Southwest Iowa regional campaign chairman Loren Knauss and Iowa campaign co-chairman Sen. Jeff Angelo, R-Creston, said they liked what they heard during Giuliani's Council Bluffs stop Wednesday, where he laid out his plan regarding the country's judicial system.
Giuliani told a crowd of about 200 at Woodrow Wilson Junior High School he would appoint judges who interpret the Constitution, not legislate from the bench.
"One of the most important responsibilities of the president of the United States is to select federal judges," he said. "They are appointed for life. There is no chance to fix mistakes."
Knauss said that stance helped allay his concern about Giuliani's previously stated support for abortion rights. During his Council Bluffs appearance, the former mayor said that if elected, he would appoint judges like John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas. All four recently voted to uphold a ban on partial-birth abortion.
He and Angelo said national security and fiscal responsibility are issues the next president will have to deal with. Both also said they think Giuliani is the best candidate to deal with them.
"I am more socially conservative than Rudy," Angelo said. "I know from being a state legislator that constituents don't agree with you 100 percent of the time. No candidate can better address our fiscal and national security issues than Giuliani."
Angelo said he likes the candidate's problem-solving approach.
"He lays out his understanding of the issue, experience with it and how he will handle it," he said.
Knauss said his personal experience with Giuliani is a factor in his support of the former New York City mayor.
"He caught my attention after 9/11," Knauss said. "I looked into his management style and I think, as president, he will get a lot of things done. I am looking for someone who can take the reins and go."
Regarding his view of the federal judiciary, Giuliani told the crowd about a recent gun control case where he said a federal judge supported the "people's right to bear arms."
In the case, Parker vs. District of Columbia, the U.S. Court of Appeals for Washington, D.C., ruled that a D.C. law barring guns in homes violated the constitution. Giuliani said he supported the decision.
Following his speech, a reporter asked Giuliani why he did not use the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision allowing abortion in his remarks.
Giuliani told the press the crowd did not raise the issue.
"Maybe it is more of an issue for you than them," he said. But, he said he would not use the abortion issue, or any other issue, as a litmus test for selecting judges.
The candidate also discussed judicial reform, stating he supported caps on damages litigants could seek in civil cases and caps on lawyers' fees. Giuliani cited a recent court case where a customer sued a dry cleaning business for $54 million because the business lost his pants. He said the suit should not have been allowed and that the judge in the case should pay the defendant's $100,000 legal bills.
Giuliani advocated adopting a system similar to England's, where the losing party in civil cases pays the other's legal fees. He said physicians' malpractice insurance has resulted in a shortage of OB/GYN doctors, a point that resonated with Angelo.
"I was pleased he included that," Angelo said. He said the seven rural southwest Iowa counties he represents - Montgomery, Taylor, Adams, Ringgold, Union, Clarke and Decatur - are experiencing an OB/GYN shortage.
"Because of insurance rates, doctors say it isn't feasible to practice in rural areas," he said.
Knauss said public safety is his No. 1 issue.
"Ten years ago, Pottawattamie County was not considered a terrorist target," he said. "Today we have identified potential targets in our area. We are at war with people who want to kill us."
While his campaign appearance focused on the judicial system, Giuliani also answered a series of questions from the crowd, touching on immigration, trade, health care, veteran's issues, the war in Iraq and terrorism.
He said if elected, he would make the border secure before taking any action regarding illegal immigrants already residing in the country. Giuliani said he would then allow those in the country illegally to "come forward," receive a tamper-proof I.D. and "get in the back of the line" to apply for citizenship if they get a job, pay taxes, and learn to speak, read and write English. That got the candidate one of his biggest rounds of applause.
Giuliani said he would also propose a health care tax exemption for Americans to purchase their health care.
"If they can find care for less than $15,000 they would get to keep the difference in a health care account," he said.
Regarding Iraq, Giuliani said the U.S. should not show weakness. He said he opposes a "schedule of retreat," and said we need to go on the offensive against terrorists.
"(The Democrats) don't see the threat," he said.
On a local note, Knauss said he advised the Giuliani campaign to skip the August Republican Straw Poll, a decision that upset some Iowans.
"From a cost-effectiveness standpoint the money is better spent on winning the caucuses," he said. "I support the straw poll, but I personally can't ask my volunteers to pay $3.15 a gallon and buy a $35 ticket to attend the straw poll."
Knauss said he thinks Giuliani has a good chance of winning Iowa, despite current poll numbers that show him trailing Mitt Romney and, in some polls, Fred Thompson, who has not officially declared his candidacy.
"We're just getting started," he said. "We are not concerned about the polls right now."