'Hello, dear. I'm talking to the NRA right now'

Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani startled a United States gun-lobby audience on Friday when he interrupted his speech to take a phone call from his wife—and it didn’t seem to be an emergency.

The former New York mayor, whose leadership of the city after the September 11 2001 terrorist attacks has propelled his candidacy, fished out his ringing cellphone while addressing delegates of the politically powerful National Rifle Association (NRA).

“Hello, dear. I’m talking to the members of the NRA right now. Would you like to say hello?” he chirped.
“I love you, and I’ll give you a call as soon as I’m finished, OK? OK, have a safe trip.”

Audience members chuckled, then clapped as Giuliani closed with another “I love you.”

Giuliani, who supported gun control as New York mayor, had perhaps the toughest job among the centre-right Republican Party candidates who presented their stands at an NRA conference in Washington, an early part of the build-up to the 2008 presidential election.

The 4,3-million-member NRA’s endorsement carries considerable weight, especially for Republican candidates.

NRA executive vice-president Wayne Lapierre said that the phone call appeared to be authentic, and the audience took it in stride.

“I think it was a light-hearted moment, and they were amused by it,” he told CNN, though he added: “I don’t know that I’d have a cellphone in my pocket on during a speech.”—Sapa-dpa

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