Rudy Giuliani, the front-running Republican candidate for president, had questioned what credentials Hillary Clinton, the front-running Democrat, has to serve as president in the last debate of the Republican candidates.

Tonight, in a Democratic debate, it was not Clinton, but rather one of her rivals, arguing — forcefully — that Giuliani is the one who is “genuinely not qualified to be president.” At a Fox News-sponsored debate earlier this month, Giuliani, the former mayor of New York (pictured right), had said: “I don’t know Hillary’s experience. She’s never run a city. She’s never run a state. She’s never run a business. She’s never met a payroll. She’s never been responsible for the safety and security of millions of people, much less even hundreds of people.”

“The irony is Rudy,” Democratic Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware (pictured below) said in tonight’s debate. “Rudy Giuliani, probably the most underqualified man since George Bush to seek the presidency (and this stirred laughter and applause) is here talking about any of the people here. “Rudy Giuliani. I mean, think about it. Rudy Giuliani,” Biden said. “There’s only three things he mentions in a sentence: a noun and a verb and 9/11.

“I mean, there’s nothing else.

“There’s nothing else,” Biden said. “And I mean it sincerely. He is genuinely not qualified to be president.”

Easy for Biden to say, the Giuliani camp said tonight — “Sen. Biden has never run anything but his mouth.”

“The good senator is quite correct that there are many differences between Rudy and him,” Giuliani spokeswoman Katie Levinson said tonight. “For starters, Rudy rarely reads prepared speeches and when he does he isn’t prone to ripping off the text from others. And, Sen. Biden certainly falls in to the bucket of those on the stage tonight who have never had executive experience and have never run anything. Wait, I take that back, Senator Biden has never run anything but his mouth.

“Such a desperate attack from Sen. Biden is to be expected considering I – Katie Levinson – have a better chance of becoming president than he does.”

Clinton was asked tonight how she responds to Giuiliani’s criticism.

“Well, I think the kind of experience that the Republican nominees are exhibiting is the kind of experience we don’t need,” she said.

“And I think my experience of 35 years as an advocate for children and families, as a citizen activist, as someone who helped to ring educational reform and health care reform to Arkansas, bringing the Children’s Health Insurance Program to fruition during the years in the White House, my time in the Senate, I think my experience on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue — but it’s really about what’s at stake in this election and who can deliver the change that we all know this country desperately needs.

“And in a perverse way,” she said, “I think that, you know, the Republicans and their constant obsession with me demonstrates clearly that they obviously think that I am communicating effectively about what I will do as president.”

Sen. Barack Obama was asked, “What specifically is your relevant experience for being president?”

“The experience I have in politics is primarily legislative, but here’s the experience that I think the next president needs,” Obama said. “I think the next president has to be able to get people to work together to get things done even when they disagree, and I’ve done that.

“You know, when I was in Illinois we brought police officers and civil rights advocates together to reform a death penalty system that had sent 13 innocent men to death row, and we ended up passing it unanimously, even though originally people had said it couldn’t be done,” the Illinois senator and former state legislator said.

“I also think it is critical for the next president to be experienced to stand up to special interests. I’m glad Hillary’s talking about it, but I’m the only person on this stage who has worked actively just last year passing — along with Russ Feingold — some of the toughest ethics reforms since Watergate — making sure that lobbyists could not provide gifts and meals to congressman, making sure the bundling of monies by lobbyists was disclosed.”

Posted by Mark Silva on October 30, 2007 10:05 PM | Permalink