Norm Coleman: Why I back Giuliani


WASHINGTON (JTA) – In October, introducing Rudy Giuliani before the Republican Jewish Coalition, philanthropist Sheldon Adelson said of the former New York City mayor, “Time after time Mayor Giuliani not only said the right things about Israel, which is easy to do, but he took the right actions as well.”

Expand that beyond Israel and Mr. Adelson has quite effectively outlined the driving rationale behind Rudy Giuliani’s bid for the presidency: Other candidates might say the right things, but Rudy actually does them. And he has for years.

For many Americans, Rudy became a fixture in the national consciousness following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. But for those of us in the Jewish community, Rudy’s competence and resolve on 9/11 and the days thereafter were precisely the traits he had displayed time and again prior to that fateful day – traits we know well.

After all, many of Rudy’s greatest triumphs came as mayor of the city that is home to the world’s largest Jewish population outside of Israel. He understands our community and our needs. He also understands the need to show strength and resilience in the face of terrorism.

In October 1995, fresh off collecting the Nobel Peace Prize and basking in the warm embrace of the Clinton administration, Yasser Arafat attended a private concert for world leaders at New York’s Lincoln Center. Rudy, hosting the event, promptly had the uninvited Arafat evicted, much to the chagrin of the White House, the State Department and The New York Times.

Rudy’s response to the uproar?

“I would not invite Yasser Arafat to anything, anywhere, anytime, anyplace,” he said.

Similarly, when Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal gave a $10 million check to the Twin Towers fund and followed it up by blaming the attacks on American support for Israel, Rudy returned the check. The prince’s comments, he said, were not merely flat wrong, they were “part of the problem.”

Both his past actions and recent statements have proven that without question, Rudy Giuliani has the moral clarity necessary to lead our nation. This is a man who understands the definition of a tyrant and terrorist, and what it means when the government of the United States publicly coddles them. This is a man who understands that there are consequences to ambiguity on the international stage and who repeatedly, forcefully, has expressed his support for the State of Israel.

To many, this is reason enough to support Rudy Giuliani for president. But there is far more to like about the prospect of a President Rudy Giuliani.

Rudy has committed to leading America toward energy independence, expressing a desire to mobilize the nation behind a full-scale initiative similar to the Apollo Project that culminated in millions of people worldwide witnessing an American astronaut walk on the moon.

Our national dependence on oil is not simply an environmental concern but also an issue of national security. The reality is as long as our nation continues to rely on oil – much of which we must obtain from foreign sources – to fuel so much of what we do, we are in the dangerous and costly position of financing our enemies.

That has to change, and with Rudy in the White House, America will immediately begin down the path to energy independence.

Rudy is focused also on decreasing the cost and increasing the quality of American health care through the only vehicle that can successfully do both – the free market. The millions of Americans who are uninsured deserve access to affordable, high-quality health care. By creating a tax-free-income exclusion for those without employer-based health care, expanding Health Savings Accounts and providing health-care tax credits to lower-income Americans, Rudy will help them get it – and he’ll do so via distinctly American solutions.

It’s election time, which means we hear a lot of rhetoric and a lot of promises from a lot of politicians. But with Rudy there’s a record to back up that rhetoric, those promises, and few understand this quite like the Jewish community. We’ve seen him up close, we understand what this man can do and who he is: an executive of unmatched accomplishment, a leader of world renown, and an unwavering friend to Israel and the Jewish community worldwide.

(Norm Coleman is a U.S. senator from Minnesota and serves as Minnesota state chairman and Midwest regional chairman for the Rudy Giuliani Presidential Committee.)

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