WASHINGTON -- Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, all but shut out by Tea Party and social conservatives for another shot at the presidency, declined Tuesday to endorse front-running Rick Perry for the Republican nomination, even though the Texas governor gave his support to him in the last election.
Perry endorsed Giuliani almost four years ago when he ran unsuccessfully in the 2008 presidential election.
"I like Rick very much. I've told him if he wants to disavow his endorsement of me he can (since) I'm such a liberal, crazy, out-of-control Republican," the socially moderate Republican joked when asked if he would return the favor during an appearance Tuesday at the National Press Club. "I could see myself doing that, sure, but I don't know yet. I don't know enough about what Rick is going to say tomorrow night, and the next two or three nights at the debate."
Giuliani spoke days ahead of the tenth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that thrust him onto the national stage and catapulted him from City Hall into the ranks of presidential contenders. The former mayor said there haven't been enough debates to know all the candidates' positions and how they would handle key issues. He said he preferred to wait to see who "would have the best chance at winning the presidency." He explained, "I'd rather wait and see what happens there but I do have a lot of admiration for Rick. I campaigned for him when he ran for governor against Kay Bailey Hutchinson -- I was a strong supporter of his."
"I'm a good friend of his," Guiliani said. "And I think his record in Texas is exactly the kind of record you would need in the United States, but I'm not sure he's the right candidate yet."
Giuliani indicated he wasn't sure he was either. Despite an unsettled GOP presidential field that has prompted fellow New Yorker George Pataki to weigh getting into the race, Giuliani said he would wait until after 9/11 commemorations are completed next week to announce his decision, but he made clear the odds are against him.
"I think if I were to run, I would have a chance at winning the presidency," he said. "But I would have a hard time getting nominated. I'm a realist and I understand how the primary system works," noting the system favored social conservatives whose views on abortion and gay marriage differ sharply than those shared by many New York voters.
"I would like to see if there's somebody that emerges that I think would be a strong candidate in the Republican Party for president," he said. "If somebody does emerge that I believe can win, then I would probably support that person, and if I think we're truly desperate, then I may run."