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CBS Hounds Giuliani on Romney's Foreign Policy Speech, 'Tack to the Center'

Charlie Rose badgered former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani on Tuesday's CBS This Morning over the "few specifics" of Mitt Romney's foreign policy speech on Monday. During the interview, Norah O'Donnell boosted former Clinton Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's "full of platitude and free of substance" blast at Romney's speech.

Rose changed subjects midway through the segment and also hounded the former U.S. attorney on whether the Romney campaign has "decided to be more moderate" in the last days of the presidential race.

The PBS veteran immediately used his talking point on the former Massachusetts governor's foreign policy speech at the beginning of the interview: "When you look at this foreign policy speech, there were lots of criticism of President Obama, but few specifics...about whether he would do something really different, in terms of putting arms in Syria or troops on the ground; and...did not say we will go to war with Israel if they decide to go to war against Iran."

Giuliani answered by pointing out that "that's what you expect in a presidential campaign. What you expect are the general themes. It would be a different approach. It would be an approach by leading from the front, rather than from behind." He continued by spotlighting the 2009 Green Revolution uprising in Iran and how Obama "just let them down completely, didn't support them. That could have been the beginning of...a Persian spring in Iran, which we turned our back on. It was disgraceful that we did that."

The CBS anchor pressed his guest on this point: "What would he have done? He'd given verbal support to that? What would a President Romney have done with respect to that?" Giuliani replied by citing "what President Reagan did in Poland; what President Reagan did in the Czech Republic."

O'Donnell later chimed in with her Albright quote, without mentioning the diplomat's Clinton administration service: "You saw former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright yesterday call Romney's speech 'full of platitude and free of substance'." The former mayor retorted by pointing out the CBS journalist's omission: "Well, you know, I'm sure the former Democratic secretary of state would say that. I mean, the reality is, it set out a very, very strong approach for America being a leader."

Giuliani continued by claiming that if the Republican nominee "went too far in the other direction, they would say, well, Governor Romney was undercutting the commander-in-chief." Rose, who previously boosted the supposedly "enormously successful" ObamaCare in a softball July 2012 interview of the President, cut in and claimed "it is said that he didn't want to come across – to be compared with President Bush –  former President Bush."

The CBS anchor concluded the interview by pursuing Giuliani on the Romney campaign's supposed move to the center:

ROSE: ...Is there something going on in the Romney campaign - other than this debate - in which they decided to tack to the center? They've decided to be more moderate?

GIULIANI: Well, I think the debate was enormously important for Governor Romney, because it was – I mean, it sounds strange to say this, because he's been around for such a long time. It was his introduction to the American people as a presidential candidate. Up until then, he was a candidate within the Republican Party. But the rest of the country really didn't pay much attention to him. Now, he got a chance, and it was a very impressive performance-

ROSE: But is he moving to the center?

GIULIANI: I don't think he's moving to the center. I think he's always been pretty much where he is. It's a question of what you emphasize.

ROSE: So, he's always been a man of the center; he's always been a moderate; and the campaign that he ran in the primary, if it gave an appearance otherwise, was not-

GIULIANI: To me, Governor Romney has always been a very sensible businessman, who is going to make sensible decisions. I think ideology is important to him, but I don't think ideology overwhelms him. Some people come into politics out of an ideological background - maybe the academic environment or as a writer - or some people come out of a practical background. He comes out of a practical business background. The reason I like him as president is, this is what we need right now. We need a practical man. I think President Obama is overwhelmed by too much ideology too often - can't see his way through it. I think he has an unrealistic view of the Islamic extremist movement. I think it's – he's, sort of, almost like a little bit of a fantasy world about it.

Charlie Rose hasn't been this energetic since he badgered Dan Senor on the September 21, 2012 edition of CBS This Morning. The anchor interrupted the Romney campaign adviser six times in 50 seconds during that interview. 

The full transcript of the Rudy Giuliani interview on Tuesday's CBS This Morning:

CHARLIE ROSE: Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani ran for the Republican nomination in 2008, and is a supporter of Governor Romney. He's with us now. Pleased to have you, Mr. Mayor.

RUDY GIULIANI, ROMNEY CAMPAIGN SPOKESPERSON: Charlie, good to be with you. (laughs)

[CBS News Graphic: "Race For The White House: Giuliani On Romney's Iran Strategy"]

ROSE: When you look at this foreign policy speech, there were lots of criticism of President Obama, but few specifics, as Jan [Crawford] just pointed out - few specifics about whether he would do something really different, in terms of putting arms in Syria or troops on the ground; and, B, with respect to Israel, did not say we will go to war with Israel if they decide to go to war against Iran.

[CBS News Graphic: "Race For The White House: Romney, Obama Spar Over Foreign Policy"]

GIULIANI: Well, that's what you expect in a presidential campaign. What you expect are the general themes. It would be a different approach. It would be an approach by leading from the front, rather than from behind.

I'll give you one specific that was important to me – and because I thought this was disgraceful - when President Obama let the opposition in Iran just – just let them down completely, didn't support them. That could have been the beginning of an Arab spring – or a Persian spring in Iran, which we turned our back on. It was disgraceful that we did that. He – he would have supported that. He-

ROSE: What would he have done? He'd given verbal support to that?

GIULIANI: That's – it's not what-

ROSE: What would a President Romney have done with respect to that?

GIULIANI: What – what President Reagan did in Poland; (laughs) what President Reagan did in the Czech Republic. But President Obama seems to have missed that. He comes into these things late. His own administration describes him as leading by following – I wrote a book on leadership – that's an oxymoron. You don't lead by following. If you're following, you're following, and that's what we see in Syria. That's what we saw in Libya. That's what we saw in Egypt. And now, we see tremendous confusion, on the part of this administration, about what's really going on in – in the Middle East.

You look at Libya - it's a scandal. I mean, what happened with Libya is an absolute scandal of the biggest proportions. I think only because the campaign is going on is it being held back. So, the White House, it seems to me, knew that there was real danger to that ambassador. Not only didn't they provide the security necessary - it sounds to me like they reduced the security, which is astounding. I'm not sure that's true, but one congressman told me that. If that's true, that's really astounding.

[CBS News Graphic: "Pew Research Center Poll: Wise Decision On Foreign Policy: Among Registered Voters: Obama, 47%; Romney, 43%; Margin of Error: +/- 3.3%"]

NORAH O'DONNELL: You saw former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright yesterday call Romney's speech 'full of platitude and free of substance'.

GIULIANI: (laughs) Well, you know, I'm sure the former Democratic secretary of state would say that. I mean, the reality is, it set out a very, very strong approach for America being a leader. It talked about America-

O'DONNELL: I guess-

GIULIANI: America being more assertive. It gave three or four differences. Hey, if it went too far in the other direction, they would say, well, Governor Romney was undercutting the commander-in-chief-

ROSE: Well, it is said that he didn't want to come across – to be compared with President Bush –  former President Bush.

GIULIANI: Well, he isn't President Bush, and he isn't President Obama. It's a different approach. Is it totally different on every respect? No. President Obama hasn't been a failure in every respect. There are certain things he did in foreign policy that I respect very much.

ROSE: When you saw the numbers there, you were surprised. Is there something going on in the Romney campaign - other than this debate - in which they decided to tack to the center? They've decided to be more moderate?

GIULIANI: Well, I think the debate was enormously important for Governor Romney, because it was – I mean, it sounds strange to say this, because he's been around for such a long time. It was his introduction to the American people as a presidential candidate. Up until then, he was a candidate within the Republican Party. But the rest of the country really didn't pay much attention to him. Now, he got a chance, and it was a very impressive performance-

[CBS News Graphic: "Pew Research Center Poll: Presidential Race: Among Likely Voters: September, Obama [Up] 8 Pts.; October, Romney [Up] 4 Pts.; Margin of Error: +/- 3.4%"]

ROSE: But is he moving to the center?

GIULIANI: I don't think he's moving to the center. I think he's always been pretty much where he is. It's a question of what you emphasize.

ROSE: So, he's always been a man of the center; he's always been a moderate; and the campaign that he ran in the primary, if it gave an appearance otherwise, was not-

GIULIANI: To me, Governor Romney has always been a very sensible businessman, who is going to make sensible decisions. I think ideology is important to him, but I don't think ideology overwhelms him. Some people come into politics out of an ideological background - maybe the academic environment or as a writer - or some people come out of a practical background. He comes out of a practical business background. The reason I like him as president is, this is what we need right now. We need a practical man. I think President Obama is overwhelmed by too much ideology too often - can't see his way through it. I think he has an unrealistic view of the Islamic extremist movement. I think it's – he's, sort of, almost like a little bit of a fantasy world about it.

O'DONNELL: All right. Mayor Rudy Guiliani, good to see you-

GIULIANI: Thank you-

O'DONNELL: Thank you so much.

— Matthew Balan is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here.