Rudy Giuliani

Rudy Giuliani speaks at the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts on Thursday evening. The Accent Speakers' Bureau event was free and open to the public.

Brett Le Blanc, Alligator Staff

As former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani began his Thursday presentation on leadership, one audience member wanted to change the subject.

"What happened with building seven, Rudolph?" a man from the audience at the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts shouted.

"You are too rude to be entitled to an answer," Giuliani said as the audience member was escorted out. "May I suggest a barber and a haircut?"

He responded with similar humor when a second audience member began shouting about the need for honesty.

"Oh, get lost," Giuliani said. "It seems like I'm in New York. This could be Times Square. Any more clowns?"

Once the audience settled, Giuliani illustrated his six principles of leadership: strong beliefs, optimism, courage, relentless preparation, teamwork and communication.

Before the talk, mobs of people packed themselves outside the entrances to the orchestra section of the Phillips Center as officials conducted a routine security sweep, delaying the event.

Those already inside were asked to leave and wait in the lobby.

The doors opened at 7:25 p.m. and eager audience members pushed into the theater to hear the former New York City mayor speak. Giuliani took the stage at about 8:15 p.m.

"It seems that security sweeps could be done before everyone started lining up," Gainesville resident Kelley Richardson said. "With that being said, I'd rather wait and see Rudy. I'm not going anywhere."

Accent Speakers' Bureau paid the Washington Speakers Bureau $65,000 for the event, Accent Chairman Corey Portnoy said.

The event was free and open to the public.

The former mayor and 2008 Republican presidential candidate offered his six principles of leadership to an audience of about 1,500.

Giuliani had the audience laughing throughout the speech, although he also mentioned the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks five times.

Once Giuliani finished his speech, Portnoy asked seven previously screened questions from audience members.

Portnoy asked Giuliani's opinion on which GOP candidate is the best choice to take on President Barack Obama in the 2012 election.

"Take on President Obama? That's not much of a task," he said. "I think every one of the candidates running, with one exception, is ready for the task ... that one exception is Ron Paul."

Political science junior Marco Garcia, 21, said he thought Giuliani had a valuable message and delivered it well. He described Giuliani as "a true American hero."

Garcia was not a fan of the protesters, however.

"Regardless of party differences, whether you agree with the speaker or not, I think it is disrespectful."