In a close gubernatorial race, Republican Matt Blunt tried to re-emphasize his message of leadership, campaigning with the man who literally wrote the book on it: former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Giuliani campaigned for Blunt on Wednesday in Columbia, as the Republican challenger for Missouri governor tried to distance himself from his Democratic opponent, Claire McCaskill.
The tone of the rally was urgent and hopeful, as Blunt campaigned under his slogan, “Leadership, Vision, Change.”
“If you want to see real change, then I’d like your support,” Blunt said.
Giuliani said Blunt was the “hope for the future,” in Missouri and made note of McCaskill’s charge that her opponent lacks experience. The former New York mayor said he had to answer questions regarding his experience before running for mayor, but added that his lack of political ties allowed him to “turn the city around.”
Although the rally was built on support and endorsement, Blunt and Giuliani did touch on issues such as medical malpractice lawsuits.
Giuliani told a story of a New York City man who tripped in a pothole while running from the police and later won a medical malpractice lawsuit against the city.
“I’ve got hundreds, maybe thousands of horror stories like that one,” Giuliani said.
Giuliani didn’t just stick to state races, calling attention to the upcoming presidential election. He made note of Democratic vice-presidential candidate John Edwards’ lack of experience, saying that his short time in the Senate leaves him ill-prepared for being “a heartbeat away from the presidency.”
Giuliani also emphasized President Bush’s record in homeland security, saying that Bush put America “on the offensive against terrorism.” He added that by electing John Kerry, “we’ll put America back on the defensive.”
Columbia resident Barb Downey was impressed by the rally and said that although she was already a Blunt supporter, it was fun to see Giuliani.
If Blunt was the focus of the rally, Giuliani was the star, drawing a standing ovation before and after he spoke. In a private meeting with the media before the rally, Giuliani pointed to Blunt’s record as a military officer during the Sept. 11 attacks as a measure of dedication to the nation.
The rally was a final push in Blunt’s campaign for governor, one of three stops he made on Wednesday. He spoke in Springfield earlier in the afternoon and left Columbia for a fund-raising dinner in St. Louis.