WASHINGTON -- Rudolph Giuliani said yesterday that he plans to return to politics but that it is too early to say whether that will be for the 2008 presidential campaign.
''I think I'll return to politics," he said in a speech to business leaders.
Giuliani, who had been called ''America's mayor" after his performance in leading New York City following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Giuliani has spent the years since working as a corporate executive and public speaker.
The business event, hosted by Visa USA, brought together corporate leaders, antifraud specialists, and government officials to discuss credit card security. But the first question from audience members was about Giuliani's possible return to public office.
Asked whether he had any political visions, Giuliani laughed and rubbed his forehead. ''I have some political visions," he said. ''I don't know what they are yet; they're a little foggy."
Though he was not asked specifically about the next presidential campaign, Giuliani mentioned the 2008 race and said ''it's too far away" to make a decision.
National polls regularly place Giuliani among the most popular Republican vote-getters, and he has been asked about his plans at almost every public appearance. He usually deflects the question by suggesting that he would not decide on 2008 until after the 2006 congressional elections.
During a visit to Denmark on Sunday, Giuliani said he would consider the presidential race next year. In the 2004 presidential campaign, he campaigned for President Bush's reelection.
Giuliani remains at the top of Republicans' preference for president in 2008, according to a Fox News/ Opinion Dynamics poll released yesterday. Giuliani was backed by 26 percent among respondents, while McCain was supported by 23 percent. The poll had a margin of error of 5 percentage points.