Rudy Giuliani Convention Speech

A superb performance. I’m not sure how much it will help President Bush given that it wasn’t carried by the networks but the speech was well written and incredibly well delivered. Giuliani is a natural political speaker and worked the crowd well while sounding the right notes.

The 9/11 references pushed the envelope of going too far in politicizing a national tragedy without quite stepping over the line. Certainly, any president would likely have stepped up and done a good job of comforting the nation and establishing a sense of unity. I’m less sure that a President Gore would have had the same instinct in terms of an aggressive foreign policy stance, for good or ill. Still, it is perfectly reasonable for Bush backers to point to his dynamic leadership during that period.

See the AP transcript of the speech (advance version).

Other reactions:

  • Jeff Jarvis thinks Rudi will be running for office again soon.
  • Bryan S. disagrees with me on the delivery, thinking Giuliani stepped on his applause lines.

Update (8/31 0709): Transcript: Remarks by Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (actual speech)

Clearly, this part of the speech struck the strongest chord:

And in times of war and danger, as we’re now in, Americans should put leadership at the core of their decision. There are many qualities that make a great leader. But having strong beliefs, being able to stick with them through popular and unpopular times, is the most important characteristic of a great leader.


One of my heroes, Winston Churchill, saw the dangers of Hitler while his opponents characterized him as a war-mongering gadfly.

GIULIANI: Another one of my heroes, Ronald Reagan, saw and described the Soviet Union as “the evil empire,” while world opinion accepted it as inevitable and even belittled Ronald Reagan’s intelligence.

President Bush sees world terrorism for the evil that it is.


John Kerry has no such clear, precise and consistent vision. This is not a personal criticism of John Kerry. I respect him for his service to our nation.


But it is important and critical to see the contrast in approach between the two men: President Bush, a leader who is willing to stick with difficult decisions even as public opinion shifts and goes back and forth; and John Kerry, whose record in elected office suggests a man who changes his position often, even on important issues.


GIULIANI: Now, when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990, John Kerry voted against the Persian Gulf War.


GIULIANI: Ah, but he must have heard your booing…


… because — because later he said he actually supported the war.


Then in 2002, as he was calculating his run for the presidency, he voted for the war in Iraq. And then just nine months later, he voted against an $87 billion supplemental budget to fund the war and support our troops.


GIULIANI: He even, at one point, declared himself as an anti-war candidate. And now he says he’s pro-war candidate. At this rate, with 64 days left, he still has time to change his position four or five more times.


My point about John Kerry being inconsistent is best described in his own words, not mine. I quote John Kerry, “I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it.”



Maybe this explains John Edwards’ need for two Americas.


GIULIANI: One is where John Kerry can vote for something and another where he can vote against exactly the same thing.

FILED UNDER: 2004 Election, Terrorism, The Presidency, , , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. I thought he dith a gweat thob. (okay, okay, I *really* thought it was wonderful, I just find his slight lisp surprising in a public speaker).

    Best line of the evening: the bit about John Edwards wanting two Americas for Kerry’s two sides of every issue.

  2. Aakash says:

    I just saw that left-wing loony Ed Koch was also a speaker at the convention… that is upsetting. There are so many things that I could say about these issues, and about how frustrated many of us conservatives are with what’s been going on – during the Bush administration, and before that – but alas, course work and College Republicans call…

    The last time I enjoyed watching a Republican National Convention was in 1996. (From what I’ve heard, the 1992 one was excellent as well.) The last two have just been too painful to see.

  3. bryan says:

    Giuliani seemed to figure out that he was stepping on the applause about two-thirds of the way through. He just seemed like he wanted to rush through it. Maybe that’s his normal way of speaking, but I thought he could have done better on that part of the delivery. Overall, though, I’d give it a thumbs up.