After spending the day in New Hampshire, Rudy Giuliani says he has settled on a timeframe for making up his mind about entering the 2012 race.
Late summer “seems like a natural period of time,” the former New York City mayor said in an interview with POLITICO from New Hampshire. “I think during the summer people don’t pay as much attention.”
“I have the advantage of very high name-recognition,” he added, explaining his decision to wait.
Waiting until Labor Day would also Giuliani time to see how the field shakes out, including the effect from the heavily-watched Ames Straw Poll in Iowa, generally seen as the first major test of organizational strength.
Despite being the national frontrunner and leading fundraiser of 2008, Giuliani placed fourth in the 2008 New Hampshire primary. Looking back, he said he regretted not doing the right type of retail politicking the last time around, but argued that the “Live Free or Die” state – where independents are the largest group of voters and can cast ballots in party primaries – is a natural fit for him.
But former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, may face challenges in the Granite State, Giuliani predicted.
“I think he went through pretty much the same experience and probably he has the same idea – you know, the idea that he’s going to have to spend a lot of time here and (let people) get to know him,” Giuliani said. “The question for Mitt is, how good a retail campaigner is he?”
In a clear reference to the knocks on Romney’s stiffness, Giuliani added, “You have to be good with people and you have to be able to relate to them really well…part of the regret that I have (from the last race) is, I’m good at that. We ran as a presidential candidate last time instead of just a person trying to get votes.”
Appearing in New Hampshire on the same day as Romney’s official kickoff was a coincidence, he said, adding that he would have scheduled his trip for a different day had he known in advance.
But Giuliani had no qualms about rapping Romney for the state healthcare plan he backed as governor.
“It’s just a big substantive issue. You’ve got to face the fact that it’s exactly the same as ObamaCare. It’s been a big mistake. And since he may turn out to be the nominee of the party I’d rather he give the right answer than the wrong answer.”
Giuliani tethered Newt Gingrich, who faced slams a few weeks ago for having once supported insurance mandates, to the health care issue, saying it was clear he didn’t see the depth of “the feeling in the party that ObamaCare is just a terrible mistake.”
Giuliani will remain in New Hampshire on Friday, sitting down with the politically-important Union Leader – a paper he steered clear of in 2008 – as well as other news outlets, before a lunch with activists.