The Daily Iowan: 1998

Giuliani speaks to local Republicans

Iowa Republicans get some advice from the Big Apple as the New York mayor addresses a local fund-raiser.

By Kevin Ho The Daily Iowan

New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani addressed a packed house at the University Athletic Club Wednesday afternoon as part of a fund-raiser for Republican Rep. Jim Leach.

The $100-a-plate luncheon was primarily attended by an older crowd who listened enthusiastically to Giuliani's 15-minute speech. Giuliani drew rounds of applause as he drew upon Republican ideas of fighting crime and drug use in America.

In a brief interview, Giuliani told The Daily Iowan that speeches such as Wednesday's were part of a larger effort to draw young voters to the Republican party. "We do as best as we can," he said. "We speak to colleges and high schools across the country to emphasize the principles of the party, like economic freedom, that make our cities safer."

Cedar Rapids resident Bill Prowell said audience members were eagerly listening for any hints of what Giuliani may be planning for his own political career, but were left wondering as Giuliani said he didn't know what his plans are. "I'm here because I was asked by the Republican Party to speak and to help," he said. "I haven't figured out what my ambitions are. I haven't decided on anything. I don't have plans for anything."

Giuliani declared New York City was now "America's safest large city," and at one point contended that the city's crime rate was near the level of Cedar Rapids. "If you think about it ... everyone who is addicted to heroin, marijuana and cocaine, they are really not free," he said. "(They) lead useless lives where they start to hate themselves."

Giuliani emphasized the importance of reducing drugs for young people in America, saying inaction would "jeopardize the future" of the country. He credited increased spending on police, while reducing spending elsewhere, for New York City's 70 percent drop in murder rates and its 30 percent decline in crime. He said more than 100,000 drug dealers are being arrested in New York City every year.

After his remarks, Giuliani took questions from the crowd and stood stonefaced to a near-verbal assault from one woman, who claimed that his drug initiatives were an invasion of privacy. But for the most part, reaction from the crowd was positive, with many audience members agreeing with what Giuliani had to say.

"I thought he was great," Prowell said. "I think his principal point was (how he used) law and order to solve the problems of his city."

Former UI wrestling coach Dan Gable said the directness of Giuliani's remarks drove home his points. "I was very interested in what he had to say; he didn't talk above my head -- I am a wrestling coach after all," Gable said. "I believe in what he said. He talked about real values that are vital to our society."

Gable said Giuliani's emphasis on young people in the speech paralleled his own principles. "Cleaning up young people's lives from all those vices out there is important," he said. "Chances are if they start off on the wrong foot, they'll stay on the wrong path, and he (Giuliani) started to address that at the core, which is vital." After the luncheon, Giuliani concluded his visit to the Midwest with a speech in Cedar Rapids.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Title: Giuliani speaks to local Republicans Page: 3A Date: 8/27/98