BEDFORD, N.H.--President George W. Bush fell off a Segway the first time he tried to ride one. Would-be president Rudy Giuliani wasn't about to risk the same possible embarrassment at a campaign stop here at the Segway plant on Thursday.
Giuliani, who is here in advance of the New Hampshire primary on January 8, showed up at the birthplace of the inimitable personal transporters for a morning speech and photo opportunity. He spent about an hour touring the cavernous warehouse and its assembly lines, shaking hands with employees, and signing a few autographs.
But there was absolutely no Segway riding involved, much to the dismay of the many photographers and TV crews in the audience. (Veteran CBS anchor Bob Schieffer took a test ride afterward with instruction from company CEO James Norrod.)
It fit with the theme: Giuliani wasn't here to talk technology or environmental policy (one of the company's cornerstones), and he never alluded to Segway inventor Dean Kamen's entreaties to Washington to reject substantial patent law changes.
Instead, the ex-New York mayor largely stuck to his usual talking points--fighting terrorism, lowering taxes and adding more troops in Afghanistan. He also made passing references to the need to improve math and science education but didn't offer particular pledges.
"My prime commitment is to keep America safe and win the terrorist war against us," he said in an encore press conference in the middle of the factory. While he spoke, he paced in front of a backdrop that read: "Tested. Ready. Now."--which would also be probably a good quality-control slogan for Segway manufacturing.
Four tracking polls combined and averaged by RealClearPolitics.com put Giuliani at 10 percent in New Hampshire, behind John McCain and Mitt Romney, and just barely ahead of Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul.