New York’s Republican Mayor Rudolph Giuliani has announced his withdrawal from this year’s Senate contest against Hillary Rodham Clinton.
After some weeks of indecision following the announcement that he has prostate cancer and that he is separating from his wife, New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani finally confirmed what most political observers had been predicting.
The Republican Party is now most likely to endorse Congressman Rick Lazio, the member for New York’s Second District in the House of Representatives.
Transcript of Giuliani’s Press Conference announcing his withdrawal from the New York Senate race against Hillary Rodham Clinton.
GUILIANI: Thank you very, very much. I’m a very fortunate man and this is one demonstration of why I’m a very fortunate man. God has given me a lot and whatever obstacles that are placed in your way, I think the way to deal with it is to try to figure out how to make it, make it make you a better person. The reason I’m such a fortunate man is that I have people that love me and I love them and they care for me and I care for them. And that’s the greatest support that you can have in life. And I think I’m fortunate because I probably have a few more people like that. Governor Pataki told me once a long time ago that your real friends are the friends that will love and care about you after you’re the mayor, the governor, the senator or the president. And I have some friends like that. And I’m a very fortunate man. So whatever I decide, and I’m going to tell you what I decided, I feel very, very lucky.
I’m also very, very fortunate because not only I have very good friends and people that I love and love me, but I have, I have a job as the mayor of New York City, being the mayor of the city that I love very much — people that I’ve always had a great deal of connection to and love for. And over the last few weeks, they’ve given me a great deal of support. There isn’t any place I can go in which they don’t come up to me and give me notes or cards or, and tell me I hope you get better. And I thank God for that.
When I was, when I was first told that I had cancer, I thought this was going to be a much easier decision. I thought all of it was going to be easier. I thought the decision about treatment would be made like I, you know, like I’ve made lots of other decisions in my life, some of them real tough, none like this, but — and I thought the decision about running would be sort of a calculation that you would make about how tired you would be or not be, and I’ve found that it’s much, much more difficult than that. And I find myself unable to make, really make the treatment decision yet, even though I’ve been over and over it. And about the decision to run, I was almost in the same position, not being able to make it, which has never really happened to me. I’ve always been able to make decisions.
I’ve also found in thinking about it, suffering over it, that something, it’s very painful and very difficult, but something very beautiful happens. It makes you, it makes you figure out what you’re really all about and what’s really important to you and what should be important to you, you know, what, where the core of you really exists. And I guess because I’ve been in public life so long and politics, I used to think the core of me was in politics, probably. It isn’t. The — when you feel your mortality and your humanity you realize that, that the core of you is first of all being able to take care of your health and make sure that you, that you’re in good health, and to deal with a disease like cancer in the most effective way possible so you can be useful to the people that you really care about and really care about you, then your obligations are the people that love you and you love them. In my case, I also have an obligation to the people of New York City that elected me and as the mayor to do my job with the time and the energy and what I have left in going through the cancer.
And then I have, and I felt this very, very strongly and still feel it, I feel that I have obligations to all the people that supported me and helped me and assisted me in the race for the Senate because there were many of them and they gave a lot of their time and energy and money and support. So it’s a very difficult set of decisions.
I’ve decided that what I should do is to put my health first and that I should devote the focus and attention that I should to running — to being able to figure out the best treatment and not running for office. This is not the right time for me to run for office. If it were six months ago or it were a year from now or the timing were a little different, maybe it would be different. But it isn’t different and that’s the way life is.
I don’t feel that if I take on the commitment to run that I have the kind of confidence that I should have, that I’d be the candidate that I should be. I don’t know that I’d be able to campaign the way I should. I don’t know that I’d be able to concentrate on it the way that I should. And I don’t know completely whether in August or September that I’d be able to continue. You know, sometimes I think yes and sometimes I think no. And it isn’t right to take on that commitment if you don’t feel a strong sense of certitude that you can complete it.
So I called Governor Pataki and I called Bill Powers and I called Joe Bruno and many other people and I told them that I would not be able to make the race and that I would do anything that I could to help them support and assist the candidate that they support and that becomes the candidate of the party. I called Rick Lazio and told him that if he’s the candidate of the party, he can count on my help and my support.
And the focus that I’m going to have now is going to be of fighting cancer, making a decision about my treatment. I’m not going to give daily updates about it and I’m not going to deal with it as a political matter. I’m going to deal with it clearly and completely as a personal matter. And you know, when I feel it’s appropriate to announce a decision, since I’m the mayor of New York City, I certainly am going to announce it. But I’m going to ask you to give me a little space to be able to make that decision properly.
I also believe that, you know, things happen in life of — for reasons that sometimes you only figure out afterwards. And there is something good that comes out of this. A lot of good things come out of it. I think I understand myself a lot better. I think I understand what’s important to me better. Maybe I’m not completely there yet. I would be foolish to think that I was in a few weeks, but I think I’m heading in that direction.
And I thank God that it gives me another, really another 18 months to be the mayor of New York City, which I love very, very much. It’s really my deep passion, the love for the people of this city and the love of this city. And I’m going to devote the time that I’ve been given, the extra time that I’ve been given, not only to do the things we have done and the things that we’ve accomplished together and the remarkable things that have been done, but to overcome, maybe, some of the barriers that maybe I placed there, and figure out how to overcome them. I don’t know the answer to that yet, I don’t know exactly how you do that. But I’m going to try very hard to do that. I want — when I got re-elected and I became — I gave my inaugural address, I said that — and when I was running for re-election, I kept saying that I wanted — I don’t want — people in this — many people in the city have felt a big change, a great sense of optimism, they’ve gotten a lot of help and they’ve gotten a lot of benefits and they feel very differently. But it hasn’t reached everyone in this city. And there are a lot of people that haven’t felt that. And I’m going to dedicate myself to trying to figure out how we can get them to feel that too, including maybe changes I have to make in the way I approach it, the way I look at it.
It doesn’t mean there’s going to be a new Rudy, I think that’s silly. I think maybe it’s going to be a different, maybe somebody who grows from the fact that you confront your limits, you confront your mortality. You realize you’re not a superman and you’re just a human being.
And in addition to turning my attention to straightening out the health situation, I’m going to try to make sure that I’m a better mayor, that this is a better administration and that it accomplishes the goal of, you know, reaching every person that we can reach and making sure that every New Yorker feels that I’m dedicated to them, that I want to protect them, that I want to help them. And that I want my time as mayor to count for everybody.
And again, you know, I don’t — I have to express a tremendous sense of gratitude and even — and I feel like I should apologize to the people that wanted me to run, the people that, when I went in last night to the town hall meeting and I saw the people outside saying, “Run, Rudy, run, Rudy, run, Rudy,” I had, you know, half the time last night I felt like I wanted to run. And the half the time I felt like I shouldn’t do it. And when I stayed up last night — I don’t usually sleep very much, so I didn’t sleep very much last night at all. And I stayed up last night going back and forth about what’s the right decision and what isn’t the right decision. I believe this is the right decision. And I think somehow, somewhere, some way this is all for the best. And it’s going to mean that I can be a better mayor.
I believe this is the right decision and I think somehow, somewhere, some way, this is all for the best and it’s going to mean that I can be a better mayor. And I’m going to try to use it for that, and a better — maybe most important, be a heck of a lot, you know, more focused on what are the important things in life.
Q: When you said that your decision is dependent upon your treatment . . .
GUILIANI: No, no, what I, what I — I realized that in doing that, I think I said that, I realized that a couple of days ago and I think I said that last night. I didn’t organize this, I mean, I didn’t understand the impact of this. It was, what I thought at first was, O.K., I’ll take a week or two, or three, whatever it takes, to figure out what the treatment is. I will then decide on the treatment, I’ll then look at the treatment and I’ll figure out, does that mean I can run or I can’t run.
You know, I, I thought, I thought of it as a budget, I know it sounds silly, but I thought of it like a budget decision or a — or a legal decision, or a — and the reality is that I can’t make the final decision about the treatment if I’m not sure what the right approach is yet. I’m getting there. And I realized that under either approach, that there are risks that I can’t be, substantial risks, that I can’t be the candidate that I would like to be.
And it doesn’t really matter very much which form of treatment that I take. My concentration isn’t going to be there. That nobody can tell you in percentages, you know, what the side effects are going to be. You can be fine, you can be terrific, or you can have problems and then you won’t be able to carry out your commitment. So I realized that that was probably the wrong way to look at this, or at least that’s how it evolved in a human way. I don’t know if that makes sense, but that’s the way it happened.
Q: Is this the end of your political career?
GUILIANI: I don’t — I don’t think I’m thinking about politics, Gabe. I don’t know, I’m thinking about, you know, I’m thinking about deeper, deeper things than that. Will, you know, life — right now what I’m thinking about is number one, let me have a little room to decide on the medical treatment. I’m going to go through it. I’m going to go through it with a sense of optimism and then I’m going to get through it.
But I want my full strength and, to be able to do that, I’m going to think about how I can be better as a person. I’m going to think about how I can be better as being mayor of New York City and I’m — the way in which I think I can use this to grow is to do that. And I think if I were to run, I would not be able to put the concentration on those things, and those are the higher priorities. And politics, politics, you know, it isn’t as important as I thought it was. I used to think, I used to make, you know, many of my life decisions for the last 10 years, around politics and they should have been made, and I’m going to make them in the future, around the other things that I’m talking about.
GUILIANI: Pardon me? I’m going to stay here. I’m not, you know, I’m not going away. Let me just have Gabe finish what —
Q: More introspection and less politics.
GUILIANI: Well, right now there’s no politics, except the decision that has to be made politically and —
GUILIANI: I hope so. I hope, you know, I think that I’m finding out more about what I think is important in life. And politics is important, but it is by far not the most important thing in life. Your life is more important, your health is more important, the people you love, your family, the people that are close to you and really care about you. You know, those are the most important things in life. And then, after that comes politics. And it’s important because you serve other people, you know, but there are a lot of ways to do that, including being a better mayor.
Q: . . .wanting to be a better mayor, does it bother you that you lack support in some of the minority communities and are you going to make a new, make an attempt to reach out and —
GUILIANI: Yeah, I’m going to find a way.
GUILIANI: Yes, I’m going to try to do that. I think that, I think that one, that the things that I can do is to overcome that barrier and figure out how I’ve placed it there and what I have to do to overcome it, to see what I can do about increasing the number of people that are covered with health care. I mean, one of the things that — one of the things that I felt from the beginning of this and continue to feel is a tremendous sense of compassion for the people that have to make decisions like this alone. I mean, you know, the — people have given me tremendous help, tremendous support, tremendous encouragement, practical help, emotional help. You’re all alone and you get confronted with a life-threatening disease of any kind, that’s a horrible thing. And one of the ways we can, one of the things maybe that I can do is figure out how we accelerate making sure that people are covered, they have health care coverage. I mean, there are a lot of things that I think I can accomplish that I haven’t accomplished before and you know, that doesn’t mean that we won’t try to keep the things that in place going in that direction.
GUILIANI: One more.
GUILIANI: I don’t know. I want to extend, I want to extend my mayoralty and try to overcome some of the barriers that are there. That’s the way I feel about it. I don’t understand, I don’t completely have in my head exactly how I’m going to do that. I haven’t — that has not been the primary thing that I’m thinking about and maybe I’ll talk more about that in a week or two weeks or something like that. Right now what I’ve got to do is to concentrate on the medical decision which is what I’m going to do and that — and concentrating on that and asking questions about your mortality and, you know, what’s going on with you makes you raise other questions about maybe you can, maybe you can find a way to be a more complete person and a better person.
GUILIANI: There’s other questions about — maybe you can find a way to be a more complete person and a better person. Yeah. Shhhh.
Q: …a total turnaround for you, Mr. Mayor. Do you feel like you’re dying, respectfully, and is this decision in part due to your personal problems?
GUILIANI: Do I feel like I’m dying?
Q: Do you feel that you’re dying? When you said you’re overcoming barriers, it sounds like you’re reaching out to the . . . almost as if you want to die.
GUILIANI: I don’t know — I don’t — no, I don’t feel like I’m dying. And I feel like I’ve been a very effective and a very successful mayor. But I also think there are more things that I can do.
Q: Did your personal life play a role in your decision?
GUILIANI: This decision is a health decision. I — my personal life is my personal life. It’s, you know, it’s something that people, I think, don’t have the kind of concern with that sometimes is indicated by the intensity of the media interest and, you know, I would like to keep that as much my personal life as possible.
But that is not the reason for the decision. If, you know, if there were 10 different variations of my personal life, I would make exactly the same decision about the necessity to put the focus on my health and recovery from cancer.
And you know part of it is if you’re going to go through something like that, you think about, you don’t want to add extra things to your life during a time you’re going through that. You certainly want to remain active, you certainly want to remain involved in positive things. But suppose I was a lawyer, you know, in private law practice and I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. And I had to go through one of the forms of treatment. That would not exactly be the time to take on, let’s say, you know, one of the big cases of your career. That would be the time to continue in law practice, remain involved with your friends and family and everyone else, but maybe cut back a little bit and give yourself a little more room, a little more space.
So, you know, I think that’s the reason for the decision. And you know, life is life and things surround you and they go on, but that’s the main — that’s the reason for the decision. I think I would have made it that way no matter what.
Q: Mayor, when you say you want to reach out to communities who’ve been left out in New York’s economic boom, does that mean talking to your political adversaries like Reverend Sharpton?
GUILIANI: I don’t know exactly what it means. It means that I’m going to try and reach out to more people to try to help more people and try to, you know, when you look at the way in which people feel about what’s happened in New York City, most people feel it’s been very positive. Most people feel it’s been very useful, very helpful. Some people feel that it hasn’t been. This isn’t — I’m just not capable of doing it as a racial, ethnic, religious thing, divisions. But I’ll do it based on people. There are people in all different groups that feel that way. Maybe more in one group than another, but there are people in all different groups and the way we group people that feel that they’ve been left out or they haven’t had a chance. That’s the way I have to do it.
I have — the only way I’m going to be able to do this is honestly and based on me. And I think there’s too much group identification in our society and too little human identification. So I’m going to have to find a way to do it based on — I’m the mayor of New York City. Every New Yorker is entitled to me trying to help them and that’s the basis on which I’m going to help them. Not in this kind of group and subgroup analysis. Shhh. We’ll go back there, yes.
Q: How difficult is your (inaudible)
GUILIANI: Well, if you’ve observed me for the last three weeks you would figure out how difficult it is. It’s been very, very difficult. It’s been so far the most difficult decision of my life, the most painful, the one that I’ve agonized over the most and had the most difficult time making. Except for the decision about exactly what to do about the cancer. So that might give you a sense of the priorities.
And I also think now that I’ve made it that it’s probably been the most useful thing that’s every happened to me in getting me reoriented or oriented around what is important in life. I think somehow something good is going to come out of this, really good for me, for the people around me and maybe for the people of the city.
Q: Mayor, how much . . . done to anticipate . . .
GUILIANI: I don’t — I have not — I decided I would make this decision first and then that’s a complex legal, ethical, all sorts of questions and I’m going to need people to advise me on how to, just exactly how to do that and we’ll make — first of all, we’ll make the legal decision, we’ll make the ethical decision and we’ll figure out the best way to do that.
GUILIANI: No. I mean, last night when I left I thought, gee, I really — I mean this is — I don’t know how I can walk away from this. You know, this is so exilarating. But you know, then I got home and thought about it some more, talked to a few people, couldn’t sleep until the early hours of the morning. Woke up this morning and said that there are more important things in life. There are just more — there are more important things in my life. You know, everybody makes the decision differently.
GUILIANI: Pardon me?
GUILIANI: I’ve made the decision in my mind different ways over the last week. I mean, I’ve gone one way, I’ve gone another. I thought about what is it going to be like if I do and will I be able to handle both things going on at the same time, the medical treatments and the campaigning? Is it fair to do it? Is it fair to the people that supported me? I’ve made the decision a number of different ways and then last night when I did the town hall meeting, most of the time I thought, gee, I should do this. But I had before thought I shouldn’t. And then this morning, I decided this is not the right thing to do. It’s not the right time, it’s not the right decision. It’s not the right priority for me right now.
GUILIANI: I was pretty sure before the radio show. When I got up this morning, I was pretty sure that this is what I wanted to do. I talked to a few more friends this morning. I kind of made the decision in my mind, but I didn’t make it completely because I’ve changed my mind a few times. And then I decided right after the radio show and said I’m going, I’m going to, I’m going to, I’m going to, I’m going to do this. I told a few people I thought I was going to do it and then I decided I was going to do it. The report, I mean, I don’t want to get critical, but the report that was out that I announced it at the morning meeting this morning is incorrect. I did not. I wasn’t, I wasn’t ready to do it then. I decided it right after the radio show.
Q: Who did you call first?
GUILIANI: I’m not going to get into who I called first and, I talked to all the people that are close to me. I called all of them.
GUILIANI: Well, I tried to reach each one of them and I got them, you know, as they called back, I got them and I, you know, I’ll give you the three or four, I talked to Governor Pataki and I told Governor Pataki that I was very sorry that I couldn’t, couldn’t do this. And he said he understood completely. He’s been wonderful about this from the very, very beginning and tremendously compassionate and understanding. And I told him and then I talked to, I talked to Bill Powers. In fact, I had them both on the phone, they were both on different phones and I went back and forth and talked to them. And then I spoke to Joe Bruno and I told them that I would, consistent with the medical treatment and what I can do and consistent with my responsibilities, personal and, and as the mayor, that I would do everything that I could to help the candidate that’s elected and that I would be willing to help in other ways because I feel I owe them a real debt for the patience that they’ve had. And said that I, you know, we all need some time to figure out exactly what that means and how that’ll work itself out but I wanted them to know that I would be very supportive and very helpful to the extent that I could be.
And I also, I spoke to Senator Lott and I spoke to Senator McCain and I spoke to Senator McConnell and explained my decision to them. And I spoke to Governor Bush and told him that, that I would not be able to do this and that I felt very bad about it and that I certainly wanted to help him in any way that I could, any way he thought I could be helpful. And then I spoke to, you know, many, many of the, my close friends and explained it to them.
Q: . . .what you’re going through right now because of the marital situation, did that have any impact?
GUILIANI: Yeah, I don’t discuss my children. And, you know, the reason that I don’t do it is I think what you say to your children and what your children say to you is a — has got to be, for me, a personal thing. I’m not capable of doing that publicly, at least not right now.
Q: . . .past two weeks, are you looking back at your mayoralty and saying, geez, maybe I shouldn’t have done this, maybe I should . . .
GUILIANI: No. I’m saying, I’m looking back at my mayoralty but I’m not really looking back, I’m looking forward in my mayoralty and I’m saying that, think that one of the reasons, that I can be very — that I feel that I’m a very fortunate and a very lucky man is that I’m the mayor of New York City. And I want to improve it. I believe it’s been a very successful mayoralty. I think it’s done a lot of things that had never been done before in the city. I think there’s room for improvement. And I think that, and there’s room for improvement inside me, I, as a person. And you, you use, you’ve got to use an experience like this to do that for you. And I hope that that improvement I make in myself is going to make me even a better mayor and I can leave this city even in better shape, you know. That’s, at least that’s the challenge that I want to set out for myself.
GUILIANI: Am I closer to God?
GUILIANI: I hope he’s closer to me.