Club for Growth praises Giuliani despite concerns over NAFTA, campaign finance

The conservative economic political group Club for Growth praised former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) yesterday, although the group’s president voiced a number of objections to the presidential hopeful.

Club president and former Rep. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) lauded Giuliani for cutting taxes and spending during his tenure as mayor, but added that hizzoner’s support for the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance reform law and objection to NAFTA are of concern to economic conservatives.

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Toomey told The Hill that club members were most impressed by Giuliani’s ability to cut taxes, city jobs and city spending despite leading a city “dominated by liberal Democrats, public-sector labor unions, social-welfare activists and a powerful local news media actively hostile to a limited-government philosophy.”

“In the face of such tremendous headwind, Giuliani’s economic accomplishments are remarkable,” Toomey wrote in the National Review.

Despite the group’s praise and objections, Toomey said that because of Giuliani’s limited exposure to federal issues, there are a number of questions that surround the former mayor.

“Rudy Giuliani will still need to flesh out his positions on a number of federal issues, and we hope he will reconsider his few anti-growth positions,” Toomey said in a statement. “But it is impossible to ignore Giuliani’s overall commitment to a pro-growth philosophy and his executive talent for implementing that philosophy in a hostile political environment.”

Giuliani is the fourth Republican candidate to be a subject of the group’s presidential White Papers. Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee were criticized harshly, while Sen. Sam Brownback (Kan.) was praised.

In recent days, Giuliani has come under fire from some conservative groups because of his moderate position on abortion
rights and the way he tried to explain that position during the first Republican debate earlier this month.

Toomey said economically, Giuliani has proven that he is a legitimate contender for the Republican nomination, but there are still a number of variables.

“It depends on the rest of the field,” Toomey said. “It depends on how he runs his campaign. I think it’s entirely possible, but I think it’s still early.”

Giuliani campaign manager Mike DuHaime, former political director for the Republican National Committee, released a statement yesterday saying the club’s kind words were more proof of Giuliani’s commitment to core Republican values.

“Today’s Club for Growth report is further evidence that Mayor Giuliani is the strongest fiscal conservative in this race with the proven record to back it up,” DuHaime said.