Giuliani meets with Gov. Crist

Rudy Giuliani, Charlie Crist
Rudy Giuliani, Charlie Crist

Republican presidential candidate, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, right, shakes hands with Florida Governor Charlie Crist during a campaign stop, Thursday, Jan. 17, 2008, in Tallahassee, Fla.

Phil Coale/The Associated Press
Published: Thursday, January 17, 2008 at 6:05 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 17, 2008 at 6:05 p.m.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani told Florida voters Thursday he supports a national catastrophe fund an issue important to the hurricane battered state.

Giuliani, who is campaigning daily in Florida until the state's Jan. 29 presidential primary, also met privately with Gov. Charlie Crist, who has not endorsed anyone in the Republican primary.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, who also met with Crist on Thursday, said a national catastrophe fund will be important for presidential candidates visiting the state.

"We can't get support out of the White House for a national catastrophic fund," Nelson said. "So we're going to have an opportunity now to educate the next president."

The Bush administration has argued that such a program would undermine the private market and ultimately cost taxpayers more.

Giuliani praised Bush for putting America on the offensive in its fight against terrorism.

"President Bush deserves much more credit for keeping our nation safe and secure," Giuliani told newspaper editors, writers and broadcasters at The Associated Press' annual legislative planning meeting.

He said he supported military action, if necessary, if Iran pursues its ambition to become a nuclear threat.

After sitting out the first handful of key primary and caucus states, the former New York City mayor is relying on Florida voters that include thousands of New York retirees to give him a badly needed win to get back into the GOP free-for-all.

Giuliani spent most of his 35-minute talk reflecting on his background in law enforcement in the nation's largest city and his experience in dealing with the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on his city before heading off for the brief meeting with Crist.

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