From NBC's Andy Merten
Giuliani, who in the past has advocated gun control, was cordially received by the NRA today, centering his remarks on his now-familiar mantra -- borrowed from Ronald Reagan -- that "If you're my 80 percent friend, you're not my 20 percent enemy." He continued to channel from the former president, asserting that Reagan's "Peace through Strength" applies to law enforcement at home. "We need to step up enforcement against gun crimes and leave law-abiding citizens alone," he said, adding to heavy applause, "Time spent focusing on law-abiding, legal gun owners is time taken away from arresting and prosecuting the criminals who use guns."
The GOP presidential front-runner made a pointed effort to present himself as a honest leader who will be upfront about any disagreements he may have with a constituency. "I think there's a certain value in knowing what you agree with and what you disagree with someone about." He concluded his speech, "I would love to have your support in the future, but mostly, I would like us to respect each other."
Giuliani got his best reception when he digressed from the topic of gun control and revisited his recent feud with MoveOn. "We passed a line that we should not allow any American political organization to pass," he said, decrying the decision of 24 Democratic senators -- including Hillary Clinton -- to vote against yesterday's resolution to shame the anti-war group for its ad attacking General Petraeus.
The former New York mayor was also able to muster several chuckles from the audience when his cell phone rang mid-speech and he took a call from his wife. Whether this was scripted or not (the campaign later told NBC News that it was indeed Judith calling, but we've seen this happen several times in the past), the crowd seemed to enjoy the candid small talk and applauded when he concluded the conversation with a loving goodbye.