A kinder, gentler Giuliani

"America's mayor" cracks jokes about the weather and smiles warmly as his audience sips wine and smears butter on French rolls.

Published February 26, 2007 7:33PM (EST)

As he begins his first major cross-country fundraising blitz, Rudy Giuliani isn't stumping about national security or the war on terror -- issues long considered his strong suits. Instead he's showing off his softer side.

The hard-nosed former U.S. attorney, known for cracking down on organized crime and scooting the homeless from the streets of Manhattan as mayor, told members of the conservative Hoover think tank in Washington today that he made the switch from Democrat to Independent to Republican because "we care about the poor more."

In his 50-minute address, Giuliani didn't once mention Iraq, Iran, President Bush or his views on abortion, gay rights and gun control. Instead, "America's mayor" cracked jokes about the weather and smiled warmly at the lily-white crowd as they sipped wine and smeared butter on their French rolls.

"The way to analyze our social programs is to take it down to an individual human being," said Giuliani, pacing and gesticulating across the ballroom stage. "How would you treat somebody you loved if they didn't have a job, or if they were homeless on the street? What would you do if it were your brother, your sister, your child, or your best friend? ... You would reach into your pocket and you would give them some money to help them ... But you'd be constantly trying to help them find a job ... You'd do it because they are more than just a number ... They were a human being with a heart and a soul."

Can you feel the love?

By Julia Dahl

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