Giuliani drops by Mel's Diner

Post-lunch attendance at a San Francisco diner jumped briefly this afternoon when a presidential candidate rarely seen in these parts — a Republican — dropped in for a half-hour campaign appearance.

Republican presidential candidate and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who was in town for a fundraiser in North Beach this morning

according to campaign staff, greeted a suddenly packed house of diners at Mel's Drive-In on Van Ness Avenue shortly after 2 p.m., shaking hands and chatting with cooks and waiters as a fleet of reporters and photographers looked on.

Smiling, Giuliani paused at one table to fill out a customer service questionnaire.

“It's wonderful to be in San Francisco, it's wonderful to be in California,” he said, acknowledging the state's important role in deciding the Republican primary and the general election.

“This is a state where I've always seen a need for bold leadership, for strong leadership,” Giuliani said.

Giuliani told reporters that fiscal conservancy and terrorism were the most important issues facing the country. He touted his intention to “reinforce the dollar” and “build the economy” by reducing the corporate tax.

“That would put more money in your pocket,” he said.

Giuliani dismissed the idea that San Francisco was a lost cause for a Republican.

“Look, I come from an area just like San Francisco — New York City,” he said. “I am used to running in a place that is overwhelmingly Democratic,” where he contended that people are receptive to his “pro-growth” ideas.

“Our corporate tax is too high. It's driving businesses out of this country” and contributing to outsourcing, Giuliani said.

Minutes after Giuliani strode out, followed by his retinue of staff, security and supporters, and after reporters cleared out their cameras, about a dozen somewhat bemused-looking diners remained.

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