Rudy Giuliani Edges Closer to Presidential Run


WASHINGTON (AP) - Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor whose popularity soared after his response to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, moved closer to a full-fledged campaign for the Republican presidential nomination on Monday.

In a sign that he's serious about running for the White House, the two-term mayor was filing a so-called "statement of candidacy" with the Federal Election Commission. In the process, he was eliminating the phrase "testing the waters" from earlier paperwork establishing his exploratory committee, said an official close to Giuliani's campaign.

The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid pre-empting any disclosure by Giuliani.

Unlike chief GOP rivals Sen. John McCain and Mitt Romney, Giuliani has been somewhat ambiguous about whether or not he would ultimately pursue the Republican nomination.

He took the initial step in November of creating a committee to explore a candidacy but added the caveat that he was simply "testing the waters" - a provision that allows truly uncertain candidates to move forward without any commitment to seek a top spot on the ticket or the need to identify donors. At the time, Giuliani also did not file an official statement declaring that he was a presidential candidate.

The steps Monday put Giuliani on the same level, legally, as McCain and Romney, the other two top-tier GOP candidates who have formed regular exploratory committees and filed statements of candidacy.