STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) _ Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani told a crowd of about 3,000 people at Oklahoma State University that he won't contemplate a 2008 presidential bid until after November's elections.
Giuliani, who gained international attention in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, said it's important for the nation's security that Republicans retain control in Congress.
``I want to make sure that I can do everything that I can to help my party hold onto the House and the Senate because I think it's very, very important to continue the effort that we're making against terrorism, to have the commitment that we have in Iraq,'' Giuliani said during a speech Friday at OSU's Gallagher-Iba Arena.
``After the 2006 election, then I'll think about whether I should run for president, whether it makes sense,'' he said. ``We have a lot of really good candidates, some people who at least are also being talked about as candidates, and some of them are very good friends of mine. So there's a lot of thinking that goes into that, and I probably won't decide something like that until next year.''
Giuliani, who was paid $100,000 from OSU student fees for his speech, said it is imperative the United States remain committed to the president's goal of establishing an accountable government in Iraq.
``It's important for our safety and security,'' he said. ``It's the best humane objective and it's critical to establishing more order in the Middle East. But it's critical for our safety and security because ultimately that's the way in which you defeat terrorism.
``You defeat terrorism by creating where you can accountable governments in places that breed terrorism,'' Giuliani said. ``That's how we're going to make our children safe.''
Giuliani, 61, said he respected President Bush for remaining consistent to his goals ``even when other people have abandoned him.''
It's to be expected Bush's approval ratings have dipped as the war enters its fourth year, he said.
``It's very, very difficult to sustain a country through a war,'' he said.
``When we see people dying, when we see loss of life, every time you see a life is lost you wonder is it worth it, and I think the president has to be the one to keep us focused on the fact that it is worth it,'' Giuliani said.