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.