Giuliani Blog Tracking the likely Presidential candidacy of Rudy Giuliani

Thursday, August 31, 2006

National Journal Grudgingly Accepts Rudy's Rise

I remember when National Journal wouldn't even admit that Rudy was one of the top 5 candidates for the nomination. Now, he's cracked into their top 3, with an assist from George "Macaca" Allen -- who may not even run.

Sure, National Journal still has a warped focus on gatekeeper support and endorsements -- trumping the buzz, grassroots momentum, and polls that tend to cause establishment support. But slowly, they're coming around:

The best-case scenario: (a) Bush's base is locked to the president because of terrorism; (b) Giuliani is the natural heir on security; (c) Social conservatives don't know Giuliani's past or choose to ignore it; (d) He looks like the most electable Republican. We don't have answers to the mechanical questions (money, staff, base-tending, pre-9/11 opposition), but we can't ignore his (growing) national popularity and the fawning from bright-red conservatives. Prediction: If Giuliani gets in, he gets in late, filling that McCain-Romney vacuum.

Not sure about the getting in late part. Rudy has consistently said he would decide after the midterms. In the wake of Rudy's 1st place Iowa showing, the latest iterations of this seems like a malicious rumor started by Romney people designed to 1) stop already committed Romneyites from giving Rudy a second look, and 2) stop Romney prospects from "keeping their powder dry" till Rudy gets in the race.

As a new media type, I'm also going to get on the Newt bandwagon a little bit. Not including Newt in their top 5 is as shortsighted as not including Rudy was. With his legitimate break into double digits nationally and his phenomenal support in the blogosphere, Newt will set the tone of the debate even if he doesn't get the nomination.

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Fox: Rudy Leads McCain By 10 Among Republicans

Now can we please dispense with this nonsense that the base will never accept Rudy?

In the Republican primary question, Giuliani (27 percent) edges McCain (25 percent) for the leader spot, with the only other candidate to receive double-digit support being former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (14 percent).

If there were only two choices, Republicans say they would choose Giuliani (46 percent) over McCain (36 percent). Among independents, McCain (46 percent) bests Giuliani (29 percent).

By a slim 6-point margin, voters who supported President George W. Bush in the 2004 election say they would back Giuliani (43 percent) over McCain (37 percent).

Assuming the Cook/RT Strategies poll that had me doing somersaults is a bit too kind to Rudy, and that this poll is a bit too kind to McCain, Rudy's lead in the two-man amongst Republicans is probably something on the order of 15 points.

And we've already seen how McCain's support is more easily peeled off once other candidates gain name recognition.

McCainiacs could easily raise the objection that independents do vote in Republican primaries. (But alas, not in Michigan anymore.) But look at Rudy's six point lead with the universe that supported President Bush in 2004. The 2008 primary electorate will almost certainly be no less conservative than the 2004 Bush electorate (which included plenty of independents and casual Republicans). And the more conservative the electorate, the more they detest McCain.

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DaveG over at Race 4 2008 has written an absolutley terrific response to John Hawkins article on Rudy's social record.

It's truly one of the best defenses of Rudy as the most accomplished conservative in America that I have read.

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Hawkins Fires at Wrong Target

John Hawkins has posted a pretty thorough roundup of the blemishes in Rudy's past social views.

The problem is that Giuliani's platform in the 2008 primary race will differ significantly from when he was running for Mayor of NYC in the late 1980's.

Just like Mitt Romney- ("I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years we should sustain and support it." and "...regardless of one’s beliefs about choice, you would hope it would be safe and legal."); or George Allen- ("abortion should be illegal when the fetus is viable, with or without life support" and "[abortion should be legal]…when pregnancy resulted from rape or incest, when the life of the woman is endangered, and gross fetal abnormality.") which would keep 98% of all abortions legal.

John McCain, who has a fairly strong Pro-Life voting record, assured an assembled group of San Francisco newspaper editors that overturning Roe v. Wade would not be a priority in his administration.

Even Condi Rice has described herself as "reluctantly Pro-Choice".

So who does that leave us in the 2008 field? Newt, Huckabee, and Brownback. Does Hawkins really believe that these are the only candidates who have a shot at the Republican nomination?

Every candidate will move to the right on a myriad of issues leading up to 2008. Rudy Giuliani included.

This issue was discussed in greater depth in a previous essay I wrote entitled "Addressing the Abortion Meme" found here.

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Poll Watch - Strategic Vision Florida

Strategic Vision Florida, Aug. 25-27, 2006

Who is your first choice for the Republican nomination in 2008? (Republicans only)

Rudy Giuliani 42%
John McCain 28%
Newt Gingrich 6%
Mitt Romney 5% Bill Frist 2%
George Allen 2%
George Pataki 1%
Rick Santorum 1%
Chuck Hagel 1%
Undecided 12%

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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Rudy On the Record on Judges and Immigration

Hizzoner was in the Twin Cities last night to raise money for Senate candidate Mark Kennedy. Rudy was the featured speaker at event which also included Sen. Norm Coleman and Rep. John Kline.

This is the second time that I have heard Hizzoner speak at one of these small fundraisers, and I can tell you that he has not failed to impress.

The main point that I hope I can convey here is how, unlike another 2008 frontrunner, Rudy always speaks in terms of what it means to be a Republican. He reinforces our core beliefs and our strengths as a political party. He talks with pride about what it means to be a Republican, and draws sharp contrasts between our party and our opponents.

Rudy spoke of a "clear dividing line" between Republicans and Democrats, and what the consequences of losing in November will mean for the conservative agenda.

The Global War on Terror was the first such issue he discussed. Hizzoner stressed that maintaining a Republican majority would mean the difference between staying on the offense against terrorism, or going on defense and waiting for our country to be attacked.

Next he discussed Taxes, and underscored how Republicans understand that cutting taxes and decreasing regulation lead to more jobs and a stronger economy. Rudy stressed that revenues have increased since the Bush tax cuts, not decreased.

After his speech, the speakers took some Q&A from the assembled guests. What was discussed in this session really gives us insight as to what "Rudy 2008" will look like; and it's not good news for Rudy's 2008 Republican primary challengers.

The first question from the crowd was regarding (no surprise) Illegal Immigration. Rudy essentially gave three steps that need to be enacted in any immigration reform legislation. The first step is to seal the borders. Secondly, there needs to be a mechanism for those who are here illegally to come forward so that we can identify who they are and screen them for criminals and potential terrorists. Thirdly, any immigration reform measure would have to include an English language requirement to foster assimilation into American Culture.

Seems to me that this is exactly what the vast majority of Americans want: Seal the borders first!, Screen out the criminals, the drug dealers, and potential terrorists; and require anyone who stays to learn our language and assimilate.

The million dollar question (in my humble opinion) was asked by myself next- the importance of strict constructionist judges in reforming the federal judiciary.

Rudy absolutely hit this one out of the park. My wife had to talk me down from a ledge upon my return last night after I realized that my audio recorder was broken and I did not get this speech on tape. But rest assured, Rudy is as far to the right on judges as anyone in the American Conservative Movement. Imagine a far more eloquent George W. Bush on the issue.

The money quote:

"I don't understand how you cannot be for strict constructionist judges" (emphasis Rudy's).

Rudy spoke of his time as a federal prosecutor and how he knows from experience the importance of this issue. He spoke glowingly of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Sam Alito (I believe he mentioned something to the effect of "You have to be happy with the President's choices of Roberts and Alito" [emphasis Rudy's]). He ended this discussion by stressing that law is to be made by legislatures, not judges who base their opinions on how they happen to feel that day.

Last night provided a tantalizing glimpse into Rudy's potential 2008 platform. From what I heard it can be summarized in this way: Stay on offense in the War on Terror; Continue the Bush tax cuts and continue to decrease government regulation on business; Seal the borders first, get rid of the felons, drug dealers, and potential terrorists, and require anyone who stays to learn the English Language; and nominate strict constructionist judges like John Roberts and Sam Alito.

Sounds like a winner to me.

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The Poll We've Been Waiting For

Folks -- not only did that Cook/RT Strategies poll show a 12 point Rudy lead in the primary, but they provided FULL crosstabs, so we can have some sense of where Rudy and McCain's support is coming from. Just as I've suspected for months, Rudy's supporters are right in the mainstream of the Republican Party, and McCain's are considerably to the left. McCain tops out in the high teens among Republicans (with Rudy in the mid-30s), and with his 40% unfavorables with the base, a field full of candidates yet to define themselves, and with so many McCain supporters who would gladly support Rudy, this poll confirms that Rudy Giuliani is the clear frontrunner for the '08 GOP nomination.

Some key findings:


  • Rudy Giuliani leads John McCain for the Republican nomination by 32-20%.
  • Rudy Giuliani is also the most popular second choice pick, at 21-17% over McCain.
  • Looking at the combined first and second choice picks, Giuliani leads McCain 53-37%.
  • When reminded about Rudy Giuliani’s 9/11 heroism and pressed on his more moderate positions on abortion, gay rights, and gun control, Republican primary voters agree that Giuliani should still be the nominee by a healthy 18 point margin – 56-38%.

Rudy Giuliani is George Bush’s heir apparent. McCain voters don’t much care for the President, and are unhappy with the current direction of the country.

  • Giuliani voters approve of Bush’s job performance 75-17%, right in line with all Republicans and Republican leaners. McCain voters are fundamentally out of step with the Republican Party, with a tepid 59-28% approval margin.
  • Giuliani voters see the country moving in the right direction by 63-30%. Republicans + leaners say right direction 59-34%. For McCain voters, the right direction/wrong track number is a negative 44-50%.
  • Giuliani voters are more positive towards President Bush personally. 28% of them give the President a thermometer ranking of 90 or above, vs. 20% for McCain supporters.

Rudy: Popular with the Republican base, with more potential to grow

  • Giuliani’s “thermometer” rating among Republicans is 13 points higher than McCain – 70 to 57.
  • 38% of Republicans give McCain a rating lower than 50 on the thermometer. Just 16% of Republicans rate Giuliani below 50.
  • Giuliani leads the primary ballot test among Republicans by 17 points – 35-18%. McCain leads amongst independents by 1%.
  • Rudy Giuliani leads John McCain in the South by 29-18%.

Giuliani supporters are more Republican than McCain supporters

  • 15% of McCain supporters plan to vote Democrat in this fall’s midterm elections, compared to 2% of Giuliani supporters.
  • 82% of Giuliani supporters consider themselves Republicans. Just 69% of McCain supporters consider themselves Republicans.

Who takes from whom?

  • People who do not want Rudy Giuliani to be the nominee are more split among rival campaigns: McCain 24%, Gingrich 13%, Giuliani 11%, Frist 11%, Allen 8%, Romney 7%.
  • Rudy Giuliani is the second choice of 50% of McCain supporters. McCain is the second choice of 32% of Giuliani supporters.
  • McCain voters feel comfortable with Giuliani – the ex-NYC Mayor trails McCain by just 10 points among McCain voters – 76 to 66. Giuliani voters are more enthusiastic about their candidate, at 82, and are cooler towards McCain, giving him a 57 – a 25 point gap between the two candidates.


  • Rudy Giuliani receives his strongest thermometer rating in the South and Great Lakes, at 62.4 percent.
  • Younger and middle aged voters seem to favor Giuliani – older voters are more likely to favor McCain.
  • McCain’s supporters are 62% male.

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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Rudy Campaigns in Minnesota

For Senatorial candidate Mark Kennedy- and Giuliani Blog will be there!

Stop by tomorrow for complete coverage of the event!

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McCain Pollster: Rudy Up 12

Not exactly the best birthday news for Senator McCain. McCain pollster Charlie Cook's latest poll shows Rudy up by 12 pts. in the race for the GOP nomination.

In even worse news, when respondents are informed of Rudy's social views, GOP'ers say "nominate him anyway" by 18%!

RT Strategies Poll, Aug 25-27, 2006

-GOP WH '08 Primary Matchup (1st place- 2nd place)

R. Giuliani 32% 21%
J. McCain 20 17
N. Gingrich 10 10
B. Frist 8 8
M. Romney 5 6
G. Allen 4 2
T. Tancredo 3 2
M. Huckabee 2 2
G. Pataki 1 2
S. Brownback 1 1
C. Hagel -- 2 1
Other/undec 14 13


-"Thinking about Rudy Giuliani, some people say he really cleaned up NYC as Mayor and made it a safer place, and then he showed real courage as a leader after the attack on the WTC.Other people say that his views on some issues -- because he is pro-choice on abortion, and supports gun control and gay rights -- make it hard for them to support him for Pres.

Which Is Closer To Your View? (GOPers only) Now - 2/26

GOPers should nominate Giuliani for pres. 56% 50%
GOPers should not nominate Giuliani for pres. 38 43


-On A 0-100 Scale, How Much Do YouLike ___ As A Person? (Mean)

R. Giuliani 59.4
J. McCain 54.8
J. Edwards 49.1
J. Kerry 44.9
H. Clinton 43.9

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Poll Watch - Strategic Vision Washington & Michigan

Strategic Vision Washington, Aug 25-27, 2006

For the 2008 Republican Presidential Nomination whom would you support? (Republicans Only)

Rudy Giuliani 40%
John McCain 28%
Mitt Romney 7%
Newt Gingrich 5%
Bill Frist 3%
George Allen 1%
Rick Santorum 1%
George Pataki 1%
Chuck Hagel 1%
Undecided 13%

Strategic Vision Michigan, Aug 25-27, 2006

For the 2008 Republican Presidential Nomination whom would you support? (Republicans Only)

John McCain 35%
Rudy Giuliani 25%
Mitt Romney 15%
Newt Gingrich 4%
George Allen 2%
Bill Frist 2%
George Pataki 1%
Rick Santorum 1%
Chuck Hagel 1%
Undecided 14%

No real suprises here. Michigan seems to be the one state where McCain legitimately leads Rudy.

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Rudy Keeps on Winning

This time it's the ultra-conservative Free Republic online poll. Rudy wins at 46%, Romney 29%, and McCain comes in last at 5%.

Since it's looking more and more like the GOP 2008 race will boil down to the big three of Rudy, Romney, and McCain, this poll is really terrific for Rudy fans as Free Republic is representative of the Conservatives that Rudy is suppose to have trouble with.

As blogger DaveG has noted, this is without Rudy making any signals of moving to the right on social issues. When he does, it appears that it will be game, set, match for Rudy.

Thanks to DaveG for the HT!

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Monday, August 28, 2006

Rudy and the Rightroots

Having dealt with Rudy's status with the Christian Right today, let's move on to another critical segment of the GOP-the Right-Wing Blogosphere. The pundits would certainly have you believe that Rudy would fair poorly here against other "more conservative" candidates like George Allen or Newt Gingrich.

They would be wrong:

GOP Bloggers 2008 Straw Poll (August 2006)

Giuliani 24.6% (22.0%)
Gingrich 21.1% (19.5%)
Romney 12.8% (15.8%)
Allen 11.5% (11.3%)
Tancredo 6.7% (4.5%)
McCain 6.4% (6.7%)
Hagel 2.8% (3.3%)
Brownback 2.5% (3.2%)
Huckabee 1.5% (1.8%)
Frist 1.1% (0.9%)
Pataki 0.3% (0.3%)

Rudy bests all challengers among conservative bloggers.

Interesting to note how far Allen's stock has fallen "post-macaca".

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Rudy and the So-Cons

The Christian News recently conducted a survey regarding potential 2008 candidates. The results are quite interesting:, the world's largest Christian portal with twelve million monthly page loads, recently gathered opinions about potential 2008 Presidential candidates. In a closed poll of 681 registered Christian voters, ChristiaNet asked voters who they would and absolutely would not vote for in the upcoming Presidential elections. Those participating could select from three democratic possibilities, three republican possibilities, or place a vote of uncertainty, if undecided.

The possible Republican candidate choices were Jeb Bush, Rudolph Giuliani, and John McCain. Bush received 44% of the votes; Giuliani and McCain each received 28%. The Democratic candidate choices included Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, and John Kerry. Clinton received 53% of the votes as the Democratic candidate hopeful, with Gore at 26% and Kerry trailing at 21%.

When pollers responded to the question of who they would not vote for, Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush were, once again, the forerunners. Seventeen percent of those polled indicated that they would not vote for Jeb Bush and 46% of pollers stated opposition towards Hillary Clinton. Results from a recent Gallup Poll support the polarized views. "All in all, the public is just about as likely ... to come up with positive views of Clinton as they are to come up with negative views," Gallup reported in a survey conducted June 26-29.

Since Jeb Bush is not running for President in 2008, I wonder what candidate would be the most likely to garner the majority of his support? Once again, from The Christian News article:
Giuliani received the least amount of unfavorable votes at 2.5%. Based on his low negative scores, Rudy Giuliani still has an opportunity to define himself to the American people. Giuliani could prove to be a contender come election time.

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Sunday, August 27, 2006

Mike McGavick Shows the Way?

WA-SEN candidate Mike McGavick scores with a pre-emptive strike against the kind of sleazy personal accusations that could have dominated the last week of the campaign. We'll know if it worked on November 7, and it's a very interesting strategy.

With all the ominous threats to make Rudy's personal life an issue, does it make sense for him to write a letter like this very early in the campaign, say January or February? If McGavick wins, I'd say it's kind of hard to argue against, and it would be the kind of gutsy, high-risk move Rudy is known for.

Like it or not, personal negative attacks are here to stay. We need to get this over with, so it's old news by the time Iowa rolls around. The "silly season" scrutiny of Bush's purported drug use in August 1999 was painful, but it prevented the equivalent of an "October Surprise" on the eve of a key primary or caucus. And had Bush fessed up to the 1976 DUI incident early on, the 2000 election may not have come down to 537 votes.

All in all, a classy move and an intriguing strategy, and a potential template for national politics going forward.

As to how personal life will figure in the 2008 campaign, I think Kate O'Beirne says it best:

Should Mitt Romney join a 2008 race that included John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich and George Allen, the only guy in the GOP field with only one wife would be the Mormon. 

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Wayne Barrett's Pile of Drivel

We haven't touched on serial Rudy basher Wayne Barrett's brazen attempt to rewrite the history of Rudy Giuliani and 9/11. You know -- this is the book where Barrett bashes the former Mayor of New York City for not having a 37-point plan to stop the World Trade Center from being attacked by airliners.

As far as hit pieces go, Barrett will undoubtedly fail. Why? Because the American people saw for themselves the real story of Rudy Giuliani on 9/11. They saw grace under pressure. They saw him calm and comfort not just a city, but a nation. They saw the orderly evacuation of New York City. They saw him at the funerals of the fallen firefighters and police officers. They know the story of him asking President Bush for the privilege to the one to execute Bin Laden. They saw him stick it to the Saudi prince, just as he stuck it to Arafat years before.

Barrett will have about as much success convincing people that everything the American people saw a lie as other conspiracy theorists will of convincing us that 9/11 was an "inside job," the Pentagon was hit by a missle, and the WTC was brought down by a controlled explosion.

And for the record, no amount of planning could have anticipated or mitigated the effects of a massive attack from the sky, or the collapse of not one but two of the world's largest buildings in the middle of downtown New York. Some things you just have to deal with. How you deal with the unexpected is the true test of a leader. And in the minds of just about every American except (now) for a tiny sliver of the crazed left, Rudy passed that test of leadership.

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Saturday, August 26, 2006

WaPo's Glenn Frankel Falsely States that Rudy Runs Second in the Polls

I don't want to begrude McCain his big profile in the WaPo's Sunday magazine. With all his complexities and contradictions, he makes an interesting subject. But this meme is just outright inaccurate, and needs to be killed dead, dead, dead:

Early polls indicate he gets twice as much support as any other likely Republican candidate except Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City, who runs close behind. (emphasis)


Not in the Pew poll taken last week. Not in any national poll taken this year -- except for Cook Political (whose pollster took a gig with the McCain camp). Not in Iowa. Not in Strategic Vision's multi-state surveys.

Frankel is holding an online chat about this piece Monday at noon. Why not help correct the record by submitting a question?

Rudy is the legitimate frontrunner for the '08 nomination, by virtue of his standing in polls and the enthusiasm he seems to generate across the Republican spectrum, most notably among the more conservative political early-adopter types outside D.C.

McCain is a potential frontrunner who runs close behind Rudy in polls but far behind him in grassroots enthusiasm. He is putting together a strong organization, copying what he believes was the Bush model from '00. He says so much in the piece:

Then, more seriously: "I think it's very clear that then-Gov. Bush had the support of the Republican establishment. He worked hard for it, and he gained it, and he deserved it." Leaving little doubt that McCain would like to accomplish the same thing himself this time around.

The thing is, that wasn't really the Bush model. I suspect if you ask a reporter, they'll tell you that was the Bush model. Even Karl Rove might describe the Bush model this way.

But the simple fact is that Bush was well out in front in the polls before he started signing consultants. It was clear from the very beginning he was a man rank-and-file Republicans could support. In 1998, I was certain George W. Bush would be the nominee and was as excited about him then as I am about Rudy Giuliani now. Bush wasn't crowned in the Beltway, though goodwill for his father certainly had something to do with it. The Bush ascendancy in '98-'99 was all about Austin, his outsider/reformer image, and his support among the rank-and-file. Seeking a winner, the big money and the huge organization followed after.

McCain's message right now is all about his organization. He's not developing a policy rationale -- at least not one that's compelling to conservatives. And it's going to haunt him. Because if 2008 is anything like 2000, the base is going to want to like its nominee and not just feel steamrolled into supporting them.

As an early Bush supporter in '00, Rudy '08 almost feels like deja vu.

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Friday, August 25, 2006

Exclusive: Polls Suggest Imminent McCain Collapse on the Right. Will It Be Giuliani vs. Romney?

The polls are really starting to get to be a yawner. How many more national polls will there be showing a Rudy-McCain race, with everyone else in single digits? As State29 said in critiquing the Iowa poll:

Remember, Iowa is the state where Pat Robertson got nearly 25% in 1988. Pat Buchanan got over 23% in 1996. And both Alan Keyes and Gary Bauer received 14% each in 2000. Without a poll showing 25% to 30% of Iowa Republicans going for some religious nut or fringe wacko, I consider it null and void.

The point is well taken. In every Presidential election since time immemorial, someone who was polling in asterisks went on to make waves. In 1980, it was George H.W. Bush; in 1988, Pat Robertson; in 1996, Pat Buchanan and Steve Forbes, in 2000, John McCain. In terms of winning the big enchilada, these candidates have a collective batting average of .000, but they posed serious challenges to the frontrunners.

It seems inevitable that a more conservative candidate will rise to challenge one of the two "moderates" on top. And with dual frontrunners, one of the two top dogs will likely be crowded out to make way for the traditional frontrunner vs. challenger dynamic. But whom? Rudy -- whose pro-life supporters will desert him once they find out his super secret (ht: DaveG) social views? Or McCain -- frontrunner in all things tactical, but dead last in the hearts and minds of the grassroots?

There is polling out there that gives us a hint at the answer, and what a field with Romney or Huckabee at 20% might look like.

Over the past several months in its state polls, Strategic Vision has been test driving two or three versions of its ballot test question, primarily introducing Condi Rice on a second question. I have been critical of this practice with respect to the fact that it will depress support for the "new" candidate. But if it's not the actual level of support for Condi Rice that matters so much as which candidate she tends to steal support from, then it can be a window into the ebb and flow of support in this wide open field.

In a sample of 13 Strategic Vision state polls taken since April, the results were as follows:

Ballot without Condi: Giuliani 37.4%, McCain 27.1% (Giuliani lead of 10.3%)
Ballot with Condi: Giuliani 34.3%, McCain 21.0%, Rice 12.2% (Giuliani lead of 13.4%)
Condi Effect: Giuliani -3.1%, McCain -6.1%

So Condi Rice would take twice as many votes from McCain as from Rudy. The 3% swing to Rudy should be more like 5% when you take into account how depressed Condi's vote share is using this technique. These results were consistent across the sample, with only one of the thirteen polls showing her pulling more from Giuliani.

Now, we take Secretary Rice on her word that she's not running, and I'm not realistically suggesting using her as a spoiler candidate. But the effect she has on McCain is significant because Condi's support in polls comes primarily from conservatives -- the same audience that Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, and Sam Brownback are courting aggressively.

Last week's Pew survey highlighted this same point. Among conservatives, she actually led, with 23%. But her support among moderate-to-liberal Republicans and all voters was a notch lower, 18%. As the only recognizable "Bush heir" in the field, she has the kind of support that any conservative challenger would need to duplicate to have a shot.

And if I'm the campaign pollster for Mitt Romney, I'm thinking that those voters are much more easily peeled off from John McCain.

I e-mailed David Johnson of Strategic Vision to ask if I was heading in the right direction. Here was his response:

Every piece of polling evidence that we have from our statewide polls show that Rudy Giuliani and not John McCain is the frontrunner for the Republican nomination in 2008 regardless of who else is in the race. In only one state does McCain outpoll Giuliani -- Michigan -- and that can be attributed to the residual effect of McCain's victory in the state in 2000. However, in that state, Romney is on the rise and he is taking voters away from McCain not Giuliani. At this time, it appears that Romney is emerging as the candidate to break out of the pack and take on Giuliani and McCain. (emphasis added)

So, in scenarios where both Rice and Romney grab a higher share of the vote, they take more from McCain. As Romney rises, McCain falls and Rudy stays steady, setting up a Giuliani vs. Romney battle for Iowa and New Hampshire. The scenario I laid out with McCain struggling to keep his head above water (20% support) by July of '07 is being telegraphed by this early polling.

Also of note: The South has traditionally been one of McCain's stronger regions, but Rudy has opened up a lead in Georgia. Could this have something to do with Newt Gingrich's polling in the high teens in his home state?

I also asked Johnson what danger there was Rudy would implode once his social views were known. Again, that dog won't hunt -- and combined with the other findings, it would seem that pro-lifers are shopping around for a better advocate than McCain.

What is interesting is that McCain's support fluctuates back and forth while Guiliani's stays solid and rises slightly in our various polls. When we have identified Guiliani's social position in polls in the South, he continues to hold his own or slightly outpoll McCain.

Johnson further attributes this to social conservatives wanting a strong leader who would continue the war on terror. (This is certainly borne out in the Iowa poll, which shows the war outstripping moral values as a concern by 3 to 1.) Johnson also brings up a fascinating historical parallel: conservatives were first attracted to Ronald Reagan for his foreign policy views, not his social conservatism. In fact, when he ran in 1976, his record on social issues could have been considered quite liberal, since he signed one of the most permissive abortion laws in the nation as Governor of California.

All this said -- Don't get cocky. I don't think John McCain will be around to bother us in February '08, but that doesn't mean we won't face an even more formidable challenger. Post Macaca, that looks like it will be Mitt Romney.

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Thursday, August 24, 2006

Cillizza Claims Iowa Republicans Dislike McCain Because He Skipped the 2000 Caucuses

You can't make this stuff up sometimes.

For Chris Cillizza, the Washington Post's lead scribe on '08 politics, immigration, campaign finance reform, the Gang of 14, global warming junkets to Greenland, working with Democrats, considering Kerry's VP offer, and hiring Deaniacs have nothing to do with why Iowa Republicans might dislike John McCain. No, instead, the only possible explanation for McCain's 25 percent unfavorable rating in the Iowa poll showing him getting owned by Rudy is that he skipped the Iowa Caucuses in six years ago.

Never mind that McCain's unfavorable ratings among Republicans nationally are almost the same: 27 percent.

If this is the level of understanding of grassroots conservative politics that the pro-McCain Beltway media brings to the table, my confidence that Rudy will be nominee is very well placed indeed.

Other than that, he does give the Iowa poll a pretty good writeup. But sheesh... some people need to start paying closer attention to America outside the Beltway.

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Some people are just born with it: The ability to inspire confidence and hope in their fellow man.

Churchill had it. Reagan had it. Rudy has it:

Giuliani: We can’t lose resolve in fighting terrorism

"They’re still attempting to attack us. We still have to be committed to being on offense against terrorism and we can’t lose our resolve just because time is going by, even if that is sort of the natural, normal thing," he said. "We don’t have the room to do that since we’re still under attack."

Rudy once again strives to keep us focused at what is important. We are a nation at war with an enemy as dangerous as any that we have ever faced. Rudy will not let us forget.

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You Must See World Trade Center

I finally saw World Trade Center tonight. And I must confess I don't see very many movies because even the good ones nowadays don't seem to stick with you for very long.

This one will -- in a way no other film can. It will send chills down your spine. It will make you upright in your seat, always at attention -- and lift a cloud from your eyes and make you see clearly the unfiltered truth that the media (and fading memories) has obscured for almost five years.

For me, it made me relive the emotions of that day almost minute by minute. As numbed as we've become to what's at stake in this struggle for survival, the steely resolve of that day does return quickly if only we are given the right medium to relive what we felt that day. World Trade Center is just such a medium.

In the years after 2,403 Americans perished at Pearl Harbor, over 400,000 American military men and women would give their lives to ensure the defeat of totalitarian fascism. In the post-9/11 era, it is doubtful we will ever be called upon to make a sacrifice of similar magnitude to defeat the scourge of global terror -- and shame on us every day we dishonor the heroes with words like "quaqmire", "exit strategy", and "withdrawal."

A man named Dave Karnes understood that defending freedom isn't easy. He is the ex-Marine in the film who recognized instantly we were at war, and rushed to Ground Zero to join the rescue. He was the first to join the battle, and since re-enlisted, serving two tours in Iraq.

Much less is required of us, but we still have a mission, America. A mission to finish what we started.  

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Giuliani Leads Georgia by 10 (Piling On, I Know...)

In the wake of the Iowa eye-opener, this might seem like piling on, but long term it's equally as significant.

Down South, it's Rudy all the way:

19. For the 2008 Republican Presidential Nomination whom would you support? (Republicans Only)
Rudy Giuliani 30%
John McCain 20%
Newt Gingrich 17%
Mitt Romney 6%
Bill Frist 5%
George Allen 3%
Rick Santorum 1%
George Pataki 1%
Chuck Hagel 1%
Undecided 16%

It's time to stop considering conservative support for Rudy as a theory and start treating it as a fact. Iowa... Georgia... Wisconsin... Pennsylvania... America's Mayor will be America's Nominee and America's President.

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006


This is the first all-caps title ever used on Giuliani Blog, and deservedly so.

So, remember the c.w. that Rudy may poll well nationally, but doesn't stand a chance in the Iowa Caucuses dominated by Christian conservatives?

Well, not so much. From an (R) poll conducted by Victory Enterprises, the firm of former Iowa GOP Chairman Steve Grubbs (N=400 caucus-goers):

Rudy Giuliani 30.0%
John McCain 17.3%
Bill Frist 6.5%
Mitt Romney 4.5%
George Allen 3.5%
George Pataki 3.3%
Mike Huckabee 2.5%
Sam Brownback 2.5%

This goes with all the usual caveats. The margin of error will be relatively high. It's still early, and the lesser known candidates still need to introduce themselves.

But it's worth noting that those unknown quantities with huge upside potential do not include one Senator from Arizona.

(Oh, and 70% of the sample describe themselves as pro-life.)

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Rudy Draws First Blood

If the 2008 race does end up being Rudy vs. Hillary, we can look back at this story as the opening shot of an epic battle:

Republicans Can't Wait To Vote Against Hillary: Giuliani

Republicans relish the prospect of Hillary Clinton running for president in 2008, just so they can vote against her, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani was quoted as saying.

Giuliani, who is expected to be a leading candidate for the Republican Party nomination, described the New York senator and former first lady as a polarising force who ignited strong passions across the political spectrum, the New York Post reported.

"Democrats seem to support her as their main candidate for president -- she's way ahead of anybody else -- and it seems like Republicans are just waiting for her to be the candidate so they can vote against her," he said.

"Hillary probably has the distinction of being the best fundraiser for the Democratic Party -- and the best fundraiser for the Republican Party," he said.

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Monday, August 21, 2006

Go Read the Anchoress

Like, now.

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Is McCain Really Locking Up GOP Talent? Nope.

"Organization" is the last refuge of McCainiacs. Unable to argue that their guy would make a compelling pick for the Republican base, or even that he is a loyal conservative, or even that he's the most electable, when confronted with the mountain of evidence against McCain's viability provided by us pesky Rudyites, they invariably fall back on the excuse that all of that may be true, but McCain is more organized.

Today's NYT doc dump on all the Republican luminaries now supporting McCain is bound to add fuel to the fire. Tinfoil hat firmly in place, I'm still noticing a rough pattern of these stories cropping up when Rudy seems to be catching fire, and he seems to be doing well in Tradesports as of late.

But before I begin with the political strategy part of the post, all illusions that a President McCain would continue what President Bush started in the War on Terror now lie in ruins:

Powell... Armitage... SCOWCROFT?!?

They are of course joined by fairweather hawks Kristol and Kagan (last seen arguing why having a Democrat in the White House wouldn't be so bad). Is this list supposed to impress us? Is it supposed to make us coo in amazement at the wizened insiders McCain is recruiting? Because as a staunch GWOT hawk, this accomodationist bunch makes me see red -- right up there with McCain's listing "working with allies" and ending "torture" as two of his top four priorities. What's next, Hagel as SecDef?

But back to the political side of things. Is McCain really "locking up" all the talent there is?

Not really. Sure, they're making these announcements early. But the Republican bench is a lot deeper than just Terry Nelson and Mark McKinnon. McKinnon is a case in point. He wasn't the sole Bush ad guy. He coordinated a team of about a dozen of the best and brightest who would face off against one another to produce the best spots. By my counting, none of those dozen media consultants have been spoken for.

Take the case of the Rangers and Pioneers as well. McCain is said to be "locking up" all the fundraising juice in the GOP. But as of now, he doesn't even lead in Ranger & Pioneer recruiting. According to Chris Cillizza, that title goes to Mitt Romney, who has recruited 14, to McCain's 11, and Frist's 7. There were over 300 Rangers and Pioneers on the Bush campaign. By this measure, GOP fundraising is far from "locked up." Actually, the door is 89% unlocked.

Under Karl Rove, the Republican Party has gotten a lot better at winning elections, and with this comes a deeper bench of seasoned political operatives who know to win. McCain hiring two or three people from the Bush high command doesn't concern me yet since there are still about a dozen left to be spoken for. And this assumes that no new talent will emerge. Who knew who Karl Rove was before 2000? Who knew who Michael Deaver was before a guy named Ronald Reagan came along?

This isn't to say Rudy doesn't need to get busy hiring. But when he does, he'll still have a very deep bench of fundraisers and operatives to choose from.

To buy into this latest John Weaver ploy would be self-defeating in the extreme.

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Rudy Opens His Checkbook

To help out fellow GOPer's this cycle:

Former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani has been stumping across the country for Republican candidates, and new campaign filings show he's bringing his checkbook with him. He shelled out $126,900 to GOPers last month.

While he gave money to candidates from Florida to Washington state, the biggest chunk went to a New Yorker: John Faso, the Republican running for governor against Eliot Spitzer.

Giuliani has been a popular fundraiser for Republicans since winning widespread praise for his response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

Giuliani's recent political schedule emphasizes helping fellow Republicans and simultaneously boosts his own profile within the party. He has said he will not decide whether to run for president until after the 2006 elections.

Last week, he made his first major political trip to South Carolina, the state which traditionally hosts the first Republican primary in the South.

On Monday, he appeared at an upstate New York firehouse with Rep. John Sweeney, who is battling a well-funded Democratic challenger this year. Later this week, he headlines a rally at a Pennsylvania firehouse for embattled Rep. Jim Gerlach.

Giuliani's political donations came in the form of $2,000 or $5,000 checks from his PAC Solutions America to candidates that included House Speaker Dennis Hastert of Illinois and New Mexico Congresswoman Heather Wilson.

"It's just evidence of what Rudy Giuliani's been saying all along, which is that he's strongly supporting Republican candidates across the country," said Solutions America spokesman John Avlon. Records show the group also registered a new Web site last month, but Avlon declined to say what it was.

Giuliani's PAC has taken in $2 million this year.

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Sunday, August 20, 2006

In S.C., Voters Care Most About Leadership

I've just bookmarked Sunny Phillips' excellent S.C.-centric Crunchy Republican blog, and it'll be a regular read until we're all huddled up in Columbia counting votes on a night 18 months from now.

Who else would dig up the 2000 South Carolina exit poll, and find historical confirmation of the Lee Bandy thesis that leadership will matter more than social issues -- even in Southern primaries.

Read the whole thing.

P.S. Phillips was apparently a former finance director for the SC GOP, so she knows what she's talking about.   

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Time Ignores the Elephant in the Room

A poll in this week's Time magazine -- the one with Hillary on the cover -- has McCain eeking out a 2-point win. The folks at Time even threw in a couple of other has-beens -- John Kerry and Al Gore -- and McCain beat them by healthier 10 and 9 points margins respectively.

Notice who's missing from the poll. Is Time saying the outcome of the Hillary-centric Democratic race is less certain than the Republican race?

But Time does bother to poll Rudy's favorability, and it comes up at 64 percent vs. 56 percent for McCain.

So, Time knows who the strongest Republican is -- so they pick the weaker of the two to run against Hillary, and use the piece to claim unstoppable Hillary momentum.

Nice try.

Once people start figuring out that McCain isn't the strongest candidate we can run against her, his insider shell game starts falling apart.

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Lee Bandy: Social Issues Unlikely to Hurt Giuliani

Lee Bandy is the dean of political reporters in South Carolina -- think Yepsen in Iowa and DiStaso in New Hampshire.

Today, he focuses his column on social issues and Rudy Giuliani, and concludes that they won't hurt him down South as much as people think:

Former state GOP chairman Barry Wynn said the party needs to take a fresh look at the way it regards new voters, especially those new residents who’ve settled along the coast and are starting to have an impact on state party politics.

Those voters tend to be more progressive in outlook and are more inclined to support someone like Giuliani.

“I think Rudy could be more popular in South Carolina than most people would think,” Wynn said.

The debate in 2008 isn’t going to be about tax cuts, abortion or Social Security reform — Republican favorites.

“The overarching issues this time will be national security and leadership,” Wynn said. “Everything else will fit under that.”

Such a scenario favors Giuliani, Greenville consultant Chip Felkel said.

Francis Marion University political scientist Neal Thigpen, a GOP activist, said Giuliani is in a “special category.”

He’s a “glittering personality” with star quality who can get away with supporting legalized abortion and gay rights.

His position on those social issues “would not hurt him as bad over the long haul as one may think. If John McCain had the same position, it would hurt him a lot worse.”

Barry Wynn, fast becoming the go-to guy in S.C., concludes:

“If your house is on fire,” Wynn said, “you want a guy with the hose.”

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Saturday, August 19, 2006

Rudy, McCain and the Tyranny of the Moderates

I'm going to try and be as even-handed as possible with this one, because the numbers on this one are throwing me through a loop as I figure out how McCain vs. Giuliani might play out in the moderate vs. conservative paradigm.

Two significant data points came out on this this week. On Friday, Pew released its poll of the 2008 GOP candidates, and broke it down by all voters, moderate-liberal Republicans, and conservative Republicans. The results are in this chart:


McCain's support slips pretty dramatically from when you exclude Democrats and independents from the equation. Rudy is seen as the classic moderate Republican, and is optimizing his support with moderate/liberal Republicans. McCain's center of gravity is probably a bit to the left of this, (dangerously) outside the boundaries of the Republican Party. And overall, we continue to see that moderates are overserved by the current configuration of the field, while conservatives are underserved.

Sure, conservatives are plenty happy with Condi (who won't run) and with Newt (who probably won't run). But looking at who actually is running, it creates a high dissatisfaction with the current frontrunners and the perfect conditions for a "right-wing" candidate to emerge from the bottom of the field.

Giuliani still beats McCain with conservatives, and by about the same amount as he beats him with moderates. But notice how the numbers for both candidates are lower with conservatives.

The big question becomes: How does this race polarize on moderate vs. conservative lines if neither candidate can claim a decisive advantage in either camp? The answer is that this race probably doesn't -- and a conservative alternative will rise by cobbling together the large number of undecideds or dissatisfied right-wingers, and this will eventually begin to put pressure on one of the two front-runners.

But which one?

For that answer, I think we'll have to consult Rasmussen, which this week polled on public perceptions of the ideology of the two GOP frontrunners. This measure placed McCain somewhat to the left of Giuliani. Overall, more people were willing to classify Giuliani as a conservative than were willing to say that about Senator McCain. From Angus-Reid's writeup of the results:

Do you consider John McCain conservative, moderate or liberal?

Moderate 44%
Conservative 22%
Liberal 13%

Do you consider Rudy Giuliani conservative, liberal or moderate?

Moderate 36%
Conservative 29%
Liberal 15%

As we've noted before, Republicans considered McCain as liberal as he was conservative, while the conservative-liberal gap for Rudy was 13 points.

Predictions of Rudy Giuliani's demise are predicated on the notion that voters aren't sufficiently informed of some of his liberal views. But Rasmussen's polling suggests that voters on both the left and right have correctly pegged Rudy as a moderate or center-right politician. If anything, it's McCain who inspires more confusion, scoring a few points to the left of where he actually is, and his unpredictable views make it really difficult for him to build a political base within the Republican Party.

Back to the original question. Which of the moderate "frontrunners" will get squeezed? To the extent that McCain is perceived as being to the left of Rudy, and to the extent the anecdotes about conservative enthusiasm for Rudy are accurate, this probably makes McCain's 19 percent third place showing with conservatives heavily dependent on name-ID and "it's his turn" sentiment, soft support which can more easily be peeled off by a Mitt Romney or a George Allen.  

But McCain can rally moderates and independents can't he? Well, no, not really -- not with Rudy overperforming with those voters already. Rudy overall benefits from having clearer positions and a clearer political constituency, in contrast to McCain who seems to be all over the place. And we begin to see the outlines of how McCain fades. It goes like this.

1. January-June 2007: Media is obsessed with the Rudy vs. McCain dynamic, covering their every hire and fundraising report. The race remains relatively static.  
2. Summer 2007: Media notices that a conservative dark horse starts to make a move. Polls begin to look like Rudy 30%, McCain 25%, Conservative "alternative" 15%.
3. Also during Summer 2007: Pundits also notice that McCain, under withering attack from 527s, talk radio and bloggers, hasn't moved at all. A poll or two showing him below 20% gets the media in a tizzy about the bursting of the McCain frontrunner bubble. McCain starts losing what conservative support he had. But the race isn't leaderless -- Rudy is there, deftly taking advantage, and the defection of a major fundraiser or two from McCain is taken as a sign of shifting momentum.
4. Fall-Winter 2007: Polls show Rudy 35%, Conservative "alternative" 20%, McCain 15%.
5. Alternative candidate surges and wins Iowa, with Rudy second. McCain is a distant third.
6. McCain tries to revive in New Hampshire but it's too late. Rudy wins. McCain drops out. 
7. Conservative alternative wins South Carolina and possibly Michigan. But Rudy wins a moved-up Florida primary to shift the momentum back his way.
8. But Rudy cleans up on Super Tuesday, winning New York, California, and Ohio.  

This Rudy-McCain thing is but a sideshow and a prelude to the real battle. The domination of the field by perceived moderates probably won't stand, but right now, it seems like Rudy (narrowly) has the upper hand.

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Solutions America August FEC Report

The Solutions America FEC report came two days early this month, as the traditional posting day (the 20th) falls on a Sunday. Some highlights:

  • Overall: The Committee raised $357,901 in July and spent $306,876.31, $92,000 of which were contributions to Federal candidates.
  • Contributions -- Key States: In July, Rudy made contributions to three Republicans running for Congress in Iowa, Steve King, Tom Latham, and Mike Whalen, each for $2,000 -- as well as maxing out to the Iowa Prioriries Action Committee, GOV candidate Jim Nussle's PAC. In South Carolina, Rudy made a $2,000 contribution to Ralph Norman's Congressional campaign.
  • Contributions -- Other: Other candidates Rudy contributed to included Michele Bachmann (MN-06), Michael Bilirakis (FL), Brian Bilbray (CA-50), Eric Cantor (VA), Chris Chocola (IN-2), Rick O'Donnell (CO-7), Deborah Pryce (OH), John Ensign (NV-SEN), Dave Reichert (WA), Max Burns (GA-12), Mike McGavick (WA-SEN), Speaker Dennis Hastert, Heather Wilson (NM-1), Lincoln Diaz-Balart (FL), Mac Collins (GA-8), Mario Diaz-Balart (FL), Pete Ricketts (NE-SEN0, Anne Northup (KY-3), Pete Sessions (TX), John Raese (WV-SEN), Shelley Moore Capito (WV), Charles Taylor (NC), Curt Weldon (PA), and tending to the home front, a whopping $33,900 to John Faso's campaign for Governor in New York.
  • Staff & Consultants: Solutions America added one Colin Probert to the payroll in July. Otherwise, the staff has remained consistent: John Avlon (as Communications Director), Michael Mahoney, and Melissa Davis. The PAC continues to retain Anne Dickerson and DGM & Associates at $25,000 a month -- money well spent since Dickerson was director of Rangers & Pioneers at Bush-Cheney '04. They have also hired the firms of McDermott Will & Emery and Covington & Burling to do their legal work. (It should be noted that most of Rudy's high command -- Tony Carbonetti, former Karl Rove deputy Chris Henick, and spokeswoman Sunny Mindel -- work out of Giuliani Partners.)
  • Web: Rudy continues to have the best website of any of the contenders on the Republican side (compare this to this, and you'll see what I mean). RightClick Strategies gets $28,000 for the month -- or nearly 10% of all spending.
  • Meeting Expenses: I won't go into the line-by-line here, but there seem to be more than a couple of $2,000-$3,000-ish bills for "meeting expenses" around New York City. Could be a sign of Rudy's courting of big donors.

Make your mark on next month's report (and obligatory GB post) by donating.

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Weekend Special: RudyBlogger's 2008 Power Rankings

This past week, Race42008 published my primary Power Rankings -- what I really think about the 2008 nomination process. Take a gander below.

Note: George Allen's odds are now (at best) in the 10-15% range after this week.

1. Giuliani – 27% chance of winning

I’m picking my guy Rudy for the top slot, but the race is exceptionally tight among the top four, and Rudy currently has a 27% chance of winning – hardly a commanding lead over Mitt Romney’s 26%. If he gets in, and I’m assuming he does, the race will start revolving around Rudy as people figure out that McCain is no longer necessary to guarantee a Hillary defeat. My odds are largely done on the basis of head-to-head matchups among the top four, and I give Rudy 70% odds of defeating McCain head to head, but only a slight edge over Mitt Romney and dead even odds against George Allen. The more conservative the challenger (within reason), the easier it will be to contrast with Rudy. To be sure, Rudy needs to do a lot of things right to merit top billing. He can’t dream of moving forward without giving us solid assurances on judges. He’ll get knocked down a peg or two in the primaries, but he’s got a lot of room to fall – and he’s one of the few politicians I’ve seen whose support is as deep as it is wide.

2. Romney – 26% chance of winning

I actually don’t foresee a Rudy-Romney battle down the stretch. Both of these men occupy roughly the same space – competent, take-charge executives without the drawl. If one of them collapses well into the race, I’d see support flowing fairly easily to the other. But if the MSM scenario of a Rudy collapse does come true, bet on Romney to be the one who stops McCain. He’s not as well known, but the more people see him, the more they like him. And if he wears well, he can easily overcome the deficit he now faces in electability vs. Hillary, though I don’t foresee him taking the outright lead. Romney is also building an incredible operation in the early primary states.

3. McCain – 20% chance of winning

This one will earn me scorn and ridicule with the Beltway crowd, but I’ll heap it right back on them. I’m normally a conventional-wisdom kind of guy, but they’ve dramatically misread the situation with McCain. His lukewarm ratings, especially among the people who really vote in primaries, make his candidacy DOA, most notably against a Rudy or a Romney. So, what does McCain have going for him to keep him at #3? Two big things: He’s been through this once before, so he has an in-built infrastructure and name-ID edge in the early states. Granite Staters and Michiganders have voted for him before. Secondly, the Hillary factor-Republicans may be so desperate that they’ll nominate him, but that becomes largely irrelevant if the more trusted Rudy runs. If he does win – and I don’t discount the possibility – he will be a Dole-Kerry type of nominee, who won by default because more appealing candidates build a head of steam, shorn of the straight talk that made him so exciting in 2000.

4. Allen – 20% chance of winning

George Allen is a natural favorite of grassroots conservatives and it’s tempting to put him right up there with Rudy. If Rudy emerges as a serious contender, expect Allen to rise right up to challenge him as the conservative counterweight. He’s weak against Hillary, but his greatest chance of success comes if social conservatives really do decide to do a kamikaze on Rudy. In a normal year, a candidate like Allen would be a solid favorite for the nomination. But coming after eight years of a folksy, likeable guy named George, Republicans will probably take pause before nominating a Bush clone.

5. Huckabee – 5% chance of winning

If there’s anyone who fills the McCain 2000 role in this race, it’s Huckabee, who combines Christian conservative credentials (he’s a Baptist minister) with straight talk and heterodox positions that the media will slobber all over. He’s a wildcard who could surprise us in Iowa and edge into the top three nationally. And he’s a Governor in a race that badly needs more of them.

6. Gingrich – 1% chance of winning

Those banging the Newt drum do so without any notion of just how unelectable he’d be. But he does seem to have a stubborn streak of national appeal that can’t be ignored.

7. Senator Bill Frist – 0% chance of winning

Great bio, horrible leader. He’ll have lots of money, but that’s about it. The question is if voters have a short enough attention span that he’ll be able to refocus attention on his appealing personal narrative and Presidential demeanor. If he were running in 2012, maybe. And in American politics, you don’t fail up.

8. Brownback – 0% chance of winning

He can be the Gary Bauer or Alan Keyes of Iowa ‘08. But that’s about it. Doesn’t have the fire in the belly to be a populist in the mold of Pat Buchanan and Howard Dean, and that’s what you need to if you’re a dark horse.

9. Pataki - 0% chance of winning

DOA. And did I mention that pit in lower Manhattan?

10. Hagel - 0% chance of winning


11. Tancredo - 0% chance of winning

If the immigration issue is still hot, I can see him pulling 15 or 20% in Iowa or New Hampshire and making the cover of Time magazine, and that if he’s smart. But he’s got the same problem as Brownback – a milquetoast personality. They don’t make protest candidates like they used to. He’s more Morry Taylor than Pat Robertson.

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Just Sayin'

Ryan Sager's Rudy in Carolina piece is highlighted on the Mayor's PAC's website.

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Friday, August 18, 2006

Poll Watch - Strategic Vision Wisconsin

Another strong showing for Rudy.

Strategic Vision Wisonsin Poll, Aug. 11-13, 2006

Who is your choice for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2008? (Tommy Thompson included; Republicans only)

Rudy Giuliani 29%
Tommy Thompson 23%
John McCain 20%
Mitt Romney 7%
Newt Gingrich 4%
Bill Frist 2%
Rick Santorum 1%
George Pataki 1%
George Allen 1%
Chuck Hagel 1%
Undecided 11%

Who is your choice for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2008? (Tommy Thompson excluded; Republicans only)

Rudy Giuliani 38%
John McCain 27%
Mitt Romney 9%
Newt Gingrich 5%
George Allen 2%
Bill Frist 2%
Rick Santorum 1%
George Pataki 1%
Chuck Hagel 1%
Undecided 14%

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York on Southern Fried Rudy

Ryan Sager isn't the only one paying attention to this. Byron York was down in South Carolina too. His piece is pretty fair considering the fact he's been outright dismissive of Giuliani's chances in the past.

Like Sager, York tries to drill down on exactly how much resistance Giuliani can expect on the social issues front. He notices that right now it's a lot less than you would expect.

But regardless of whether or not this is right, I think we'll have to take this assessment to heart:

There’s no doubt that some South Carolina voters agree wholeheartedly. But how many? There are no solid numbers, but Smith — along with several other political observers — believes the group is pretty big. “If you were to say, What percentage of South Carolina voters are value voters, that would probably be as high as 70 percent,” Smith says. “But as far as those who see some of these issues as disqualifiers, I think that number would be in the 40 to 50 percent range. I don’t think you can say that the number of people who are motivated even partially by social issues falls below 40 percent.”

In the interests of being realistic, if you had to rank states in terms of the influence of values voters, South Carolina would be in the top 5. Rudy doesn't need to win in South Carolina, but he does need to be competitive, and his popularity with the maybe 60% of voters who aren't solely motivated by values issues keeps him in the hunt.

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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Strategic Vision: Rudy Still Dominates PA, NJ

H/T Kavon.

Strategic Vision New Jersey, Aug. 11-13, 2006

Who would you support for the Republican nomination in 2008? (Republicans only)

Rudy Giuliani 44%
John McCain 28%
Mitt Romney 7%
Newt Gingrich 3%
George Pataki 1%
Bill Frist 1%
Rick Santorum 1%
George Allen 1%
Chuck Hagel 1%
Undecided 13%

Strategic Vision Pennsylvania, Aug. 11-13, 2006

Who is your choice for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2008? (Republicans only)

Rudy Giuliani 44%
John McCain 24%
Mitt Romney 6%
Newt Gingrich 5%
Bill Frist 3%
George Allen 3%
Rick Santorum 1%
George Pataki 1%
Chuck Hagel 1%
Undecided 12%


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McCain-Allen Event Bombs

You'd think an event featuring not one but two Presidential hopefuls, one of them embroiled in controversy, would attract quite a crowd. Well, not quite -- not even after a second round of phone calls to drum up turnout.

The evening was billed as a "veterans for Allen" rally, but the hotel's conference room was less than half-filled, even after a phone push for a larger turnout. Veterans came from as far away as Colonial Heights, but their numbers were little greater than the reporters and camera people who were there.

As it was, the rally started 10 minutes late and finished more than 20 minute early, according to a campaign worker's schedule.

Hopefully Allen will have better luck with the Giuliani event in two weeks' time.


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An Actual Iowa Poll! Rudy a Strong Second

Well, it's not scientific, but the Iowa State Fair is about as close as it gets. WHO-TV's Dave Price decided to ask Fair-goers to "cast their kernels" for '08. Rudy (who has no organization in the state) finishes a strong second to McCain:

The repubs:

John McCain 24% (Met many friends at the fair)
Rudy Giuliani 22% (9/11 made him strong among "r's")
Condoleeza Rice 22% (Never been a politician. Many here say she should)
Newt Gingrich 10% (Contract with America still pretty strong)
Mitt Romney 9% ("R" in a "D" state at home; middle of the pack here)
Bill Frist 6% (The doc may need some more patients)
Mike Huckabee 2% (Lost a ton, hasn't found a ton of support)
George Pataki 2% (Stands tall among peers, falls short in poll)
George Allen 1% (Is the Hall of Fame coach more known here?)
Sam Brownback 1% (So much for sharing the midwestern love)

This poll largely reflects the name ID polls (with Condi polling really strong). But throw organization in the mix and we begin to see the contours of Iowa '08.

Rudy, who has no organization yet, nearly ties McCain, who has Terry Nelson and Chuck Larson on his team (and was at the Fair, and presumably got some good exposure with those that took the poll). Newt will poll strongly with or without an organization. Another big surprise is Mitt Romney, who moves the needle despite his lack of name ID, with a good organization. 

Huckabee is flatlining so far and Allen is surprisingly weak (behind Pataki, whose organization gets him from an asterisk to 2%). Scoring this, I'd say it's plus arrows for Giuliani and Romney, results about as expected for McCain and Newt, and a dissapointing finish for Allen (who's probably dead anyway after this week).

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Ever Wanted to Be a Fly on the Wall When Rudy Meets with Conservative GOPers?

Well now you can, thanks to this great Greenville News piece on Rudy's visit to the Palmetto State. It's a great tick-tock of the Mayor's meeting with South Carolina GOP insiders, with Rudy answering questions about how a former NYC mayor will play in the South.

And the Hotline notes that Rudy has "bagged a whale" -- former S.C. state GOP chair Barry Wynn -- who has been making pro-Rudy noises for a while and has now formally commited to a Giuliani candidacy if the Mayor runs.

Read the whole thing.

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Coverage of Rudy's Visit to South Carolina

I hadn't posted on this earlier because the day-of articles really didn't have much to say. Consider this post a comprehensive roundup. Just in-- Rudy nearly endorsed Lieberman. (This puts his views in line with 75% of Connecticut Republicans.)

CHARLESTON, S.C. - Rudy Giuliani last night praised Sen. Joe Lieberman as a "really exceptional" senator, and called his support for the war on terror "very courageous."

Giuliani made the near-endorsement just before he headlined a GOP fund-raiser in South Carolina, a crucial primary state.

The New York Sun has some of the most in-depth coverage of the visit. [Well, duh, Ryan Sager wrote it! -ed.] Some of the juicier tidbits...

Rudy says the 2000 election inspired him to get involved in national politics.

The 2000 election, Mr. Giuliani said, had taught him just how important politics really is. While the election had seemed a relatively frivolous one at the time, suddenly — on September 11, 2001 — it mattered a great deal who was in the White House. "Sometimes, elections are more important than we realize when we're in them," he said.

Sager is a Rudy partisan, but he's made a good faith effort to drill down on the dynamics of the Rudy vs. McCain battle, as most other coverage -- even from national reporters -- is caked in stale assumptions and shrouded in mystery as to exactly how Mr. CFR-Torture Ban-Amnesty plans to sell himself to conservatives.

The crowd responded warmly. As Mr. Giuliani finished taking questions from the audience, Fred Butler, 87 years old, of Greenville, piped up and said he hoped greatly that the former mayor would get into the 2008 GOP contest. "How much do I owe you?" Mr. Giuliani cracked as he wrapped things up.

Mr. Butler, speaking to me after the fundraiser, said that Mr. Giuliani is currently his top choice for the 2008 primary. "I know he did a good job in New York City, and I think he's just a good man," Mr. Butler said. He added, "I think he would garner a lot more votes than anyone I could think of right now."

A retired plant manager, Mr. Butler told me he was prepared to support Senator McCain after his win in New Hampshire in 2000, "but after he made his pitch down here, I voted for Bush." As for Mr. McCain's chances this time around, Mr. Butler doesn't seem particularly ready to give the senator another chance: "He's not as popular as a lot of people think, not as popular now as he was then … I don't think he'll get the nomination."

And what would a Rudy visit be without a "Get Motivated" seminar? Here's what one attendee had to say:

As Mr. Giuliani left the stage, I asked the woman sitting next to me — Camilia Huntley, a North Carolina Republican born and raised in South Carolina — what she thought. "He's the one," was her to-the-point reply. Pressed, she said that Mr. Giuliani's abortion position did trouble her, but it wouldn't sway her vote. "He has shown such great leadership in New York," she said. And, Ms. Huntley added, she just doesn't trust Senator McCain as a leader in a crisis — for reasons, she said, she couldn't quite articulate.

Meanwhile, The State hones in Rudy's comments on port security, as Charleston is home to the largest container port in the Southeast:

Standing less than a mile from the headquarters of the busiest container port in the Southeast or Gulf Coast, Giuliani told reporters at a pre-event news conference that nearly five years after the 9/11 attacks, the country’s “ports are not as safe as the airports. We have not emphasized port security the same way as airport security.”

“We are quite vulnerable in our ports and they need a tremendous amount of attention,” Giuliani said. But, he said, “You can’t be free and not be vulnerable.”

To be fair (and balanced), a lot of the coverage does forecast a "chilly" reception for Rudy based on the same old trite litany of social issues. But these stories only ever seem to quote consultants and college professors. The more you get out into the real world where the voters are, the less and less an issue it seems to be.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Back to Basics in the War on Terror

I think Allah has hit on something very powerful, and something I've thought about myself these last few months: electing Rudy would take us back to those early days of resolve in the War on Terror, without the Iraq baggage. He would still finish the job in Iraq, but his leadership is a living, breathing reminder of why we are at war with terrorists in the first place. Bush may have trouble communicating a war on terror message of that because of Iraq. Rudy wouldn't.


Enter Rudy, the un-Republican. A new Rasmussen survey puts him three points left of center, leaving him perfectly positioned to snatch the middle in the general election but in deep trouble in the primary — until you factor in Iraq Syndrome, that is. Giuliani has two major advantages over the rest of the field: (1) he’s renowned for his managerial skills, a characteristic the electorate will be starving for in its next president, and (2) because he has no political record over the past five years, he remains identified in the national consciousness with 9/11. Put those two together and it adds up to a do-over on the war on terror: electing Rudy gets us back to where it all began, with an executive who’s just as serious as Bush about the threat but, unlike Bush, whose abilities damn near everyone has the utmost confidence in. Granted, he’ll have to distance himself a bit from his support for Iraq, but the GOP nominee is going to be an Iraq-war-supporter whoever he (or she) may be. In fact, Giuliani’s steadfastness on the war might actually help him overcome his liabilities among the base on social issues. He’s a one-issue politician; McCain has to juggle immigration and campaign finance reform, but Giuliani’s candidacy — and I’m sure it’ll be sold this way — is essentially a referendum on America’s commitment to the war on terror. A vote for Rudy is a vote against Iraq Syndrome.

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Texans for Rudy

Texans for Rudy is a just launched statewide blog for Rudy that I'll be adding to the blogroll. I look forward to the good work that comes out of this.

Please continue sending your Rudy sites and ideas to rudy blogger at g mail dot com.

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Tradesports: Allen's Gaffe Puts Rudy in Second

For the first time in months, Rudy Giuliani is second in Tradesports' rankings for the '08 nomination. George Allen has fallen from 16.0 to 13.4 in a day (he was down to 12.0 earlier in the day) after his "macaca" slip. Rudy is holding steady at 14.6 after his recent rise.

The consensus seems to be that this hurts him far more outside Virginia -- where the stakes are higher -- than inside. The reaction may be overblown and P.C., but reacting to their guy's cameraman is a real bush league mistake, and not a real good one to make if you're trying to convince insiders you've got the right stuff for the meatgrinder of Presidential politics.  

Don't get me wrong. I enjoy my Red State triumphalism as much as anyone, but where W. makes it look good-natured, Allen just makes it look obnoxious.

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

McCain Update: Me-Too'ing in S.C.; Blames "Lingering Resentment" from '00 for '08 Hurdles

Now, let's turn for a sec to the guy running second for the Republican nomination...

A while back, I noticed an interesting pattern whereby John McCain and his PAC would almost instantly copy anything Rudy did, even down to a simple e-mail sent to IA-GOV candidate Jim Nussle's list.

Well, Rudy will be in South Carolina for a state party fundraiser tomorrow. John McCain will also be there, doing the same thing... the very next day!

Meanwhile in Iowa, John McCain starts to come to grips with the mountain he'll have to climb -- and the slings and arrows we'll be throwing at him from the mountaintop:

"If I run, and we'll decide that early next year, there's a lot of work to do," McCain said as he began a two-day visit to Iowa, which traditionally holds leadoff caucuses in January of presidential election years.

"Here in Iowa there are parts of the party where there's still lingering resentment over the bitterness of the 2000 race," he said.

Anyone else think it's strange that he constantly refers to himself using the royal "we"?

"Since we haven't decided whether or not to run, we haven't decided whether to compete here, but I think you could make the argument that it's very different than 2000," he said. "In 2000, I was the outsider and, you know, we could afford to pass up on Iowa."

McCain's just engaging in wishful thinking if he thinks 2000 is the extent of his problems. Had he run as a real conservative in 2000 and then supported the President all the way to 2004 and beyond, he could probably count me and many others as proud supporters. By forging ahead with his ill-advised CFR crusade, going so far as to oppose tax cuts (an issue on which there can be no compromise for Republicans), and flirting with a party switch and Kerry VP offer, he placed himself forever outside the mainstream of the Republican Party. You need look no further than the numbers Kavon highlighted earlier today: Republicans think Rudy's a conservative by 31% to 13% who say he's a liberal. Republicans are evenly split on whether McCain is liberal or conservative.

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John McCain has in many ways voted conservative over the years -- in the same way that Joe Lieberman has voted liberal. This fact was little consolation to Lieberman last Tuesday night and it will be little consolation to McCain a little over a year from now.

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Get Busy, Minnesota!

The Bij ought to be in the running for this:


Greetings Republican Supporters,

Volunteering is a lot of fun and you are helping all the Republican candidates at the same time!


Every volunteer who makes 400 phone calls between, August 14th and August 28th will be entered into a drawing to win tickets to an event with Mark Kennedy and Rudy Giuliani on Tuesday, August 29th in Saint Paul.

The volunteer that makes the most calls will get their picture taken with Rudy Giuliani!!!

Head to a phone bank near you today and YOU could be standing next to Rudy Giuliani on August 29th.

Of course, all these grassroots Republicans getting excited about Rudy will soon be cured of their cognitive dissonance once the people who really control the Republican primaries get involved (cue scream). No seriously... I'm sure there must be some that aren't on the payroll at Straight Talk America.  

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Giuliani Dominates Instapundit Straw Poll

The Blogfather has decided to weigh in with his own straw poll. It's another walk in the park for the 2008 GOP frontrunner, Rudy Giuliani:

Rudy Giuliani 45% (3,792)
Newt Gingrich 20% (1,690)
Mitt Romney 14% (1,161)
George Allen 11% (936)
John McCain 10% (839)
Bill Frist 1% (99)

Reynolds observes "he's led in pretty much all the blogospheric straw polls, but this margin is huge. I'm pretty sure that Newt is overperforming, too."

Reader Brian Erst gets the next to last word, proclaiming Rudy dead for all the obvious reasons. But I'll point no further than Newt's persistent support (no doubt a result of his "World War III" foresight) as proof that no one really knows where this thing is headed.

If there's any candidate who gets less respect than Rudy, it's Newt. Like Rudy, he continues to run well in polls and gets good-sized crowds in Iowa. But everyone -- this observer included -- doesn't give second thought to the fact that if he runs, he'll eventually fade.

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Remember that back in the day, Newt had a fav/unfav split straight out of Three Mile Island. But also remember how fervent pro-Newt sentiment was and apparently still is. Whether it was leading us to the barricades in '94, indicting the evils of the welfare state, or pushing for a balanced budget even his Budget Chairman thought was a pipe-dream, I remember thinking: "This man is a genius. Why is he so misunderstood? How is it possible he has a 65% unfavorable rating?"

The Gingrich resurgence you're seeing today is people not getting past that first sentence. And since Newt is no longer in the spotlight, there are no poll numbers to remind us just how bad things were when he got owned by Bill Clinton. I lived through it and got that t-shirt, but for those that don't remember it all that well, or think anything could be better than the Republican leaders we have today (even Tom DeLay inspires nostalgia these days), Newt is very appealing in a way that is little understood by the Beltway media.

As someone who's long been crying in the wilderness predicting Rudy Giuliani's nomination and election, I can relate.

Newt running and actually living up to expectations seems impossible... until it actually happens. Weirder -- much weirder -- things have happened in Republican primaries (Bush 41 in Iowa '80, Pat Robertson, Pat Buchanan).

For virtually anyone in this field to get nominated, something that is thought impossible will have to happen. Pro-lifers voting for a pro-choicer. Evangelicals voting for a Mormon. Conservatives all of a sudden waking up one morning and deciding they (heart) John McCain.

In that kind of race, I can think of much stranger things than Newt as a tier-one candidate. In fact, I can hardly think of anything better for the country (in terms of a substantive and enlightened debate) than Giuliani and Gingrich as the last two men left standing for the nomination.

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"Moderates" Lead the Pack

Rasmussen released a poll today regarding where many Americans place the leading ‘08 contenders on the political spectrum. Not suprisingly, Rudy and McCain are viewed as moderates when using this poll as a gauge:

The latest Rasmussen Reports survey finds that 36% of Americans classify Giuliani as a political moderate. Twenty-nine percent (29%) say conservative and 15% liberal. Twenty percent (20%) are not sure.

These survey results place Giuliani three points to the left of the political center.

The political center is calculated by subtracting the number of liberals from the number of conservatives among the general public (35% conservative, 18% liberal for a net +17). For Giuliani, 29% conservative minus 15% liberal equals a net plus 14. The plus 14 reading for Giuliani is 3 points away from the plus 17 reading for the general public.

While most candidates want to be as close to the political center as possible, Giuliani may seek the nomination of a party that is to the right of the political center. Among his own party ranks, 43% consider Giuliani moderate, 31% conservative and 13% liberal. However, many pundits believe perceptions of the Mayor will shift as Republican primary voters learn more about his views on abortion and other issues.

Arizona Sen. John McCain, current frontrunner for the 2008 GOP presidential nod, is seen by 46% of Republicans as moderate. Nineteen percent (19%) say he's conservative and 19% liberal.

Interestingly, Rudy is viewed as Conservative by 31% to 19% over McCain, while McCain is viewed as Liberal by 19% to 13%. This poll is important because it shows how Americans generally view both candidates before the campaign really begins.

And how about Hillary?
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the former First Lady—and Giuliani's "would-have-been" opponent in his abandoned 2002 U.S. Senate race places 55 points to the left of center.

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Monday, August 14, 2006

Rudy Sends RNC Email

I somehow missed this, but the Left is all in a snit because the RNC sent a fundraising email signed by Rudy Giuliani the day the London terror arrests were uncovered. At a minimum, this should provide Giuliani with some good national exposure with GOP activist types:


As the Mayor of New York City, I saw that putting Republican ideas into action can improve peoples' lives. We cracked down on crime, cleaned up the streets, cut taxes, and reformed welfare - all while turning a $2 billion deficit into a $3 billion surplus. The result was a city transformed into a place of greater civility and economic activity - a more vibrant and safe environment in which to raise children.

I learned the virtue of strong Republican leadership when I had the honor of serving President Ronald Reagan in his Justice Department. His optimism helped inspire our nation as he led us to victory over communism.

Today, President Bush faces a similar challenge. In the middle of a war on terror, we need to remain focused on furthering Republican ideas more than ever before. We can't turn back now.

This coming election could mark a crucial turning point in American history.

Only with the financial commitment of patriotic Americans like you can the RNC provide the candidate assistance, campaign programs, registration drives and voter outreach that are absolutely essential for electing Republicans across the nation.

That's why I am emailing to ask you for a favor: will you click here to make a contribution of $500, $250, $100, $50, $35 or $25 to show your strong commitment to our Party and our principles?

Recent history has proven that the GOP is the Party of solutions. The Republican Party has taken on terrorism, cut taxes, and grown the economy.

We Republicans have a lot to be proud of. We also have much more to do.

Now is not the time to turn our backs on the War on Terror, to soften our stand on security, or to cripple the economy with ill-advised tax hikes. We need Republican leadership setting the agenda in Congress and working with President Bush to keep America strong and moving forward.

Your personal pledge to the RNC is the single best way for you to show your commitment to moving America forward with a Republican agenda of lower taxes, continued economic growth, more jobs, better education, less government bureaucracy and greater homeland security.

If that's the kind of America you want, I urge you to follow this link to join with me and the RNC right now.

Please make your commitment felt with a financial contribution for $500, $250, $100, $50, $35 or $25 to the Republican National Committee today.

This is your chance to take a stand for your Party and your principles. Thank you for all you have done and continue to do for the Republican Party!


Rudy Giuliani

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