Rudy on hedge funds: Too bad the Yankees lost

"America's Mayor" proves himself to be a dodger.

Published October 9, 2007 8:38PM (EDT)

As the Republicans' latest presidential debate began in Michigan this afternoon, Chris Matthews asked Rudy Giuliani to explain how private equity firms make "billions of dollars" and whether there's "any downside to this amazing bonanza."

Giuliani's response: "Hey, look, it's Hillary Clinton! Can we talk about the Yankees now?"

OK, that wasn't exactly Giuliani's answer, but it wasn't exactly not Giuliani's answer, either.

Here's the entirety of what Giuliani said as he ran out the clock on Matthews' question:

"Well, I mean the market is a wonderful thing. I mean, the free market is our -- one of our greatest assets. And the leading Democratic candidate once said that the unfettered free market is the most destructive force in modern America. I mean, just get an idea of where the philosophy comes from.

"The free market is the asset that has allowed us to -- the sky's the limit. The reality is that what we have to do is look at the fundamentals. A president can't be an economic forecaster. A president's not going to be any better an economic forecaster than you are a baseball forecaster -- and I'm not a particularly [good] baseball forecaster this afternoon.

"So the reality is, a president has to work on the fundamentals. What are the fundamentals? Keep taxes low. Keep regulations moderate. Keep spending under control. That's an area where we need a lot of help. And make sure you do something about legal reform so that our legal system doesn't -- it's 2.2 percent of our GDP now, is spent on all these frivolous lawsuits. It's double any other industrialized nation. If we don't get control of that, that's another way in which we're going to eat up our future.

"So we got a prospect on the Democratic side of overspending, overtaxing, overregulating, and oversuing, and I think you need a Republican alternative to that, which is an emphasis on the pillars of growth that I mentioned."

Matthews followed up by asking Giuliani again to explain his views on private hedge funds. No, wait, that's not exactly what he did. The follow-up Matthews actually put to Giuliani: Will Yankees manager Joe Torre be able to keep his job?

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

MORE FROM Tim Grieve

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

2008 Elections Rudy Giuliani War Room