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Giuliani: I'll Talk Your Ears Off

Promises Frequent Press Conferences if Elected

By Published on .

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (AdAge.com) -- Rudy Giuliani unveiled a big new political promise on Monday: More White House press conferences if he's elected.

Of course, if it's an indication of importance, he announced it shortly after campaigning in a pizza parlor and admitting that despite his Italian name and heritage, he's made a pizza exactly once.

The former New York mayor said he is used to holding news conferences from his days as mayor, enjoys them, feels they keep him closer to issues and predicted that if elected he would approach or surpass the level of White House press conferences by any president since John F. Kennedy.

"I know that some have gotten away with not doing question and answers. I remember telling Tony Blair that the question-and-answer session the prime minister has every week is very good discipline, to answer at least questions on five or six major things. I said it reminded me that as mayor of New York, I would do one of these press conferences a day. Now that I'm running for president, I only have to do two or three a week. It's easier," he said.

"As president. I'd probably have many more press conferences than anyone since Kennedy. I enjoy doing them. They keep me on top of things. They do mean you make a few more mistakes because when you answer a lot of questions and you are a little more open about it, you are going to have to go back and correct what you said, but it's much better. It keeps you on your toes and much more able to figure out the situation that day."

Mr. Giuliani, however, may have some other more traditional political issues questions to deal with.

During a speech at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anthelm College, he reiterated his proposal to dramatically cut staffing of federal agencies from 5% to 20% through retirement and increased used of technology. In the speech, in which he touched on a number of issues, he wanted all federal agencies to develop plans for dealing with the reductions.

Asked later if that meant he would cut staffing at the Consumer Product Safety Commission, despite concern about Chinese toys; the Federal Trade Commission, despite concern about rising identity theft; and the Food and Drug Administration, despite imported drug issues, he turned far less clear about any cuts. He suggested the proposal would launch a process that would examine government efficiency, but actual cutbacks would have to be determined later.

"There is an assumption in your question that creates a prejudice towards out-of-control bureaucracy," he said. "I go in to it with open mind, sometimes we find cuts we never expected, sometimes cuts that we thought we could do we find would have been a very big mistake. Sometimes you make the mistake and have to reverse. This is a very intelligent thing to do if you do it the right way. It's no different than saying every organization needs discipline. It's all about trying to create accountability."

Mr. Giuliani said despite the proposal he would not necessarily cut staffing at the three federal agencies.
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