An AP report states representatives for Rudy Giuliani are quietly working to hire political operatives in New Hampshire for his possible 2012 bid, citing people with direct knowledge of the effort. Top Giuliani advisor Jake Menges says flatly there is no truth to the report. “At this particular time we have not made any offers and we have not reached out to anyone to staff up. The mayor is still making up his mind,” Menges says, adding that the former New York City Mayor’s timeline for making a decision on a 2012 bid is still the end of September.
Wayne Semprini, who led Giuliani’s campaign in New Hampshire in 2008 and is a friend and supporter of Giuliani says as far as he knows there is no such effort to hire operatives. He says he frequently talks to people in New Hampshire about who they support, but that does not amount to an effort to create a campaign.
“I’m constantly inquiring as to where people are, who would they support. That’s a far cry from saying we’re planning an operation, which isn’t happening at all. There is no effort being made to create a campaign. Or if there is, it’s being done without my knowledge and that’s fine,” Semprini said.
The AP report indicates Giuliani is trying to lock in operatives in the first-in-the-nation primary state before they could be scooped up by a Perry campaign. Menges tells Fox that Rudy Giuliani has encouraged Perry to get into the race, and both he and Semprini discount the report.
“The situation we’re in here is that we, and even the Mayor feels this way, he welcomes Rick Perry into the race, he’s even told Governor Perry that,” says Semprini. “I see New Hampshire as a landscape that would favor someone like a Rudy Giuliani over Perry, with all due respect to Gov Perry, who I like. The NH independent voter would much prefer someone like Rudy Giuliani, a proven fiscal conservative, someone who has taken his fiscal conservatism and shown how he can convert it into success. The fact that Mayor Giuliani accomplished a great deal using core conservative principles is historical. Anybody whose saying that we’re worried about Governor Perry getting into the race when we don’t even know where we’re going to be is hysterical.”
Here is the AP wire, note Semprini confirms his quotes:
AP sources: Giuliani courts top NH operatives
AP Photo WX101
Eds: Updates with details. With AP Photos.
By STEVE PEOPLES and BETH FOUHY
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Rudy Giuliani, who ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008 but failed to win a single state, is quietly working to hire political operatives in New Hampshire for a possible second White House bid.
Representatives for the former New York mayor have contacted veteran New Hampshire campaign strategists in recent days about joining a Giuliani campaign, according to several people with direct knowledge of the effort. These people spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to disclose the information.
They said Giuliani’s team is concerned that Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s all-but-certain campaign could scoop up the few remaining top operatives in the first-in-the-nation primary state, where a host of candidates already have dozens of people on the payroll. One person described Giuliani’s aides as having a sense of urgency.
Giuliani, the thrice-married former Democrat, spent roughly $59 million on his first GOP bid in 2008 and won only one delegate to the GOP nominating convention.
He has acknowledged that that bid was flawed, visited New Hampshire four times this year and stayed in touch with some top elected officials in the state.
Rep. Frank Guinta, R-N.H., for one, was approached by a Giuliani representative as recently as last week, Guinta spokesman J. Mark Powell said. He would not describe the conversation but characterized it part of a regular communication.
Those close to Giuliani say he hasn’t yet decided whether to move forward with a campaign and that he would not make any political appearances in the days before or right after the impending 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. His widely praised leadership in the wake of the attacks earned him national prominence and the nickname, “America’s Mayor,” which helped fuel his presidential ambitions.
“The mayor is still considering it and if he goes, I’m with him,” said Wayne Semprini, who led Giuliani’s campaign in New Hampshire in 2008. Semprini acknowledged contacting potential staffers in recent days, but he said he was simply surveying the landscape as Giuliani decides whether to get into the race.
If he runs, Giuliani’s advisers envision a smaller, scrappier operation than his 2008 effort in which he campaigned as a national front-runner but failed to pay adequate attention to early voting states. This time, they say he would focus primarily on New Hampshire in hopes that a victory here would help him raise money for contests beyond.
“The last thing he’d want to do is politicize 9/11, which has a lot to do with why he’s not a candidate right now,” Semprini said.
In his first race, Giuliani’s moderate positions on abortion rights and gay marriage were sharply at odds with the conservative voters who traditionally dominate Republican primaries and helped doom his campaign then. His advisers argue that those issues are far less pressing this time and that Giuliani’s record on bringing jobs to New York City would be welcomed by voters worried about the poor economy. But they acknowledge he still might have a hard time persuading many GOP primary voters that he is one of them.
Giuliani’s advisers are also waiting to assess the impact of Perry’s expected entrance into the race. Perry and Giuliani are good friends, and Perry endorsed and campaigned for Giuliani in 2008.
Aides said Giuliani met with Perry this summer and urged him to enter the race.
Fouhy reported from New York.