WASHINGTON (CNN) - Confronted with an 11 year-old YouTube clip at odds with a recent speech declaring illegal immigration solvable, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani told a New Hampshire audience Thursday new technologies can end the problem now.
"Back in 1994, '95, we didn't have the technology that we have today," Giuliani told a Derry, New Hampshire crowd, according to CNN affiliate WMUR.
Shortly after Giuliani declared, "I promise you, we can end illegal immigration" earlier this week, a YouTube clip emerged of a speech the then-mayor gave in 1996 at Harvard University seeming to argue the complete opposite: "We're never ever going to be able to totally control immigration to a country that is as large as ours."
"We're going to have 400,000, 450,000, maybe more, illegal and undocumented, living in the city of New York, and there's absolutely nothing I can do about it," the New York Republican added in the 1996 speech.
Giuliani's chief GOP rival Mitt Romney has criticized the former mayor on the issue, saying that he supported illegal immigration while overseeing New York City. Giuliani has repeatedly denied the charge.
Kevin Madden, a spokesman for Romney's campaign, called Giuliani's technology explanation, "nonsensical."
"Technology like night vision scopes and motion sensors all existed back in 1996," he told CNN. "And, before anyone goes looking for new excuses, electricity, telephones and even the wheel existed back in 1996, too.”
In New Hampshire on Thursday, Giuliani continued to defend his record on the issue as New York's mayor, saying "I took a city that had just about the highest illegality rates in the country and took it down to one of the lowest."
He added that if Romney's campaign continues to attack his immigration record, it will "backfire" on them.
- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney