New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani made a short but busy stop in Buffalo on Saturday, meeting potential campaign contributors, attending a fund-raiser for Roswell Park Cancer Institute and fielding questions about his likely candidacy for the U.S. Senate.
Republican Giuliani took shots at his almost certain Democratic opponent, first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, but did note they share common views on at least one issue: questions about their personal lives.
"If there is one thing we agree on, this is it," Giuliani said at the Adam's Mark Hotel, where the cancer center's fund-raiser took place.
Clinton found herself answering a series of personal questions Tuesday in Buffalo when, in response to a question from a WKBW-TV reporter, she declared that she intends to stay with Bill Clinton for the rest of her life.
Then, on the following day, WGR Radio talk show host Tom Bauerle asked whether she had been sexually unfaithful to her husband or had used drugs.
Giuliani said candidates cannot control what questions are asked, but can and should refuse to answer questions they consider inappropriate.
"She's right in trying to keep her personal life out of the campaign," he said.
While in Buffalo, Clinton said she will officially announce her candidacy Feb. 6 in Westchester County, where she recently purchased a home.
Asked when he would officially announce his candidacy, Giuliani said, "I will when I am ready."
Giuliani said his primary reason for visiting Buffalo was to attend the cancer center fund-raiser, an annual event that benefits research, education and medical care.
More than 1,200 people attended the All Star Night Gala, which was arranged by the Roswell Park Alliance and honored three people.
Awards were presented to Amy Langer, executive director of the National Alliance of Breast Cancer Organizations; Linda Scime, an Alliance volunteer who is battling cancer of the brain; and Thomas J. Dougherty, a cancer center researcher who developed photodynamic therapy.
Giuliani also met potential campaign contributors while in Western New York.
Before arriving at the Adam's Mark Hotel, Giuliani attended a reception at the home of Anthony H. Gioia, a Buffalo businessman and leading Republican party fund-raiser.
Gioia is expected to serve as Giuliani's principal fund-raiser in this region, but he said the reception was not viewed as an opportunity to collect money.
"We called the reception a 'friend-raiser,' " Gioia said. "It was a chance for him to meet people who have expressed an interest in supporting him."
Gioia said about 40 people attended his affair, including Rep. Jack Quinn, R-Hamburg, and Erie County Republican Chairman Robert E. Davis.
Earlier this week, Giuliani's Senate campaign disclosed that it collected $12 million last year, $4 million more than Clinton, for his expected bid to succeed retiring Democratic Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
Giuliani briefly spoke after the Gioia reception about a handful of topics:
On the key issue of the campaign: reviving the upstate economy. Giuliani said he supports Gov. George E. Pataki's economic policies and would as a senator push to reduce federal taxes and government regulations, and to meet individually with business people to solve their problems.
On Clinton's declaration Friday that she would support abortion rights more than Giuliani: "I don't make anything of it," said Giuliani, who is pro-choice.
On why upstate residents should trust a downstate candidate: "I'm not from Arkansas," he said. "I've lived in New York State for almost all of my life. I have a record people can look to. I know the state well and am enormously committed to it."