Kansas City, Mo. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani told Republicans here Wednesday night that a strong showing by Missouri Secretary of State Matt Blunt in November's gubernatorial election would be a key victory for President Bush as well.
"This is an important state," Giuliani told around 150 campaign contributors. "Having a very strong candidate on the ticket at the same time as the president is going to help get the president re-elected and we need that kind of help; we need that kind of support."
Missouri is one of 18 battleground states whose voter makeup and population will likely make them critical in the presidential race between Bush and Democratic challenger Sen. John Kerry.
Giuliani, who served as mayor from 1993 to 2001 and has become almost synonymous with New York's recovery following the Sept. 11 attacks, praised the Bush administration's dedication to fighting the war on terrorism. He criticized Kerry as being inconsistent in his support for the war.
"The way to really be successful in politics, not just get elected, is to set goals and stick to them even when they're unpopular," Giuliani said.
But Christine Glunz, spokeswoman for the Democratic Party, said Republicans "don't have a strong foreign policy record to stand on."
Kerry would focus on repairing relationships with U.S. allies that the Bush administration has damaged, Glunz said.
The event raised $200,000 for Blunt, who will face the winner of next month's Democratic primary between incumbent Gov. Bob Holden and State Auditor Claire McCaskill.
Blunt told the crowd that he would focus on public schools, adding that Holden did not do enough to cooperate with the Republican-dominated state Legislature to protect education funding.
A spokesman for Holden didn't return a phone call for comment Wednesday night.
Blunt also promised litigation reform, especially limiting awards provided by juries that he and Giuliani said were causing insurance premiums to skyrocket and chase doctors to other states or out of the profession.
"There are too many small businesses in Missouri who are one or two lawsuits away from going out of business," Blunt said.
Plaintiffs attorneys have argued that the number of lawsuits has actually decreased in recent years and blame insurance problems on bad investments by the insurers themselves.