...says Dick Morris to Dubya. HHHHHmmmmmmmmmm......

Wednesday, July 17, 2002 8:06 a.m. EDT
Dick Morris to Bush: Appoint Giuliani SEC Chief

When it comes to advising presidents on how to survive scandal, no one has more experience than former White House political guru Dick Morris.

In 1996 Morris pulled off the political miracle of the decade, repackaging Bill Clinton's scandal-scarred image so adeptly that he made him the first Democrat since FDR to win two terms as president.

Now Morris has some advice for another president facing a burgeoning scandal, George Bush. His recommendations boil down to two words: Rudolph Giuliani.

In a column set to debut in "The Hill" on Wednesday, Morris says Bush should appoint the former New York City mayor to replace Securities and Exchange Commission chief Harvey Pitt.

Only Giuliani's political star power, he warns, combined with his reputation as a tough-as-nails prosecutor, will be enough to convince investors that Bush means business when he says he wants to clean up corporate corruption.

Says Morris:

"Bush and his challenged economic team will not restore investor confidence until it names as a new head of the Securities and Exchange Commission someone who instantly rekindles credibility in the markets and sends a message to all who would defraud the system or cook the books: A tough cop is on duty. Watch out!"

Giuliani certainly has the right resumé for the job. Fifteen years before 9-11 turned him into "America's Mayor," he built his reputation as U.S. attorney for New York's Southern District, slapping the cuffs on Wall Street buccaneers like Ivan Boesky and Michael Milliken.

Until someone of Giuliani's stature is appointed, Morris argues, investors will remain "on strike."

A survey taken last week by Morris' online polling operation, Vote.com, shows that 34 percent of individual investors are current or past stockholders in one of the crippled giants - Worldcom, Qwest, Global Crossing, Enron, Merck, Merrill Lynch or one of the others.

"Badly burned, almost 40 percent of the individual investors said that they would decrease their holdings of stocks unless and until the fraud scandal is cleaned up," he reports.

"Laws and bills won't solve this problem," Morris concludes. "Men and women who win the public's confidence will - and Rudolph Guiliani is the key."