Giuliani won't seek GOP prez nomination

Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani in Brooklyn. (Sept.

Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani in Brooklyn. (Sept. 25, 2011) (Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy)

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said for the first time Tuesday that he will not seek the Republican nomination for president, telling an audience in Woodbury that GOP voters want someone more conservative.

"At this point, you need to be realistic about the chances of being nominated," Giuliani told a luncheon hosted by the Long Island Association at the Crest Hollow Country Club. Giuliani was joined by former Yankees manager Joe Torre in a 90-minute question-and-answer session conducted by LIA president Kevin Law.

Giuliani made several visits to New Hampshire, one of the first primary states, earlier this year, sparking speculation that he would make a second presidential run. He withdrew from the primaries in 2008 after losing in Florida.

But Tuesday he shut the door on a GOP candidacy in 2012, declaring that "if it's too late for Chris Christie, it's too late for me." Christie, the governor of New Jersey, saying "Now is not my time," ruled out a presidential run last week, citing his desire to finish his term and the lack of time to prepare for a race.

Giuliani told the crowd of several hundred business and political leaders that he would consider a vice presidential nomination "if someone was crazy enough to ask me."

The former mayor also evaluated the current crop of 2012 GOP candidates.

He said the Republican race likely will come down to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Giuliani said the two candidates have compelling resumes but also significant drawbacks.

Romney, he said, "appeals to the head and the intellect" of the party but "does not connect with the heart." Romney's reversal of his past support of issues including gun control and gay rights will hurt him with GOP values voters, Giuliani said.

Perry, meanwhile, has the "heart of the Republican Party on his side" but has performed poorly in GOP presidential debates, Giuliani said.

But the former mayor offered some praise for Democratic Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

"He has done a better job than I anticipated," Giuliani said. He noted that if New York's economy turns around, Cuomo would be a "powerful candidate" for the White House in 2016.

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