by DAVE TURNER & r & & r & POLITICS Rudy Giuliani -- aka "America's Mayor" -- makes a fundraising stop in the Lake City, which is a rarity in presidential campaigns & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & "T & lt;/span & ell me if I'm correct, that I'm the first presidential candidate to be here since Ronald Reagan?" Rudy Giuliani asked reporters during an impromptu press briefing last Thursday before attending a $500-a-head fundraiser at the Kidd Island home of Coeur d'Alene lawyer John Magnuson. "To me that's a great honor because Ronald Reagan is my hero, and he was my boss when I was associate attorney general."
The former mayor of New York, now right in the thick of the GOP presidential race, appeared to try to be seen as the heir-apparent to The Great Communicator.
"Everything I learned about leadership I learned from Ronald Reagan," he said.
While Kootenai County is considered by many to be the most Republican county in the most Republican state in the nation, Giuliani said that assumption could not be taken for granted.
"These days, every state is important," he said. "When you think about it, every state could tip the balance. That's what happened four years ago with Ohio. That's what happened eight years ago with Florida.
"This is the era that you campaign in every state," he said.
He said he believes he's in the best shape to do that and to carry the Republican banner back into the White House. "Idaho is one state we would feel pretty comfortable we could compete in and carry," he said.
Giuliani repeated his claims to conservative voters that he's the right fit. "Most of the really good things we produce come from the people, not from government," he said. "Government can either assist in that or hurt it by becoming too big."
He said all people have to do is look at his tenure as New York's mayor. "You have to devolve power to people and reduce the size of government," he said. "I restrained the growth of one of America's largest governments -- New York City -- which is the third- or fourth-largest government in the country." He said he turned a $2.3 billion deficit into a surplus, cut the crime rate and lowered taxes. "I think those are the principles the people of Idaho would find attractive." Giuliani said as president he would follow those same principles, as well as continue to keep a strong national defense. He claimed he would start election night.
"My first commitment to the American people is to keep America on the offense against Islamic terrorism and not succumb to the pessimisms, defeatism and diminishment that the Democrats would bring," he said.
He also said he would look to the private sector to "preserve, protect and expand our health care, not socialized medicine that Hillary Clinton and John Edwards and Barack Obama want to do."
Repeating Reagan's "Morning in America" themes, Giuliani said he would "fight against the Democratic pessimisms and dwindling of American hopes.
"I think I could revive a spirit of optimism, the sense that our best days are ahead of us," he said. "That's the reason I think I'm the candidate the people of Idaho could support."
& lt;span class= "dropcap " & G & lt;/span & iuliani arrived late in Coeur d'Alene. Not only did he leave 100 or so by-ticket-only guests waiting for nearly an hour, he also left hospitality and media mogul Duane Hagadone tapping his toes outside Hagadone Corporation headquarters, where Giuliani was to depart for the Magnuson estate. Hagadone said he had not yet decided whom to support in the primaries and was just trying to be helpful by taking Giuliani to the function.
"How often do we get a presidential candidate in Coeur d'Alene?" Hagadone said.
Also waiting nearby was Yoko Clark of Spokane and several other supporters of Texas presidential hopeful Rep. Ron Paul. She said the Meetup group members were not there to see Giuliani; instead they were hoping to get Paul's name out in the public. "We hope that people will then go and Google his name," she said.