Giuliani Visits to Stump for McCain; the Former New York Mayor Offers Tips for a Better Jacksonville

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Byline: DAVID HUNT

He carried that crime-busting persona typically sketched into movie scripts, the tenacious prosecutor who segued into politics with a near-spotless conviction record and a moral fortitude so absolute it drew critics even as criminals were swept from the streets.

Rudy Giuliani, the former U.S. attorney and New York City mayor, built a reputation over decades for taking the broomstick to gangs, mobsters and drug dealers.

On Sunday, he was on the GOP campaign trail in Jacksonville with Cindy McCain, wife of Republican presidential candidate John McCain.

What it would take to curb Jacksonville's murder problem, Giuliani said he didn't know specifically. But he suggested innovation needs to proceed law enforcement funding, that education must remain a focal point, and that McCain - who had beaten Giuliani by a wide margin in Florida's presidential primary - was the superior choice.

Giuliani's legacy in New York is one Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton said he's examined as he works to clean the city of its nefarious nickname, The Murder Capital of Florida.

Sunday morning, Giuliani said he got a taste of the violence from the newspaper. He read about domestic violence's role in the murder rate and said he thought, "It's such a beautiful community, what a shame."

ON THE ATTACK

Giuliani criticized Democrat Barack Obama, calling him too liberal and "way off the charts." He also alleged that a liberal agenda would give criminals second chances they don't deserve through numerous liberal Supreme Court appointments.

"John understands it. He understands the value and the need for COPS [a Justice Department grant program]. Stiff sentencing and conservative judges, they are a very important part of this," Giuliani said. "I appointed tougher people in New York who weren't going to take excuses. Tougher judges will be tougher on crime."

Obama campaign officials countered by attacking McCain's record in the U.S. Senate, saying in 1994 he voted against Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden's crime bill that put 100,000 officers on the streets and led to a decline in murder. Obama, who has sided with conservative justices in the past and criticized the court's decision to outlaw the death penalty in child rape cases, also wants to restore COPS funding to hire 50,000 more officers, campaign officials said.

Peyton, who chatted briefly with Giuliani Sunday, said he agrees with the former New York mayor's points about innovation and education. …