Giuliani downplays old claim that his record on jobs better than Romney's

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani speaks at the National Press Club in Washington Sept. 6, 2011.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani speaks at the National Press Club in Washington Sept. 6, 2011.
AFP/Getty Images

(CBS News) Presidential politics is not taking a holiday this weekend, and one high-profile Republican didn't do Mitt Romney any favors in a TV interview.

It's been two weeks of campaign surrogates straying off-message. The latest was Sunday, when former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani seemed to give a backhanded compliment to his candidate, Mitt Romney.

In 2008, Giuliani ran a tough campaign against Romney for the Republican nomination, and this weekend, his words came back to haunt him when CNN's Candy Crowley asked how he had compared his record as New York mayor with Romney's as governor of Massachusetts.

"There's a certain amount of personal ego in that," Giuliani said. "At that point I was probably comparing his record to my record. I had massive reduction in unemployment. He had a reduction in unemployment of about eight, 10 - I think it was 15 percent. I had a reduction in unemployment of 50 percent."

Giuliani quickly got back on-message, saying Romney was far more qualified than President Barack Obama, though he said he still saw a way the president could win.

He said, "If he gets an economy that starts improving, then it could be anybody's ball game."

It's not the first time campaign surrogates have gone off the rails. Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker, a supporter of Mr. Obama, said last week that he disagreed with the Obama campaign attacks on Romney's time at the private equity firm Bain Capital in a sound bite that quickly became a Romney advertisement.

The Bain storyline continued to play out over the weekend with Romney supporters looking to define the Bain attacks as anti-business.

(For more political analysis, including what's may be the next step for Romney and Obama in their campaigns, watch Major Garrett, White House correspondent for National Journal, on "CBS This Morning" in the video below.)

Romney campaign senior adviser Ed Gillespie said, "The president's hostile rhetoric to private investment and job creators is highlighting the fact that his policies are hostile to private investment and job creators."

But on "Face the Nation," the president's senior campaign adviser fought back. Robert Gibbs said, "This has nothing to do with being anti-business. This is a criticism, and a good criticism, quite honestly, of Mitt Romney's only thesis for being President of the United States that he's some kind of economic savior."

The consensus over the weekend was pretty much that the Obama campaign has stumbled out of the gate with these Bain attacks. The campaign now is going to double down. They have plans to step up those attacks this week. What they're going to do is tie them, or at least try to tie them, to Romney's record as governor.

Watch Jan Crawford's full report as seen on "CBS This Morning," in the video above.

  • Jan Crawford
    Jan Crawford On Twitter»

    Jan Crawford is CBS News' chief legal correspondent and based in Washington, D.C.