In the 18 months since he stepped down as New York City's mayor, Rudy Giuliani has hardly left the public eye. He has traveled the lecture circuit, had a high-profile wedding to Judith Nathan and seen his story told in a TV movie. He was getting ready to lead a U.S. delegation to Vienna for an anti-Semitism conference when Time's Amanda Bower caught up with him in his Times Square office.
DID THE WAR IN IRAQ MAKE US SAFER? I think it removed a support for the terrorist network, namely Saddam Hussein and his infrastructure and government. And that's the way in which you have to take apart terrorism, piece by piece. On a global scale, it reminds me of what the Federal Government had to do with organized crime. A blow to one family is not going to end organized crime, but if you ignored these families, then that structure was going to remain.
YOU GIVE A LECTURE, "LEADERSHIP IN DIFFICULT TIMES." IS THIS THE COUNTRY'S MOST DIFFICULT TIME? I can't imagine that this is worse than going through the Civil War or the Depression or the Second World War. When people are going through difficult times, to tell them other people have [too] doesn't solve their difficulties. But it does put it in perspective so maybe they don't feel too sorry for themselves, and realize that they can come out of this.
WHAT ARE YOUR OBJECTIONS TO THE PLAN FOR THE WORLD TRADE CENTER SITE? I think the primary purpose of that site should be to remember what happened there ... So far, in all of the designs, the memorial has been the secondary thought, and the replacement of the office space has been the primary thought. I'm very, very afraid that future generations are going to be very angry that we did not appropriately, on a grand enough scale, remind people of what happened.
NEW YORK'S CURRENT MAYOR, MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, HAS TERRIBLE POLL RATINGS. IS HE DOING A BAD JOB? You can't go through four to eight years in office without having some bad times. And if it happens early, you're going to recover from it. He's making the right decisions to help the city when the economy starts to grow again, and I think people are going to have a very different view of Mike Bloomberg a year from now.
ARE YOU EVER GOING TO RUN FOR PUBLIC OFFICE AGAIN? I would say probably yes. Any run for public office is a couple of years away, and whether it's Senate, Governor--I don't know what else there would be--those will all be things that I would look at.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE PRESIDENT? I have no idea. I've never really seriously sat down and thought about it. I almost think it's arrogant, something you just don't do unless there's a realistic possibility.