The two fierce rivals for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination do not disagree on everything.
(CNN) – An increasingly bitter fight between Republican presidential candidates Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney moved Wednesday from taxes to national security, with both campaigns portraying the other as indecisive.
The latest skirmish between their campaigns is playing out by e-mail. The Giuliani camp is attacking Romney for an answer he gave he gave during Tuesday‘s CNBC/Wall Street Journal GOP debate on whether Congressional authorization would be needed for military action against Iran.
Romney said, “You sit down with your attorneys and tell you what you have to do, but obviously the president of the United States has to do what's in the best interest of the United States to protect us against a potential threat.”
The Giuliani campaign called it a “lawyers test for national security.” And the Giuliani campaign’s news release this morning said, “Sound familiar? Another Massachusetts politician also wanted a national security test”, comparing to 2004 Democratic nominee John Kerry’s “global test” comment. The global test became a favorite GOP attack line, portraying Kerry as weak on national security.
And taking a page from that ’04 campaign, the Giuliani campaign trotted out an expert to paint Romney in that same light.
“Going to war is the most serious decision a president can make,” former U.S. Atlantic Fleet commander, retired Admiral Robert Natter said in the release. “Lawyers should not debate while our national security is on the line. In these momentous decisions, we need leadership, not litigation.”
Natter is supporting Giuliani’s bid for the White House.
But the Romney campaign launched its own attack on Giuliani, saying he was vague and indecisive in his answers on Iran. As Romney criticized Giuliani at a morning stop in Royal Oak, Michigan, his campaign pointed to Giuliani’s answer on whether Congressional authorization would be needed when he said, “it really depends on exigency of the circumstances and how legitimate it is.”
Romney spokesman Kevin Madden fire off this zinger. “On the question of authorization and action against Iran, Mayor Giuliani offered the most muddled and puzzling response of anyone on the debate stage, preferring to rely on a vague explanation.”
- CNN Political Desk Manager Steve Brusk