he would have been a formidable candidate."
Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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