Rudy Giuliani harbors plans to win the Republican presidential nomination. Instead of asking people for votes, the candidate addressed an evangelical congregation in Florida begging for prayers. Giuliani also referred to scripture to deliver a message of hope and firmness.
"I'm not coming here to ask for your vote. That's up to you and it's not the right place. But I am coming here to ask you for something very special and more important: I'm asking for your prayers,” Giuliani said Sunday.
Giuliani follows a strategy of pushing for a Jan. 29 victory in Florida. He hopes that this victory will push him toward a dominant showing on Feb. 5, when more than 20 states hold primaries and caucuses, and then on to the nomination for the November election.
Giuliani spoke to the congregation about the importance of faith and touched on the political topics of school choice, the fight against Islamic terrorism and illegal immigration.
"We need them at every level," Giuliani said of immigrants. He said it's a "wonderful thing" that people from other parts of the world want to come to the United States, but said the U.S. needs to end illegal immigration.
The former mayor of New York currently follows the three candidates seeking a victory in Michigan: John McCain, Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee. Giuliani previously raised serious concerns with conservative Christian Republicans when he defended rights for abortion, tolerance for homosexuals and gun control.
"I've faced odds that were at times seemingly impossible, situations where people had given up hope, but we didn't listen to the doubters, we didn't listen to the naysayers," Giuliani told several thousand worshippers at El Rey Jesus church in Miami.
"Fear not, be strong, and of good courage," he added, quoting the Bible. The church, with has a congregation of 10,000 people, was his first stop on a three-day bus tour through Florida, the AP reports.
Giuliani's Florida bus tour - expected to cover nearly 700 miles (1,126 kilometers) by the end of the day Tuesday - comes on the heels of word last week that a dozen senior staffers are giving up their paychecks this month, which some have read as a sign that the one-time front-runner is struggling with a cash shortage.
After leaving office as New York City mayor, Giuliani founded Giuliani Partners, a security consulting business; acquired Giuliani Capital Advisors (later sold), an investment banking firm; and joined the Bracewell & Giuliani law firm, which changed its name when he became a partner. In February 2007 Giuliani filed a statement of candidacy for the Republican nomination for the 2008 presidential campaign.