Giuliani Praises Christie's Keynote, Draws Parallels to Tough-Talking Governor

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani praised New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s keynote address Tuesday night — and said he sees some of himself in the tough-talking former prosecutor. 

Speaking on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show on Wednesday, Giuliani said Christie was the “perfect choice” for keynote speaker at the Republican National Convention because his take-no-prisoners approach has helped lead to change in his home state.

“Like me, he had to give the speech the convention wanted him to give, pretty much, which was a philosophical one,” said Giuliani, who gave the keynote at the RNC in 2008. “I think that was his mission. I think he accomplished it really well.”

Giuliani, a former prosecutor, said he found many parallels to the Garden State governor.

“That expression he used last night that his mother said, ‘It’s better to be respected than loved?’ My father used to tell me that,” he said, laughing.

The former mayor, who is in Tampa for the convention, also said he was “particularly impressed” with Ann Romney for delivering a “very nice picture of her husband” in her speech, which preceded Christie.

There was one area where Giuliani didn’t fully agree with the GOP: gun control legislation. The party platform does not support any form of gun control, but he believes there is a place for regulation.

“Democrats go too far in trying to blame all crimes on guns, and Republicans go too far on resisting any form of reasonable regulation of the right to bear arms, which is an important one, but still one that can be regulated,” he explained, likening gun control legislation to licensing automobile drivers. “We have a right to drive, but we don’t have an unlimited right to drive. We have to be of a certain age, we have to be able to physically function, we need to know the rules of the road, and if we abuse it, they can take that right away.”

The former mayor, notoriously tough on crime, did speak on a political topic closer to home. He said he felt that the recent fervor over the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program could be an effort to tarnish the image of Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.

He said the criticism may have “political motivations.”

“I suspect, and this could be my New York cynicism, that some of this stop-and-frisk thing is being done because they don’t want Ray Kelly to run in the Democratic primary for mayor.”