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FOX Roundtable on Giuliani, '08 & the NRA

FOX News Special Report With Brit Hume

BAIER: Well there you here two of the speakers at the National Rifle Association meeting here in Washington, Senator McCain, and, of course, Mayor Richard Giuliani, who may have had to be the most work at the NRA to convince people there that he is the one to take the top job at the White House.

Now some analytical observations about this from Fred Barnes, Executive Editor of The Weekly Standard, Mort Kondrake, Executive Editor of Roll Call, and Juan Williams, Senior Correspondent of National Public Radio, FOX News contributor all.

Fred, Mayor Giuliani seemed to have a tough road ahead when he stepped into this speech. What did you think of it?

FRED BARNES, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, WEEKLY STANDARD: I thought he made some headway. I thought he was very good. Wayne LaPierre, who is the head of the NRA said he liked what he heard from Giuliani.

There was that klutzy phone call from his wife that didn't help.

BAIER: Let's run that, we have some video of that. During the speech he gets a cell phone call. The phone goes off and he picks it up and says it is his wife calling, and proceeds to talk to her for a couple of minutes, I guess trying to get a laugh, but crickets were chirping in that room. There was not a lot of laughter.

BARNES: He made a pretty strong case for himself as some who is not pro-gun(ph). He said he interprets the Second Amendment as a applied to individuals, just not militia. He praised the decision in the District of Columbia that overturned a local law that says you cannot have a gun for defense.

And he was pretty strong on those things. I thought, given his background as an ardent gun controller as mayor of New York, he made some real headway today.

MORT KONDRAKE, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, ROLL CALL: I saw a clip of the head of another gun organization saying that Giuliani's problem is that he interprets the Second Amendment as applying differently in cities and in rural areas.

The Parker case, which is the D.C. case, where the court of appeals has thrown out the District of Columbia's restrictions on gun ownership is going to go to the U.S. Supreme Court.

And I hope that the U.S. Supreme Court will say it says there "A well regulated militia being necessary to protect the country, the right of the people to own guns should not be impaired," that they really think that a militia is part of the important thing, and will allow urban areas like New York under Rudy Giuliani to restrict gun sales, and that the Second Amendment does apply in different cases.

Of course, that is not the NRA position. They do have an extremist position. Any gun restriction on gun ownership is off the charts. Machine guns, bombs, whatever you want, you can have it, it's your constitutional right. I don't think that's what the framers had in mind.

BAIER: The only Democrat who was asked was Governor Bill Richardson, he did a presentation on video. What about Democrats and the NRA, or even just the gun issue for Democrats?

JUAN WILLIAMS, SENIOR CORRESPONDENT, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: I think it is much more difficult, Bret. When you think about it, the urban areas just have a different approach to this issue. And I think you even see this reflected on the Republican side with Governor Romney, who supported the Brady Bill.

And you see therefore that there is qualms among people who had to represent that big northeastern stretch, that megalopolis that stretches from Boston all the way to D.C.

And I think that, given what Mayor Giuliani even said about southern states providing a huge percent, I think he said something like 60 or 80 percent of the guns that were related to crime coming out of states where it is easy to purchase a gun. And he said he was cracking down to reduce crime.

So here h was as a crime fighter, which, I would think, is a strong conservative position, making the case. And I think among Democrats, that case will take him very far, and, I might ad, take him far among swing voters if he is the Republican nominee.

BAIER: Fred, you said Giuliani made some headway. But who is the candidate who is really attractive overall do you think to the NRA?

BARNES: Probably Fred Thompson. He said "I rest on my record." He has been pro Second Amendment, pro-gun, and a favorite of the NRA for a long time. And so they may wind up a lot of them being in his camp. Those are some of the Second Amendment single issue voters.

On the other hand, Giuliani, his attractiveness to Republicans is particularly because they think he is a strong candidate, and I just think he got over a hump. Social issues and issues like guns are tough issues for him, whether its abortion or gay rights or gun control.

And I thought, as I say, I thought he helped himself on that issue. He is not going to convince the NRA people that he is totally in their camp. But if he can just soften their irritation with him, that's progress in his case.

WILLIAMS: Chris Cox, the chief lobbyist, said "We are not going to forget the past." But he showed up. That is the best you can say about it. But I don't see that he has really made any inroads.

When it comes to all these flip- flops, people are going to ask questions. Nonetheless, right now, you look at the polls, he has had a consistent lead. The man is performing in a way that is impressive at this point.

BAIER: And everyone agrees he should turn off the cell phone.

For more visit the FOX News Special Report web page.

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