Giuliani Blog Tracking the likely Presidential candidacy of Rudy Giuliani

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Poll Watch - Strategic Vision Washington, New Jersey, & Wisconsin

Rudy runs the table in all three states, and is approaching 50% support in Washington and New Jersey.

Strategic Vision Washington, Oct. 27th-29th, 2006

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

Rudy Giuliani 44%
John McCain 21%
Mitt Romney 8%
Newt Gingrich 8%
Bill Frist 2%
George Allen 1%
Rick Santorum 1%
George Pataki 1%
Chuck Hagel 1%
Undecided 13%

Strategic Vision New Jersey, Oct. 27th-29th, 2006

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

Rudy Giuliani 48%
John McCain 23%
Mitt Romney 6%
Newt Gingrich 6%
George Pataki 1%
Bill Frist 1%
Rick Santorum 1%
George Allen 1%
Chuck Hagel 1%
Undecided 12%

Strategic Vision Wisconsin, Oct. 27-29th, 2006

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

Rudy Giuliani 38%
John McCain 27%
Mitt Romney 10%
Newt Gingrich 7%
Bill Frist 1%
George Allen 1%
Rick Santorum 1%
George Pataki 1%
Chuck Hagel 1%
Undecided 13%

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Monday, October 30, 2006

Ken Mehlman to Join the Giuliani Campaign?

Over the last day or so, there's been a trickle of Google traffic with the keywords "Mehlman" and "Giuliani." Now I know why.

Apparently, on Chris Matthews's show yesterday, Kathleen Parker speculated that Ken Mehlman would join the Giuliani camp after his current term as RNC Chairman, according to Daniel McGivergan at the Weekly Standard.

If true, it would turn the race upside down overnight and immediately end all the carping about the "staff primary." At the same time, I wouldn't bet the house on it yet. This seems like a rather odd way for it to come out. And I wouldn't put it past one of the rival camps to float the rumor when they knew Mehlman would be neutral or go somewhere else, making the end result appear like a major loss for Giuliani.

So, we'll see. I'm not putting too much stock in this.

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Sunday, October 29, 2006


Finally, an article that characterizes John McCain's efforts in early primary states for what they actually are.

WASHINGTON - Sen. John McCain is sending Rudy Giuliani a message about the 2008 presidential contest: Don't even think about it.

The Arizona Republican's political action committee, Straight Talk America, announced yesterday it has signed up a whopping 50 state representatives in New Hampshire.

And that's only the latest of dozens of announcements in recent weeks crowing over McCain supporters in key primary states like Iowa and South Carolina.

A confident candidate would not be trying to send signals to other candidates to "not even think about it." McCain and his advisers know that if Giuliani runs for President, the jig is up.

Outside of moderates, McCain doesn't have any real grassroots support, so he has to fake it. He (and Mitt Romney) have employed the novel strategy of contributing directly to cash-starved early state legislative candidates in increments of $1,000 and $5,000 -- candidates who have seldom ever seen a check that big. That makes a difference.

But if you look at Straight Talk America's FEC reports, McCain has spent roughly $700,000 this year on non-federal campaign contributions, the vast majority to the early states. September was a particularly active month for McCain in New Hampshire and it was followed by a boatload of endorsements. McCain's bribes contributions clearly worked.

But take a step back and consider this: $700,000 is not a lot of money in presidential politics. In fact, it's worth about a week of TV in a medium-sized state. Which suggests to me that this is less real and more of a head game with Giuliani than anything else, something the Daily News conveys pretty well.

Endorsements work, but they only work when they're in sync with the preferences of the Republican rank-and-file activists who dominate early primaries and caucuses.

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Friday, October 27, 2006

Giuliani Has Highest Favorables in South Carolina

I've been trying to nail down this poll all day, and South Carolina expert Byron York finally delivers it.

Much to even my surprise, Rudy has far and away the highest favorable ratings among South Carolina Republicans.

Candidate Heard of Favorable Unfavorable

John McCain 96% 65% 23%
Newt Gingrich 95% 53% 31%
Rudy Giuliani 93% 78% 10%
George Pataki 69% 35% 18%
Bill Frist 66% 43% 21%
Mitt Romney 40% 41% 11%
George Allen 37% 38% 11%
Mike Huckabee 16% — —

Convert it to the net rating and it's Rudy +68%, McCain +42%, Romney +30%, Allen +27%, Frist +22%, Gingrich +21%, Pataki +17%. It's true that there's a New Yorker in this race who will never sell in the South. Except his name is George Pataki. Moderate New Yorkers bookend this poll in terms of favorability.

People carp about "name ID" skewing polls like this. I agree 100%. Romney or Huckabee just aren't where they'll be in February of '08. But a legitimate comparison can be made between candidates who are well known (Rudy, McCain, Newt), those who are moderately well known (Pataki, Frist), and those who are complete unknowns (Romney, Allen, Huckabee).

Among the universally well known candidates, Rudy beats McCain who beats Newt. Because they've been on the public stage for years, opinions of these leaders are the hardest to change. While opinions of these leaders are likely to take somewhat of a beating, their public personas are to some extent firm and fixed. McCain won't become a conservative hero. Rudy will never lose that association with 9/11.

In the welterweight category, Frist and Pataki have been on the public stage as "supporting actors" and have managed to rack up pretty high unfavorables, a fact that probably dooms their bids. Though there are theoretically 30% or 40% of Republicans who haven't heard of them who can be moved, everyone basically agrees that these two are dead in the water because of the baggage they've already collected manifested by their inability to move beyond a 2-1 favorable ratio.

It's not a coincidence that those considered the brightest stars in the field (at one point or another) share the fact of low name ID. They're clean slates. They can introduce themselves to the electorate on their own terms. They could easily rocket up to Giuliani/McCain heights by extending their 3 and 4-1 edge in favorability with the 60% who don't know them. Romney's nearly 4-to-1 favorable ratio has got to be encouraging from the standpoint of knocking down the LDS issue as a problem for his bid in the South.

Perhaps a more accurate measure might be the ratio of favorables to unfavorables. They are:

Rudy 7.8/1
Romney 3.7 /1
Allen 3.5 / 1
McCain 2.8 /1
Frist 2.1 / 1
Pataki 1.9 /1
Newt 1.7 / 1

You'll notice that McCain hovers not too far above DOA status.

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Rudy Cuts an Ad for Bob Beauprez

With less than two weeks to go, Bob Beauprez's campaign for Governor of Colorado is airing an ad with Rudy Giuliani. This is the fourth such Rudy ad for a candidate to be aired in the final stretch of the campaign: First was Santorum. Then Blackwell. And then Rob Simmons for Congress (CT-2). Particularly impressive is the fact that he's being deployed in red-tinged swing states (CO & OH).

I'm sure readers like LJ will correct the record if I'm wrong, but McCain seems to have been strangely absent from the airwaves in the final weeks. If he has been up, it's been in blue states (I know he was prominently featured in Tom Kean ads earlier in the cycle) but I haven't seen any straight endorsement spots from him lately. And of course Romney has been present in just one set of ads: his own.

While other candidates are doing their part to retain the majority, ads like this reinforce the notion that Rudy is the single strongest asset the Republican Party has. He is in a class of his own when it comes both to campaigning and to the future leadership of this country.

I think you just saw a lot of folks in Iowa come to the same conclusion with their decision to close the campaign with Rudy (though I have no doubt a certain someone will try and butt in at the end).

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Rudy Adds Rove Staffer to His Team

Solutions America, Rudy's PAC, adds another member to the staff as former Rove aide Margaret Hoover comes on board:

Rudy Giuliani has hired a new fund-raiser who used to work for top presidential adviser Karl Rove - the latest sign the former mayor may be eying the White House.

Margaret Hoover, 28, made $10,000 last month as the new deputy finance director for Solutions America, Giuliani's federal political action committee, records show.

Hoover's résumé includes working on intergovernmental affairs for Rove - widely considered to be the mastermind behind President Bush's two election wins - and working for Bush's 2004 campaign operation.

Giuliani is quietly building a campaign organization -- one that can raise the money to be competitive. More than endorsements, what solidified George W. Bush as 2000's frontrunner was the $30 million+ monster second quarter in '99.

Also of note: finance head-honcho Anne Dickerson (former director of Rangers & Pioneers for Bush-Cheney) was ostensibly brought on board to raise money for Solutions America, but the PAC hasn't been raising all that much money the last couple of months, while Dickerson has continued to earn a monthly fee (and is now expanding her operation with Hoover). Something tells me there's a lot of '08 work going on behind the scenes.

Rudy critics, taking occasional breaks from their McCain-Romney pissing match, like to point out areas where Rudy's level of activity is low. But the recent fundraising reflects the fact that Rudy isn't someone who needs to buy himself into the good graces of his party. And he now has more cash-on-hand to prepare for an '08 run than anyone in the field, while simultaneously strengthening his position in early trial heat polls.

Incidentally, this isn't the first Rove protege Rudy has hired. Three years ago, Giuliani brought on Chris Henick, former #2 to the Architect himself. Read this resume and tell me if there is any doubt in your mind that Rudy intends to compete in the South:

(Joined Giuliani Partners in Spring 2003) Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy to the Senior Advisor (Karl Rove), Jan. 2001-Dec. 2002.  Deputy Director of Strategy on Bush's 2000  presidential campaign.  Managing Director and Principal at the Washington lobbying firm of Barbour Griffith & Rogers, 1995 through April 2000.  Executive director of the Republican Governors Association 1991-95.  Southern director at the RNC through 1990.  Managed Congressman Alec McMillan (R-NC)'s 1986 re-election campaign.  Worked for Congressman Trent Lott.  Executive director for Mississippi Reagan/Bush ‘84.  Political director for the Mississippi Republican Party.  Field organization director for Haley Barbour's unsuccessful 1982 U.S. Senate bid.  Field representative on the Reagan/Bush 1980 campaign.  Attended University of Mississippi )eventually received B.A. in Liberal Studies from Georgetown University).  Born and raised in Yazoo City, MS.

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Poll Watch - Strategic Vision Florida & Georgia

Strategic Vision is polling fast and furious now.

No surprises... Rudy leads the pack for the GOP.

Strategic Vision Florida, Oct. 20th-22nd, 2006

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

Rudy Giuliani 45%
John McCain 28%
Mitt Romney 8%
Newt Gingrich 4%
Bill Frist 2%
George Allen 1%
George Pataki 1%
Rick Santorum 1%
Chuck Hagel 1%
Undecided 9%

Strategic Vision Georgia, Oct. 20th-22nd, 2006

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

Rudy Giuliani 31%
John McCain 22%
Newt Gingrich 17%
Mitt Romney 8%
Bill Frist 3%
George Allen 1%
Rick Santorum 1%
George Pataki 1%
Chuck Hagel 1%
Undecided 15%

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Charlie Cook Hearts Democrats and John McCain

Normally I wouldn't call attention to this, but it is somewhat humorous and does make an interesting point about who exactly is driving this John McCain hoopla.

Two predictions from Charlie Cook. The first on GOP losses in the House:

Please tell us, Seer of Future Congresses, how many seats the Democrats will pick up in the House on Election Day.

"Twenty to 35," Cook answers.
The second on '08:
Cook gave the same speech about Frankenstein and hurricanes, then offered some presidential prognostication for dessert. "I would give McCain a 60, 65 percent chance of winning the Republican nomination," he disclosed. By contrast, he added, "I'll win the Tour de France before Rudy Giuliani wins the Republican nomination."
Only the most wild-eyed pro-Democratic analyst could believe A) that Democrats have a serious chance of gaining 35 seats in the House, and B) that John McCain has more than 30 percent shot at winning the Republican nomination. The House prediction betrays his true leanings. The '08 prediction shows how he uses those leanings. He obviously understands nothing about how conservative GOP primary voters are sizing up the race.

Frankly, I'd put more credence in the 35-seat prediction since he at least gets to factor in the 50 percent of the electorate he's most familiar with. But to claim that the GOP will veto Rudy Giuliani for John McCain flies in the face of every piece of empirical data (including Cook's own survey). It's like a GOP analyst predicting that the Dems will veto Hillary because of the war, and there are some on our side who go that far.

The bottom line is that people in one party shouldn't be making predictions about the outcome of the other party's nomination battle, because they're most often wrong. And the Democrat analysts are the ones most confident of McCain's chances. What does that tell you?

For true expert, non-pollyannish analysis of '06 and '08, turn to Michael Barone and our very own DaveG, both of whom predict a Democratic House and have been pretty favorable to Rudy's chances in '08.

Fit Charlie for that extra-large yellow jersey, because this thing is happening.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Rudy: The Iowa GOP's Franchise Player

Turns out that this was a even better than expected. Rudy one-ups the field in terms of Iowa appearances to date:

Ex-NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani will spend election night with IA GOV candidate Jim Nussle, following a break-neck week-long swing through the '06 battlegrounds. Giuliani will stump for Republican candidates in SC, PA, MI, FL, NJ and MD before ending up in Iowa, where he'll hold rallies for IA 01 candidate Mike Whalen and for Nussle. (Hotline sources)
UPDATE: How long before Straight Talk belatedly announces McCain will be there on Election Day? Despite the paragraph above, this does seem to be an Election eve appearance. Not trying to rain on anyone's parade, but I fully expect them to do this in a sign of desperation. Be prepared.

Anyone want to take bets on when the release goes out?

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Strategic Vision Pennsylvania & Michigan

Give them one thing: Strategic Vision is consistent. Domination in Pennsylvania, as usual:

21. Who is your choice for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2008? (Republicans only)
Rudy Giuliani 47%
John McCain 24%
Newt Gingrich 8%
Mitt Romney 6%
Bill Frist 2%
George Allen 1%
Rick Santorum 1%
George Pataki 1%
Chuck Hagel 1%
Undecided 9%

And Michigan is unchanged, one of those peculiar states where John McCain did well in 2000, after which he couldn't convert:

21. For the 2008 Republican Presidential Nomination whom would you support? (Republicans Only)
John McCain 39%
Rudy Giuliani 25%
Mitt Romney 15%
Newt Gingrich 6%
Bill Frist 2%
George Allen 1%
George Pataki 1%
Rick Santorum 1%
Chuck Hagel 1%
Undecided 9%

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Monday, October 23, 2006

Rudy Sells Magazines

In the past, I've noticed that NewsMax tends to feature Rudy Giuliani quite a lot. Since their material tends towards the outrageous and attention-grabbing, I strongly suspect it's because he makes better copy, and sells more magazines and ads than any of the other 2008 candidates.

NewsMax tips their hand yet again with the cover story on their latest magazine, "Yes, Rudy Can Win" which is like a flood of Rudy analysis and speculation after wandering in the desert that it is the Brain-Dead Beltway Media (BDBM). It begins with an exhaustive cover article (it's better than you expect) that covers his years as Mayor, the challenges and opportunities of a Presidential race, and long on-the-record musings from Ralph Reed. Also included is a calendar by Hotline editor John Mercurio on how a Rudy candidacy could unfold, and memos on a Rudy candidacy from Dick Morris and James Carville.

So, let's begin.

The piece isn't online, so I've transcribed the best, most politically meaningful clips here.

On Rudy's 9/11 reception:

Finally, it's Giuliani's turn. All eyes are riveted on the man as he steps to the podium. More than anyone else, he's the one they've  come to see, to hear.

"Five years from the date of the attacks that have changed our world," he begins, "we've come back to remember the valor of those we lost."

"God bless all of those that we lost," Giuliani says, "God bless all of you who mourn for them. Remember them and live on in their spirit. And God bless America.

As he steps away from the podium, voices cry out, "Giuliani for president!" And again, "Giuliani for president!"

Don't cross Norm Coleman off the endorsement list:

"He's America's mayor," says another fellow Republican, Sen. Norm Coleman of Minnesota. "I would never rule out Rudy Giuliani accomplishing anything he set out to do."

On where Team Rudy realistically sees this thing going and the "X-factor:"

One Giuliani insider admits to NewsMax that on the face of it, Rudy cannot win the GOP primaries. But his inner circle sees an "X-factor" that can catapult Giuliani to the top of the GOP heap and to the presidency. The X-factor is no mystery -- it's a possible event in the not so distant future, another terrorist act of 9/11 proportions or greater that many predict will take place.

"If it happens, security issues will outweigh all the other issues," the Giuliani insider said. Rudy will be the man the nation turns to, as they did after Sept. 11, to be their crisis leader.

A bunch about the Christian Right in here. Among the old guard, Robertson's friendly (he can't stand McCain) but Falwell won't endorse. So, at least among those two, it's a wash.

Few people understand more about winning Christian voters in the modern era than Ralph Reed, and despite his unfortunate loss in the Georgia LG earlier this year, you can see him playing a big role behind-the-scenes in '08. He also likes Rudy, and here's what he has to say:

"Rudy Giuliani is going to be a very appealing candidate for a lot of Republicans should he choose to run for President," Reed told NewsMax, adding that in addition to 9/11 Giuliani deserves credit for introducing conservative ideas and policies to urban America.

"If he does decide to run," Reed explains. "I think it would be mutually incumbent on him and social conservative leaders to have a dialogue about the issues that they care about. I have talked to a lot of social conservative leaders. They disagree with him on some issues, but have enormous respect for him.

"On the campaign trail, he has said that he believes we ought to be appointing judges like Alito and Roberts. Where he stands on issues like abortion and gay rights is going to have to come out of a dialogue with social conservative leaders. I think he will get a fair hearing.

"The closer he can move to where grass-roots social conservatives are, the better it will be for him."

Wink, wink, nod, nod.

Now, onto the calendar. John Mercurio envisions a March 2007 "late entry" for Rudy and it sounds like he's done his homework. The relevant pieces:

Mid-to-Late Feb. 2007: Giuliani campaign gains steam. Rudy is expected to start making strategic moves, announcing that he's "exploring" a 2008 presidential campaign and will "travel around the country listening to voters." Aides say this will most likely include a focus on Southern (South Carolina and Florida) and Midwestern (Iowa) states, where Giuliani's support is weakest.

March 2007: Giuliani cashes in political IOUs. Cashing in on hundreds of campaign appearances he has made for Republicans since becoming "America's Mayor" in 2001, Giuliani starts to collect chits from the so-called "invisible primary." Aides say Giuliani has campaigned for Republicans in more than 40 states in the past five years. Assuming he's polling the weakest in the Southern and Midwestern states, Giuliani will focus on drawing endorsements from state and local officials in those regions.

March 2007: Hired help. Giuliani will likely start hiring senior staff for early-primary states. Many top aides who are expected to fill these jobs have been with him for years, including former press aides Sonny (sic) Mindel and Cristyne Lategano. Sen. John McCain has already started locking up the vast majority of top campaign strategists and elected officials.

March 1, 2007: CPAC. The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) holds its 34th annual conference in Washington, D.C. and Giuliani will be there to build bridges. If he makes successful inroads with the GOP conservative base, Giuliani will be strengthened. ...

September 2007: Giuliani "kick-off" announcements. Giuliani holds campaign "kickoff" announcements in various primary states. Look for lots of red, white, and blue bunting, charming anecdotes, and soaring, visionary rhetoric.

November 2007: Slamming Rudy. By now, the right wing of the GOP is attacking Giuliani on gay marriage, abortion rights, etc. He's forced to respond by highlighting his tough-on-crime credentials and his leadership following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. If Giuliani refuses to shuffle to the right on social issues, his road to the nomination will be uphill. ...

Early January 2008: Iowa debate. Iowa holds a debate, and Giuliani will need a strong showing to defeat McCain here later. After the debate, the GOP race will quickly boil down to two or three candidates. Expect at least one to be an anti-Giuliani conservative, possibly Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. ...

February 2008: Southern states. The morning after the New Hampshire primary, Giuliani flies to South Carolina to campaign nonstop for the GOP nomination. If Giuliani builds a coalition of social moderates -- a rarity in South Carolina GOP politics -- and "national security" conservatives, he could establish himself as a strong alternative to McCain, who is vulnerable.

Dick Morris's advice to Rudy:

McCain, while he is a buddy of yours, has backed handcuffing our military when it questions terrorists and has wanted to subject our investigators to civil damage suits for violating the rights of terrorists. Nobody can believe that McCain will have the independence and focus to wage the war on terror and win.

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Giuliani Campaigns with Corker

It's hard to believe, but Election Day is just over two weeks away. One of the most hotly contested Senate races in America is in Tennessee, and Rudy was there today to lend a hand to future Sen. Bob Corker.

Hotline reports:

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -- Former Chattanooga Mayor Bob Corker, the GOP nominee for Senate, welcomed former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani to his hometown this afternoon to burnish his credentials in the fight against terrorism and to fault Democratic Rep. Harold Ford for lacking a firm commitment to national security. "These are serious times we are facing in our nation," Corker told reporters at an airport news conference. Standing next to Giuliani, a symbol of the recovery effort after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Corker said he supports the Bush administration's domestic surveillance program and the USA PATRIOT Act while he said Ford has a "very confused" record. "My opponent won't take a firm stand. He's for it. He's against it. And some days he won't take a stand at all," Corker said.

Corker also condemned Ford for voting "present" in 1999 when he had a chance to oppose former President Clinton's pardon of 16 members of the F.A.L.N., a Puerto Rican independence group. "Where was Harold Ford on this vote?" Corker asked. "He decided to vote present, which means you don't take a [position] one way or another. Congressman Ford sent a wrong message." Giuliani, who flew into town for a news conference and a fundraiser, praised Corker for his tenure as Chattanooga mayor for reducing crime and taxes, balancing the city's budget -- and for his dependability. "On terrorism, he's the consistency that we need. We can't go back to being defensive about it," Giuliani said. "Since Sept. 11, there is no reason to be confused. ... We have to be on the offensive."

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Saturday, October 21, 2006

Rudy on the New Hampshire Primary

Rudy has contributed a witty and enjoyable essay on the virtues of New Hampshire's First-in-the-Nation primary to VictoryNH. The piece is a curtain-raiser for Rudy's return visit to the Granite State on November 3rd, when he headlines a forum on Leadership for the group, which is made up of pro-gun and anti-tax activists.

Keying off of the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry and the disaster that is the Designated Hitter, Rudy writes:

Thus, New Hampshire's primary is inclusive and gives all Americans a chance to hear from a number of candidates. Time and time again, New Hampshire has served as a launching pad for underdog candidates and also to winnow out frontrunners who took a Granite State victory for granted. As American politics increasingly values a candidate's prowess at fundraising, the chance to evaluate that candidate on the more meaningful issues in New Hampshire becomes even more critical.

Whether or not the winner of the primary goes on to become his or her party's nominee is not the salient point. The better measure of the value of New Hampshire's primary is how professionally managed and how thoughtfully it is received. New Hampshire has an uncanny knack for focusing the country's attention on issues that will shape the upcoming elections. Candidates do not necessarily need to win in New Hampshire to win in November. But those who ignore the message of New Hampshire's voters do so at their peril.

The primacy of the New Hampshire primary is a hallowed American tradition that should be preserved and protected.

Read the whole thing.

You can order your tickets to the Rudy event here.

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Giuliani to Campaign in Iowa on Election Eve?

The Caucus Cooler reports that Rudy will be in Iowa to campaign for Jim Nussle and the Republican ticket, quite possibly on Election Eve. Stops include Des Moines and potentially Cedar Rapids.  

It's a pretty strong statement by Iowa Republicans to save Rudy for just before the election. Naturally, we expect a counter from Senator McCain.

The Mayor will also be in New Hampshire again four days before Election Day.

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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Did McCain Endorse Gay Marriage?

No, he did not, but I could easily see this clip becoming McCain's drag video:

The full context of the quote is up on Drudge, and it is pretty clear that McCain misspoke. But good luck stopping anyone who wants to use this at an opportune moment. This is exactly the kind of neatly packaged clip that gains insider notoriety now, is quickly forgotten, and returns to surprise people later. McCain will have to spend time beating it back, and it will be a distraction from his efforts at mollifying the Christian Right.

McCain's support for gay marriage may be more apocryphal than real, but this is not all that different from the urban myth that Rudy Giuliani supports gay marriage. He does not, but some people assume that because he had gay friends, he does. Likewise, some people will now assume that because McCain once uttered the words, he does too. Rudy's opponents are banking on perpetuating this myth, but now they have this shadow to contend with. McCain's ability to wage a sub-rosa whispering campaign on the issue of gay marriage is seriously compromised.

Stuff like this must give heartburn to McCain supporters who are counting on his pro-life voting record to drag him over the finish line. But the gay tolerance implicit in McCain's substantive point about "commitment ceremonies" as well as his opposition to a Constitutional amendment and support for stem cell research are part of a broader pattern. McCain may cast some right votes, but he is not intensely committed on the values issues in the same way that Mike Huckabee is, or Sam Brownback is, or even George W. Bush is.

The contrast may not be as clear as McCain would like, and clips like this illustrate why.

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The Rudy Record: America's Most Accomplished Conservative

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce a new recurring series here at Giuliani Blog: The Rudy Record: America's Most Accomplished Conservative.

This recurring series will document the amazing record of Rudy Giuliani in areas such as Terrorism Preparedness, Deficit Reduction and Budget Reform, Taxes, Crime Reduction, Education, Civil Service Reform, and Improving Quality of Life, among many others.

Stay tuned to learn more about America's most accomplished conservative- Rudy Giuliani.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Rudy Again Crushes the Field in Georgia

Strategic Vision:

28. For the 2008 Republican Presidential Nomination whom would you support? (Republicans Only)
Rudy Giuliani 34%
John McCain 21%
Newt Gingrich 15%
Mitt Romney 8%
Bill Frist 2%
George Allen 1%
Rick Santorum 1%
George Pataki 1%
Chuck Hagel 1%
Undecided 16%

This isn't that bad a proxy for South Carolina, or at least the South Carolina we'd have without the McCain '00 voters. If you're looking to take the temperature of the South, Rudy's consistent lead in Georgia might be a good omen.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Bias Shining Through? Hotline Bumps News of Minor McCain Endorsement

I check the Hotline On Call several times a day. Generally, I find it to be really well done.

Something today raised eyebrows. I checked it around lunchtime to find this post atop the page about S.C. State Sen. Mike Fair endorsing McCain.

I revisit it later this afternoon, and the same post is dated 2:05 p.m., above a 2006 Congressional roundup and Mitt Romney adding national campaign staff.

Bloggers well know that if you're looking to aggressively promote a story, you bump it to the top of the page by changing the post time. That's what the Hotline seems to be doing with this McCain story. In their mind, one South Carolina endorsement for McCain outweighs national endorsements for Romney or news about the elections three weeks from today. As far as I know, Hotline has never bumped a story like this, not even a major one like Foley.

I think this is a small but significant sign that they have crossed the line from favorable analysis to cheerleading.

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Monday, October 16, 2006

Another Rudy Campaign Ad

Rob Simmons for Congress:

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Reality Check: Does Obama Really = Rudy?

Sometimes, something happens that really causes you to recognize just how out of whack the MSM's analysis of the '08 field really is. The Obama Time cover is just such a thing.

Does Obama really have a shot at being President in 2008? Probably not, though he is the nominee-presumptive if Hillary loses. Experience matters in Presidential races, and it's doubtful that the electorate will take kindly to a four year Senator whose other resume highlight included a stint in the Illinois State Senate. Learn the lesson of John Edwards, and wait, Senator (or don't -- and wreck another promising Democratic career in the making).

This doesn't stop Time from spilling a lot of ink on the possibility, or National Journal from bumping him to #3 in their presidential rankings (just like Rudy), though the chances of Obama making a run are probably less than 20%.

In putting him on their radar screen, National Journal equated him to Rudy:

Obama is the Giuliani of the Democratic field: a candidate who probably won't run but can't be dismissed. He's traveling around the country, talking to donors and burnishing his already incandescent public image. He never has a bad day in the press and is very ambitious. Bottom line: If Clinton doesn't run, we're pretty sure Obama will. If she does, he'll probably step back. And as long as Clinton continues to ponder a run, it's easy for Obama to disclaim any interest while still covertly flirting with the idea.

Obama is interesting and personally magnetic, but utterly unqualified. He'd probably have his clock cleaned in a head-to-head with Hillary (and that's assuming Al Gore doesn't get in). Right now, he'd probably poll in single digits or low double digits in Dem primary polls if included. It is doubtful he'll take a chance and run for President in 2008.

Giuliani is the frontrunner of the GOP field by any conventional measure of grassroots support and enthusiasm. He regularly polls over 30 percent in Republican polls, and has opened up a double digit lead on John McCain in national polls. Moreover, he has the track record (successful two term executive of a city the size of North Carolina, national hero, sterling security credentials) that makes him the most logical future occupant of the Oval Office. His recent rise indicates that the time is ripe for him to run for President, and he probably will.

You couldn't find two more different candidates than Giuliani and Obama in terms of their chances in 2008. A Giuliani presidency is still far and away more likely than an Obama one. Yet who's on the cover of Time? And who's being equated to the Republican frontrunner?

This seems to be a case of liberals in the media trying hard to set the agenda and leaving no stone unturned for a potential Democratic winner in '08. Could you imagine them doing the same on our side? Instead, they're busily trying to winnow down our field.

To equate Giuliani and Obama is just... farfetched. It's downright odd. And it shines a bright light on just how flawed the National Journal narrative about '08 truly is.

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Sunday, October 15, 2006

Rudy's U-Turn on Guns?

So says Andrew Sullivan:

As Jon Stewart said of John McCain, Giuliani has turned his straight talk express into a bus to bulls**t-town. The Stranger notices the U-turn.

Keep the attacks coming, Andrew. They'll come in very handy in South Carolina!

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Giuliani Wins AOL Poll

Huge sample size, and includes the Democrats, independents, libertarians and vegetarians McCain does so well with.  

Which Republican would you favor for president?

Rudolph Giuliani

John McCain


Mitt Romney

Total Votes: 131,245

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Friday, October 13, 2006

Did Giuliani Really Push Back His '08 Timeline?

The MSM has settled on this notion that Rudy has pushed back his '08 decision timeline as the big news coming out of his New Hampshire visit:

"If I make a decision, I'll make that decision some time next year. I imagine it'll be some time in the first half of the year, [but] I'm not even sure of that," Giuliani told reporters after headlining a luncheon for Republican state lawmakers for 2006.

In the past, Giuliani has said he'd decide early next year.

As someone who follows these things pretty closely, and pays attention whenever he utters anything about an '08 decision, here's what I think this means.

Earlier in the year, Rudy was saying he'd make a decision in 12 months, and this was April or May. When Rudy revised this to say, six-to-nine months, "after" the midterm elections, and "early" '07, this probably became the new baseline.

Rudy is being pretty imprecise here, but the first half of the year could still mean anytime from January to June. So he may not have revised anything -- he did only if you take seriously the notion that he'll wait till later in the year.

However, all of this is not inconsistent with the idea of an "early start." As campaign watchers well know, candidates form "exploratory committee" and only "announce" when they think the timing is right. In '99, George W. Bush formed an exploratory committee in March -- with staff and all, about a month or two behind the other candidates -- and only said "I'm running" in June. As many of the other candidates are proving, you don't have to announce to have an infrastructure.

While I don't think Rudy's ability to freeze the field is the same as Bush's, I do think there is some benefit to biding his time to announce his candidacy to maximum fanfare. I'd analogize this to the McCain-Romney squabbling now. McCain announced several high-profile "gets" on the national stage very early, leaving the impression that he'd leave everyone behind in the dust. Well, lo and behold, Romney grabs some very significant operatives and probably is well on his way to matching McCain in "establishment" support, and McCain looks like he peaked too soon. Fast forward a few months and the same could be said of Rudy.

Giuliani may well be playing the tortoise here.

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NH Poll: McCain a Weak Frontrunner?

As noted by Kavon over at Race42008, we've gotten a trickle of New Hampshire polling after a recent dearth of it. McCain leads the field based on residual goodwill from 2000, with 32 percent of the vote. Rudy is at 19 percent and Mitt Romney is at 15 percent. What's my perspective on this poll as a Giuliani supporter?

As good as things look for Rudy right now, polls like this show why we shouldn't get cocky. McCain holds down honest-to-God leads in New Hampshire, Michigan, and probably South Carolina, states where he won or cracked 40% last time. Since the average voter probably hasn't thought about Presidential primary politics since they cast that vote in 2000, these leads should not surprise anyone. In states where voters didn't have the experience of voting for McCain in large numbers, he barely moves the needle.

At the end of the day though, these primaries going to be decided by what happens in '07 and early '08, as new information displaces the experience of voting in the 2000 primary. Does past success guarantee future results? Just ask George H.W. Bush, who shocked the world in Iowa in 1980 only to finish third there 8 years later.

As it is, McCain looks much weaker in New Hampshire than he did in 2000, when no one could lay a glove on him. In his breakout state from 2000, McCain has already picked up two strong challengers in Giuliani and Romney. He leads the field far and away in the "like least" category, with 19 percent. (Rudy is way, way down the list at 4 percent.) And Rudy actually leads him in net favorability, 15 to 13 percent. Great fav/unfav ratios like this are what breakout primary performances are made of. Interestingly enough, Romney has picked up some opposition with his double-digit support, with 10 percent saying they like him least.

A week out from New Hampshire, it's very unlikely we will be looking at a three man race. The gravitational pull of frontrunner status and the winnowing process of Iowa will make it a two-man race. If McCain falls to Earth (which is my hunch), expect Rudy to grab the lion's share of his support. If Romney falters for whatever reason (less likely), Rudy becomes the anti-McCain.

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Poll Watch: Strategic Vision Wisconsin

Rudy keeps on winning...

Strategic Vision Wisconsin, Oct. 6th-8th, 2006

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

Rudy Giuliani 39%
John McCain 25%
Mitt Romney 9%
Newt Gingrich 6%
Bill Frist 3%
George Allen 1%
Rick Santorum 1%
George Pataki 1%
Chuck Hagel 1%
Undecided 14%

Rudy is creeping up on 50% in Wisconsin. He is nearing 50% in WA and in PA, and has reached 50% in NJ.

It's going to continue to become more difficult for the MSM to insist that the GOP frontrunner is anyone other than Hizzoner.

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Giuliani Wins October Blogger Straw Poll

Mark this as a big "W" in Rudy's column:

First Place Votes:

Giuliani 29.0%
Gingrich 21.7%
Romney 19.5%
Tancredo 5.9%
McCain 3.7%
Brownback 1.6%
Frist 1.0%
Huckabee 1.0%
Hagel 0.7%
Pataki 0.2%

Three-way race:

Giuliani 47.1%
Romney 42.9%
McCain 6.6%

Two-way race:

Giuliani 50.6%
Romney 45.3%

Republican blog readers are more informed and more conservative than the typical primary voter. So quit asking whether it's all downhill for Rudy when people learn about his positions. We already know the answer to that.

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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Does Team Rudy Read This Blog?

I don't have any solid indication they do, but this Jason Horowitz bit in the Observer seems to indicate that some of our ideas are already having an impact. I quote in full because it's too good not to:

A few days ago this pro-Giuliani blog laid out an intriguing blueprint for the former mayor to follow as a way of getting around his inconvenient position on abortion rights and make it through a Republican primary.

One of the basic ideas (and Rudyblog has a much lengthier explanation here) that Giuliani shouldn't try to hedge on his pro-life position, but could seek to find common ground with social conservatives on abortion by advocating for strict constructionist judges. If those judges happen to find Roe v Wade unconstitutional, the thought goes, so be it.

In the course of reporting for the paper this week, I asked Tony Carbonetti [Rudy's right hand man] what he thought of the idea. As it turned out, he approves.

"He has a record of supporting conservative judges and appointing conservative judges here in New York," said Carbonetti, a senior Rudy advisor. "As with any chief executive he already has a record and anyone can look at that record."

Carbonetti also said that Giuliani has never stopped being himself -- "What you see is what you get" -- no matter how conservative the crowd he addresses.

But of course, if Giuliani can keep the focus on security issues and away from abortion, as he did during his trip to Illinois last week, so much the better.

Emphazing conservative judges is an idea of long and good standing that predates my abortion piece or even the creation of this blog. Rudy expressed his support for strict constructionist judges in August, and before (though indirectly) with the nominations of Roberts and Alito. What this confirms is that touting conservative judges is going to be part of the strategy. Good.

I'll also call everyone's attention to this second item from a Seattle alt paper that shows that Rudy may be moving on guns:

Speaking to a group of reporters at the Sheraton Hotel downtown, where he was hosting a $1,000—$2,100-a-plate fundraiser for McGavick on Monday, October 9, Giuliani said this: "I don't think [the assault-weapons ban] is one of the most critical issues right now." ...

Well, here's how Giuliani answered my question: "The assault-weapons ban is something I supported in the past." Since he supports McGavick now, I guess "special-interest politics"—or more aptly, partisan politics—have swept aside what he once saw as a matter of "life or death."

Combined with Rudy's full-throated support for marriage, we are seeing a clearly telegraphed signal from the Giuliani camp to do no harm on the issues that distance the Mayor from many Republican primary voters. You won't hear Rudy touting why he's pro-choice, or explaining his gun control positions from the past ad nauseam.

Waving off some of these questions is the appropriate thing to do now, in 2006. Now is not the time to roll out any major repositioning or to make news with new look social issue rhetoric. It'll just get drowned out in 2006 coverage, and place Rudy in the fray too soon.

What we should be seeing in 2007, however, is a concerted effort to develop some positive messaging around his positions on life and guns that gives wavering conservative supporters something solid to hang their hat on. Something along the lines of the other non-judge suggestions on the abortion checklist, though I'm not as presumptous to say that's the final word.

The abortion debate has changed since 2000, when Rudy last had to weigh in on these issues. Activist court decisions in other areas have shined an unfavorable light on Roe-like activism. The number of abortions has steadily diminished, highlighting the things we can do under current law to solve the problem. One good example is this Washington Post on the effectiveness of "life centers" that offer women sonograms of the babies they are thinking of aborting. Many of them get Federal funding, without the hue and cry normally associated with other outrages against "choice." I could easily see a pro-choice candidate embracing more federal funding for life centers as a common-sense solution. (The flip side: The Bush Administration has quietly approved "Plan B," and South Dakota pro-lifers are even touting it in referendum ads.) The point is this. With these new developments, there are many blanks in Rudy's position, and he has the opportunity to fill them in ways that lean towards life, while maintaining his underyling position.

I agree with the Rudy critics that Rudy won't be able to avoid these issues forever. He'll have to acknowledge their importance. He'll have to give pro-lifers a solid reason not to vote against him that involves convincing people why he will do nothing to threaten the values of the people who elected him. I suspect the answer here is the equivalent of Senator Arnold Vinick's marathon press conference at the San Andreo nuclear plant. Answer every question, and do it early. Amplify what you need to amplify, change what you need to change, reiterate what you need to reiterate. So when the attack ads start rolling, it's old news and pro-lifers have already accepted Rudy as an unofficial member of the family.

The intent here is not go all alarmist. I say this because I believe it's a win/win. If he gives pro-lifers convincing reasons he's not a threat, the nomination is his. Rudy's stuck with the same underlying position, "what you see is what you get," and that's ok, because that's the Rudy brand. But Mitt Romney's experience shows that Republican primary voters will give you wide latitude do what you need to do to on social issues. He was as pro-choice as the sky is blue in 2002 and now he's touted as the social conservative savior.

Likewise, conservatives are handing Rudy a life-raft on judges and federalism, and he should take it.

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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Is Rudy Like Lieberman?

I'm a conservative, so I don't hang out thart much on more moderate blogs like GOP Progress or even on some of the pro-Rudy warblogger sites like Roger L. Simon. So, it looks like I missed an interesting reparte on what Joe Lieberman killing Ned Lamont means for 2008 and the GOP.

A day or so back, someone made the not-too-remarkable argument that McCain is like Lieberman. It's true, in that he can't get past the primary, but this seems to indicate that his general election campaign (if he gets that far, which he won't) would be like Lieberman's.

Now, in true First Responder fashion, Reliapundit and others make the case that Lieberman cruising to re-election is good news for Rudy. It shows that Republicans will gladly support a "liberal" hawk:

I think the fact that both candidates appeal to so-called centrists/independents who pick-and-choose from among each party's platform is trivial. WHY!? Well, Lieberman's margin over Lamont doesn't portend a McCain victory, but a RUDY VICTORY: It shows that a liberal hawk is a very appealing candidate for parts of the GOP and the DNC and the "moderate" independents.

McCain is not a liberal hawk - he is pro-Life and pro-tax cuts. Sure, he is anti-gun and for campaign finance reform (which hinders free speech), but he is really rather conservative - too conservative for many MANY Lieberman-type voters.

Rudy, though, is truly a liberal hawk: he is anti-gun; pro-gay marriage; pro-abortion; and virtually pro-illegal immigation. Lieberman shows that this Rudy-esque combination is truly very appealing.

I don't necessarily buy the McCain-Rudy comparison, and I don't think you can argue with the fact that McCain is more liberal on balance than Giuliani -- especially on economic policy and the war.

The nub of this argument comes not from the similarities between Lieberman and Rudy, but from the fact that Lieberman is a much more extreme example of the Rudy phenomenon at work.

Lieberman is a Democrat who actively identifies with liberal causes. Not only do Republicans enthusiastically support him, but you never hear a peep from social conservatives as to how Republicans could actively back a pro-choice liberal candidate.

It's because the war just overwhelms everything.

And not just supporting the war, but supporting it with attitude. Lieberman's outspoken support for the war is music to conservative ears in the same way that Rudy's determined get-the-terrorists attitude is. Right now, that swamps any social conservative qualms -- because being pro-war isn't just another interest group -- it represents the #1 priority of voters in every part of the Republican Party, including Evangelicals.

I know, I know. Apples to oranges. Primary versus general election. But think of this: If Lieberman were running in a Republican primary against Alan Schlesinger and a strong McCain-type Republican, say Chris Shays or Nancy Johnson, who would win?

If you said Joe, there's a pretty good chance you're right, despite the fact that even Shays or Johnson would be 40 or 50 ACU points to the right.

Why? Because Republican (and Democrats too) like tasting the forbidden fruit from time to time -- hailing the guy who really, really gets them going on their #1 issue -- even if he might not normally make sense to them in other areas.

Lieberman wins because he tosses red meat to the Republican base on its #1 issue, and so does Rudy. McCain is just not a red-meat kind of guy, and so he loses on intangibles.

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Monday, October 09, 2006

Rudy in Blackwell for Governor Ad

Most revealing part: Rudy explains to the people of America's most important swing state that being a big city mayor is tougher than being a governor.

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NYT: Republicans Focusing on Rudy's Hero Status

The New York Times breaks down the current state of Rudy '08, and has seemingly caught on to the fact that Rudy's hero status from 9/11 and his toughness are (for now) rendering him largely impervious to attacks on social issues or ginned-up controversies from New York.

For many loyal Republicans — and more than a few independents and Democrats — his national security message seems to work, blotting out the central question facing his candidacy: whether a supporter of legal abortion, gay civil unions, immigrants’ rights and gun control; a thrice-married, Catholic New Yorker whose split with his second wife took place publicly and none too neatly, can win Republican presidential primaries and caucuses.

“I’m well to the right of Rudy on social issues,” said Sid Dinerstein, chairman of the Republican Party in Palm Beach County, Fla., after an appearance there by Mr. Giuliani two weeks ago. “But this is a man who, when it comes to dealing with bad guys, has infinite courage.”

In August, at a fund-raising dinner in Charleston for South Carolina’s very conservative Republican Party, Mr. Giuliani spoke about port security. When the party faithful had a chance to pose questions, they did not ask him about abortion or gays — only reporters did that.

At the end of the article is a point-counterpoint on whether Rudy can win. Larry Sabato's position can be boiled down to: "Republicans are stupid."

“Pro-choice is the heart of his problem with Republicans, just as it always was, and it cannot be overcome,” Mr. Sabato said. Mr. Giuliani does well in polls “because the activists have no clue so far,” he said. “If they’ve heard this stuff, they’ve forgotten it.”

Mr. Sabato and other political analysts said that even if other contenders shied away from attacking Mr. Giuliani on abortion or gay rights, independent groups supporting those candidates would not. They might even try to undermine his security credentials, and cite the former mayor’s decision to put the city’s emergency operations center in the trade center.

But Frank Luntz, a Republican pollster, said the poll results are no illusion, and that no one should rule out Mr. Giuliani.

“The abortion issue will hurt him in Iowa, the gun control position will hurt him in New Hampshire, but both are less important than the character and the attributes of the man,” said Mr. Luntz, who did some work for Mr. Giuliani in the 1990’s but no longer works for campaigns. “In a senate race, they want to know where you stand on issues. In a presidential campaign, they want to know who you are.”

Sabato's assessment may have been perfectly accurate before 9/11. I don't think it flies anymore. Conservative activists, particularly in the blogosphere, are extremely up to date on Rudy's past positions, pre-2008 repositioning. And yet in most blog straw polls he holds on to the same vote share he gets in public polling.

Every time we assume that 9/11 and national security won't matter as much in 2008, we are painfully reminded how that's not the case. I write this the same day as the North Korean nuclear test dominates the news.

Social issues may have dominated in the small-ball politics of the '90s and played a powerful role in George W. Bush's 2000 victory. But the world has changed. For the foreseeable future, the Republican Party is the party of national security, first and last. And that's why Rudy's toughness matters.

See Captain Ed for more.

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Saturday, October 07, 2006

Rudy Cracks 20 in Tradesports

Rudy's numbers have seen an almost unbroken rise in Tradesports since the spring, and have now doubled from their lows in April/May. Yesterday, they broke another milestone, closing at over 20 for the first time since late 2004. And how much latent fear that Rudy won't run is priced into these contracts?

This blog was started at around the time Rudy's contracts were in single digits and hardly anyone believed the Mayor was running. The momentum since then has been palpable. Let's keep it going.

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No Joy in Mudville

You'll be seeing a lot less of Rudy Giuliani on television over the coming weeks. No, he hasn't called off his pre-Presidential campaigning. The Yankees lost.

There's always next year. And Hizzoner's face all over the national television at the 2007 World Series will be a nice sight to see with just two months and change to IA/NH.

Here's a pic of the Mayor with Joe Torre earlier today in Detroit.


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If I Were Rudy Giuliani: On Marriage

To add a second installment to the new series started by RudyBlogger, I would like to offer an analysis on how candidate Rudy should address the issue of marriage. Anti-Rudy-ites have long insisted that the Mayor's position on "gay marriage," or sometimes the more ambiguous, "gay rights," will doom his chances of obtaining the Republican nomination. I disagree; in fact, I think this issue will be one of the easier of the cultural ones for Rudy to get around. As such, following is the framework on the issue of marriage that I would embrace if I were Rudy Giuliani...

Marriage is important

The first thing Rudy has to do in order to prevent any policy on marriage from being turned into a wedge issue between secular and religious voters is to explain to the electorate why he, as a candidate to lead the executive branch of the federal government, is even articulating a policy on what has long been an issue confined to individuals, religious institutions, and state law. I think one of the biggest mistakes the president has made on this issue has been his failure to lay out a case for a national marriage policy that is distinctly secular in nature. The result has been a largely sectarian debate pitting evangelicals against mainline Protestants, orthodox Catholics against secular Catholics, and social conservatives against libertarians and federalists. This was a strategic error on the president's part and should be avoided by Rudy.

So how does Rudy address "marriage" without throwing down the gauntlet neatly on the red/blue divide? Well, one way would be to follow the advice of one of Rudy's once-and-future-allies, Heather MacDonald of the Manhattan Institute. MacDonald recently penned an entirely secular argument for a state interest in marriage, which can be found here. MacDonald's point is that there is a strong correlation between social ills and broken homes, and that societies in which poverty and crime run rampant are also those in which fathers don't stick around for the long haul. As mayor of New York, Rudy has observed this dynamic first-hand and is very well positioned to argue that marriage is indeed important enough for a societal conversation whether or not one believes any sort of deity had anything at all to say about the subject.

Marriage should be limited to couples consisting of one man and one woman

There's a reason the world has pretty much universally come to this conclusion over the millennia, and while the national and international conversation on the subject may yield a completely different conclusion in the generations ahead, it is clear that in the America of 2006, the vast majority of citizens favor marriage to remain within its traditional parameters. Rudy, then, should continue to do what he's been doing: proclaim the traditional definition of marriage inviolate and oppose any attempts to alter that definition.

Let the states decide

After explaining to Americans why the state has an interest in marriage policy and assuring voters that he does indeed support maintaining the traditional definition of marriage, Rudy should return to that age-old, often forgotten element of conservatism --- a respect for federalism --- and advocate an approach to the marriage issue that allows the voters of each state to select their own marriage policies. This would accomplish two objectives. First, it would reassure social conservatives that Rudy's personal support for civil unions would not have any impact on federal law, with each state free to decide between traditional marriage only, full-fledged same-sex marriage, or something in between. Secondly, it would allow Rudy to maintain his stance in opposition to amending the Constitution to ban gay marriage. And that brings me to my final point...

Judges, not amendments

Many conservatives argue that support for a constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage is a new litmus test for GOP candidates, and that no candidate will attain the presidential nomination without endorsing it. I would argue that what is actually required is nominal support for traditional marriage combined with a dedication to ensuring that the people, not the courts, get to decide marriage policy for their community. While a constitutional amendment was the president's preferred strategy to achieve this end, it has yet to garner majority support in a single poll, while maintaining traditional marriage achieves a majority in every poll. Instead of dividing the national center-right majority opposed to same-sex marriage by proposing a strategy that a significant number of them cannot get behind, Rudy should instead promise to appoint conservative judges who will respect the Constitution and who will leave decisions on marriage policy where they belong: with the people and their elected representatives.

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TIME: Rudy's the Strongest General Election Candidate

No head to head matchup, but Time once again polls on individual candidates and who Americans would vote for and not for. I've rolled up the scores into overall positives and negatives, as well as the net change since the last poll of this kind in July:

Rudy Giuliani 51% - 40% (-4% change)
Hillary Clinton 41% - 53% (-8% change)
John McCain 40% - 47% (-16% change)
Al Gore 39% - 56% (-6% change)
John Kerry 34% - 57% (-13% change)

In July, John McCain was the most undefined of the major contenders. Those numbers have dropped and they've all fallen into the unfavorable column -- and more. Rudy is the only candidate a majority of Americans would vote for. He's also the only candidate that a plurality of Americans would like to see run.

The idea that Republicans will flock to McCain out of desperation is just noise from an alternate universe. Ignore it. In fact, McCain is fast headed into Hillary territory in terms of his divisiveness, while Rudy Giuliani remains far and away the strongest primary and general election candidate, and has earned the mantle of established GOP frontrunner in the Reagan/Bush tradition.

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Friday, October 06, 2006

Endorsements: Big Gets or Cheap Dates?

It's time for your daily dose of McCain bashing and character assassination.

This time, it revolves around endorsements. It looks like Straight Talk hasn't been that straight about who is and isn't supporting them:

I have now been told that State Representative David Heaton of Mt. Pleasant is emphatically saying that he is not supporting McCain. I’m also told that there are two other legislators on the list that will flake off after Election Day.

This is the trouble with early endorsements, sure it’s a nice news story when they sign one, but it’s a bigger story when they jump ship. The problem for Kamp McCain is that it looks like somebody did sloppy work and didn’t nail these guys down before sending the press release. It’s a rookie mistake by the perceived front runner.
Heaton adds that he met with McCain, but never discussed endorsing him. He's not pleased by the error.

This episode shines a nice spotlight on the endorsement game some '08 contenders are now playing, particularly with highly impressionable small state legislators who will typically never get national political exposure. At some level, it betrays the fact that not a lot of thought goes into these announcements, or the process of reeling in the fish and actually confirming their support. Just as political operatives will build up a story on the blogs or Drudge (see John Harris' WaPo must-read today) to get around having to make the hard sell to mainstream media, candidate PACs try to create the impression of grassroots support among small-fry local officials who may not be as influential as they seem. If David Heaton was really central to the Straight Talk effort in Iowa, wouldn't more care have gone into actually confirming he was a McCain supporter?

It's a clever strategy, though. Most state legislators will almost never likely get to meet the President of the United States, so when a guy the media calls the frontrunner calls you up, it's a big, big deal. You're flattered, and likely to endorse simply because he was the first to ask. But as for these endorsements showing true grassroots support with actual caucusgoers, or conveying any organizational muscle, that's questionable.

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Thursday, October 05, 2006

If I Were Rudy Giuliani: On Abortion

(I'm not, you'll be happy to know.)

Usually, "advice" posts directed at politicians are a complete waste of time. They might sound good at first, but often miss some key strategic insight about the principal they address that make them nonstarters. But as Rudy gears up for a Presidential run, I'd like to do a series of posts taking a critical look at the obstacles that stand in his way and what he needs to do to overcome them. You may conclude that these posts are a waste of time like others of their ilk, but what makes the blog great is that you can comment and refine the ideas. Does this plan suck? Can it be improved? Not only is criticism permitted -- it's welcomed.

Let's first address the issue of abortion. How can Rudy get past the Republican primary electorate with his pro-choice position on abortion?

First, talk straight. Don't do what Mitt Romney did, which is dissemble about your current or past position. A man's entitled to change his mind, but labeling oneself "neither pro-life or pro-choice?" (A total of two Americans are neither pro-life or pro-choice, and both are probably overambitious politicians.) Rudy has an existing image as a decisive straight shooter to protect and can't be "reintroduced" to the voters, so he's stuck with the position he has. Just explain that, and try to build some respect around the fact that he's taken an unpopular position, he knows it, and won't kowtow for votes on it. It shows a lot more self-confidence than brazen flip-flopping, and self-confidence is what Rudy's about.

Whenever he talks about the issue, he must speak clearly and his position must be easy to understand. This is a very basic, black-and-white issue to people, and any candidate needs to approach it that way. He also can't seem defensive, like he's trying to change the subject. That will only invite attack. Instead, talk about the issue at length, hash it out, and make it old news by the time the first primaries roll around.

Judges, judges, judges. Rudy MUST pledge to appoint strict constructionist judges to the Federal bench, and in fact, has already indicated that he would. He should also explicitly make clear that the fate of Roe v. Wade doesn't especially matter to him (I think he said as much when interviewed about Chief Justice Roberts last year). I doubt he could call for the overthrow of Roe without drawing a red card for flipping, but he could sidestep the issue by saying he wouldn't want to prejudice potential appointees and/or signaling that he can reconcile his pro-choice position with state legislatures making their own choices about abortion in their states if it came to that.

Ultimately, the judges argument is a VERY good fit for Rudy because it fits with his prosecutorial, criminal justice background. Rudy is the one candidate in the race with most experience with judges and the judiciary. He understands what it means to have judges who won't undermine the prosecution's case against criminals, or who won't throw out national security laws on civil liberties grounds. As I've discussed before, judges isn't just a social issue. It's a gateway issue touching national security (NSA, Hamdan), property rights (Kelo), and social policy (Goodrich, Lawrence). Rudy can credibly position himself as a conservative hero on this and effectively cover for his weakness on the most central element of the abortion debate.

Change on PBA. Though he won't change on the underlying issue, it will be necessary to walk back some intemperate statements on PBA made in the heat of the New York Senate race against Hillary Clinton. As someone who's interested in seeking common ground in this debate, Rudy should make clear that he won't stand in the way of a modest restriction on the procedure favored by the vast majority of Americans, and he should mock judicial holdings against PBA bans as an extraconstitutional reach. It's also a matter of Rudy saying that he's talked to people of good heart, and changed his mind on this one issue -- but not on everything. That's what a leader does. You listen, you learn, and admit it when you're wrong.

Respect for the party he leads. Rudy should make clear very early that he understands that he seeks to lead a pro-life party, that he won't seek to change or water down the Republican platform, and won't weigh in either way on the abortion debate within the Republican Party. Similar to how Harry Reid and Bob Casey can function as prominent leaders and candidates for the Democrats, emphasize that it wouldn't be his goal to actively promote a pro-choice position within the party, a la Arlen Specter or Christie Whitman. He'd be more of an honest broker on the issue.

Federalism. Give a speech to the Federalist Society in early 2007 dwelling on the need for federalism and local solutions. Whatever the decisions we make on these difficult issues, they are best made closest to the people. To the extent that Rudy must give voice or explain his pro-choice position, say simply that if he were a state legislator, he might vote one way on the issue -- but then note curtly that he's not: he'd be the President and would have to represent all the people. To him, being pro-choice not just on this issue but on many issues means that the Federal government doesn't have the answer to problems, and that we need to seek solutions that spring up closest to the people.

What do you think? How would you tweak/add/refine to this plan?

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Giuliani the Winner from the Foley Page Scandal?

This is interesting. You wouldn't think D.C. pundits would finger Rudy as a beneficiary of the Congressional page scandal, "baggage" and all, but Republican strategist Matt Lewis says that he is. It's a pretty compelling argument that centers around Rudy's status as an outsider poised to come in and clean up Washington. Some of the best bits:

2. He's an Outsider: Currently, it appears that anyone elected to Federal office is (to a certain extent) tainted from this. (Sure, there's an anti-Republican sentiment -- but there is an anti-Washington sentiment bubbling.) This anti-Washington sentiment hurts Sen. McCain, Sen. Allen, Sen. Frist -- and it probably even affects Democrats such as Sen. Biden and Sen. Clinton. Even past office holders, like former Speaker Newt Gingrich, can be associated with being an "insider." But because Rudy was a Mayor -- instead of a Senator or Congressman -- he isn't tainted one bit. Outsiders (like governors) have always done better in presidential races, anyway. But I think this scandal reinforces that maxim. The question is whether or not this phenomenon will stick until '08.
3. He's Out of Office: Not only was Rudy not a Federal office holder -- he isn't currently elected to anything. While Sen. McCain, Sen. Frist, Sen. Allen and Gov. Romney still have to be a "politician" from time to time (some more so than others), Giuliani (like Reagan in 1980) isn't elected to anything. This means he doesn't have to do the pandering that is required of someone running for political office -- or building coalitions needed to pass legislation. In short, being out of office allows Rudy to be "his own man."

Lots of folks have been wondering about the "method to the madness" of Rudy's staying out of active Presidential campaigning. Lewis says its this:

4. He's Below the Radar: Giuliani's absence from the political fray has preserved his image as an outsider. If he were campaigning aggressively for president, he may not have been immune from being attached to the GOP's woes right now. What is more, Rudy isn't going out of his way to bash Rep. Foley or Speaker Hastert -- something that most "politicians" looking to run in '08 would be doing. While it might be tempting to bash DC-insiders and tout his status as an outsider, doing so now would appear to be opportunistic. He is wise to stay below the radar.

It's interesting to see how McCain and Giuliani position themselves if the GOP sustains significant losses on November 7th. McCain has been proclaiming as loudly as he can that the base is demoralized about spending, and implying that the GOP deserves to lose power because of its overspending and "hypocrisy," most recently at the British Conservative conference on Sunday. That may speak to the base's anger at Republicans, but it also smacks of purposefully trying to destroy the party so he can position himself as the White Knight trying to save it. It's also got a "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain" feel as he's been the one thwarting conservative plans on immigration and terrorist tribunals, denying the President some quick base-motivating victories.

Rudy has the message I think will resonate better: he's an outsider coming to shake things up. Can you really trust someone from Washington to change Washington? McCain may play up that he's right on one of a handful of base-angering issues, but the insider vs. outsider contrast is one I think Republicans will instinctively grasp.

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Giuliani and Bouchard in Michigan

Mike Bouchard's campaign has posted some great photos of Hizzoner with Michigan's next Senator:

"The enemy is among us." Heh:

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Reaganesque Rudy: I'd Win NY, CA, NJ & CT

Saul Anuzis, the best state Republican Party Chairman anywhere in America, posts extensively on RedState about Rudy's visit to Michigan, which apparently raked in quite a bit of dough for the state party, DeVos, and Bouchard. Anuzis talks at length about the Q&A, including what Rudy sees as his strengths and weaknesses, what states he'd win in a general election, the abortion issue, and his support for adoption and opposition to gay marriage. The Chairman calls Rudy "Reaganesque" in his foreign policy and economic views:

Mayor Giuliani was the special guest at Mike Bouchard’s fundraiser held at the Spiro residence. The campaign raised over $60,000 during their luncheon event. The Bouchard campaign continues on a roll, raising money, putting up new ads….and yes, this weekend thousands of lawnsigns are going out statewide.

Yesterday evening the Mayor joined us for a fundraiser for the Michigan Republican Party. Along with Dick DeVos, Mayor Giuliani was the special guest at separate dinners in SE Michigan where we raised around $200,000 for the State Party.

Mayor Giuliani was very engaging. He spoke with conviction and ease. He discussed his vision for America hitting on foreign affairs, the war on terror, crime, taxes, economic affairs and social issues. Several folks brought up the possibility of him running in 2008 for President and he said he was considering his options.

When asked about his strengths and weaknesses going into 2008 he laid out that his polling numbers nationwide have him consistently as one of the top two candidates for the nomination. He felt that in the general election he would have a very good chance of winning New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and California, something few Republicans of late have been able to do. His major weakness would be his ability to get the Republican nomination in Republican primaries across the country. His “moderate” views on social issues which he thinks would be an assets in helping him win the above mentioned states, would also be issues he would have to overcome and have folks understand during the primary. He was VERY conservative on economic, foreign affairs and crime issues…even Reaganesque.

He said he was not for abortion, but would not support moves to make it illegal. He has been a big supporter and activist for adoption, describing the programs he implemented in NY city while Mayor. He understood that constituted a “pro-choice” position. He supported traditional marriage and opposed “gay marriage”, however he felt civil unions were not a problem and that in general there should be an effort made to insure there is no discrimination against “gays” or anyone in society. He was very open and straightforward in his discussion with folks who mostly took the opposite position on these issues. I was very impressed by how he handled himself, the discussion and the issues.

He then brought us back to 2006 and said there is nothing more important than holding on to our Republican majorities in Congress. He specifically talked about the war on terror, early surveillance and the Patriot Act. He passionately defended President Bush’s policies and said we cannot “cut and run” and allow the war on terror to come to our shores. This is a long term battle against extremist who are out to destroy America and our way of life. This will NOT go away, just because we pull out of the Middle East of anywhere else. He was very well versed on what was happening in the war on terror and did a great job making the case on why the President policies are right, although maybe not politically expedient. He said that’s what leadership is all about.

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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Rudy Spends Quality Time in Michigan

Spending more time in early states is getting to be a pattern for Rudy. First New Hampshire, now Michigan. Last night, Hizzoner caught Game 1 of the Yankees-Tigers divisional playoff and today he'll be crisscrossing the state for Republican candidates (including Mike Bouchard and Dick DeVos) and doing a Get Motivated seminar.

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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

WNBC/Marist Poll: Rudy's Head and Shoulders Above the Field

I don't think there's any doubt about who the frontrunner is. Though this poll is corrupted by the inclusion of Condi Rice, Rudy finishes first in the latest WNBC/Marist Poll and McCain is down to 15% -- right where I thought he'd wind up all along. The poll shows that Republicans are practically begging Rudy to run.

If the 2008 Republican presidential primary were held today, whom would you support if the candidates are: (asked of Republicans and Republican leaning independents)

Rudy Giuliani 23%
Condoleezza Rice 20%
John McCain 15%
Newt Gingrich 7%
Mitt Romney 4%
Bill Frist 4%
George Allen 2%
George Pataki 2%
Sam Brownback 1%
Tom Tancredo 1%
Chuck Hagel <1%
Mike Huckabee <1%
Undecided 21%

Other highlights:

  • The general public wants Rudy to run by 54-39%. Republicans want Rudy to run by 78-16%. Democrats don't want him to run by 32-61%. Why would that be? 
  • 70% of Republicans say Rudy is "about right" ideologically. Just 12% say he is too liberal.
  • Rudy leads Hillary 49% to 42%. McCain leads Hillary 48% to 43%. Hillary defeats Rice 49% to 43%.
  • The public wants John McCain to run by a much more tepid 47% to 44% margin. No party crosstabs, but I can't imagine the numbers are very good for him here.  

We've explored at length before how John McCain tends to be the default Republican/Name ID-driven candidate and how he loses support when someone else (e.g. Condi) enters the race. Condi is unlikely to do so, but it's virtually inconceivable that Mitt Romney or Mike Huckabee won't pick up persuadables from the current frontrunners, and that these votes are likely to come disproportionately from McCain.

Once again, it looks like John McCain's torture fight came at exactly the wrong time and Rudy is peaking just at the right time.

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Monday, October 02, 2006


A new feature on Rudy's website allows you to register to vote if you're not registered, and apply to vote early by mail.

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Rudy holds the "Keys" to the White House

Metaphorically speaking, of course.

I explain why over at R4'08. This argument involves the analysis of a formula designed by American University professor Allan Lichtman, which has accurately predicted the popular vote winner of every presidential election since 1860. I encourage you to read the whole piece, but the long and the short of it is that the political, economic, and geopolitical dynamics of the country right now portend a close race in 2008, one that necessitates a GOP candidate with the charisma of Reagan and Roosevelt and the national hero status of an Eisenhower.

How does all of this relate to Rudy?

"If there’s a national hero in this race, it’s Rudy Giuliani. Five years later, Rudy remains the untarnished hero of 9/11 in the American psyche. Like Ike in the years following WWII, Rudy has been able to remain above the fray and is currently one of the most respected political figures in the nation. Add to that his Reaganesque communication skills and his ability consolidate the vast majority of Republicans behind him while reaching out to independents and Democrats and the result is a nominee that would almost certainly satisfy the Lichtman formula."

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Sunday, October 01, 2006

Rudy Doubles the New Hampshire Fun

Now, this is interesting... PoliticsNH reports that the Rudy event in New Hampshire has been moved from October 12 to November 3 because because they couldn't accommodate all the people who wanted to see the Mayor.

* Victory NH has rescheduled its inaugural First in the Nation forum featuring former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani from October 12 to November 3, to accommodate unexpected demand for tickets.  The event will take place in Manchester and a specific location will be announced in a few weeks.  Hizzoner will still take part in a fundraiser for New Hampshire House Republicans on October 12.  (9/29)

As the piece notes, Rudy is still keeping to a scheduled October 12th fundraiser for legislative candidates in New Hampshire. So, he'll be in the state twice before Election Day, and once for a hasily scheduled return visit to accommodate the demand to see him.

As far as I can tell, both of these visits are exclusively political. That's meaningful because his past visits to early primary states have often come on the backs of Get Motivated seminars or other scheduled appearances. Moreover, the VictoryNH event is very interesting and quite unlike anything Rudy has done before. VictoryNH is a coalition of pro-gun (note: including the Gun Owners of America affiliate) and anti-tax groups (they're still hawking Steve Forbes' flat tax plan). His appearance before that group -- and to a sellout crowd no less -- tells me he's very serious about wooing conservative activists in the state.

Note to doubters: this is not the schedule of a man who's just trying to pad his speaking fees.

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How Rudy Could Pull It Off

Is it just me, or is the conventional wisdom beginning to move back in our direction?

And is McCain-Romney just Republican for Dean-Gephardt?

Flash back to a couple of weeks ago, when McCain and Romney exchanged hot words over the detainee issue. The vicious back-and-forth has been going on at the staff level for months, and in fact some crude hits by Pat Hynes on Romney from a few months ago were a surefire sign he was doing McCain's bidding. Two weeks ago was the first time this hostility sprung out in the open. Lately, Romney's high-profile recruitment of Chris Rants in Iowa, Tom Rath in New Hampshire, and some notable figures yet to be named in South Carolina suggests that he is effectively going tit-for-tat with McCain in establishment support, and McCain isn't quite the frontrunner people thought he was.

With Romney positioning himself as the anti-McCain, and needling the Straight Talk Express in the endorsement battles, Team Romney is provoking Team McCain into all-out war.

If the simmering hostility between the Romney and McCain camps are this bad now, wait until early 2008, when voters will be sick of it. And as in every primary, an unconventional candidate will rise while a conventional candidate falls. Both McCain and Romney are positioning themselves as conventional candidates, and they're getting into a distracting two-way skirmish in a multi-candidate field, always a dangerous thing.  

Enter Rudy.

I can picture the ads now: "Romney attacks McCain. McCain attacks Romney. And then there's Rudy." There may be a method to the madness to staying above the fray after all.

R4'08er Republius put it very well the other day:

Such a populist strategy, in conjunction with entering the fray later than McCain and Romney, may also set up the two best organized GOP candidates to attack each other, as we saw glimpses of in the recent detainee legislation debate, in a way that significantly injures both and paves the way for others to come to the forefront from the rear. This would be a perfect set up for Giuliani and Gingrich, much as how in 2004 Congressman Gephardt and Governor Dean destroyed each other in Iowa and allowed John Kerry to thus win those caucuses from behind and establish unbeatable momentum after following that up with a win in his backyard at the New Hampshire primary.

And McCainiac Liz Mair, from the moderate blog GOPProgress also sees a ray of light for Rudy in the McCain-Romney battle:

I'm not so sure about that.  Assuming Giuliani does indeed get into the race, my thinking is this: Iowa could well go to him, New Hampshire will probably go to McCain, Alabama will be a toss-up between McCain, Romney and perhaps even a Huckabee or Brownback-style candidate, while South Carolina I do not see going for McCain, and it could well go to Romney (I await a torrent of criticism and reminders of recent McCain hires in the state-- however, I would remind readers just how hated McCain was in SC after 2000, and that elephants never forget).  Michigan will be a bloody fight between McCain and Romney, and my instinct is that it will be close, but could well go to Romney-- or Giuliani, if McCain and Romney spend the next year beating each other up there, with the effect that everyone is sick of them, and votes for the guy who stayed out of the fighting and actually talked about what he was prepared to lead on.

If all that happens, states like Washington start to matter.  If Giuliani did manage to sneak in a crafty victory in another one or two states (e.g., Michigan), by virtue of McCain and Romney hacking each other to bits, a Giuliani victory in somewhere like Washington could be very key to sealing the deal for him.

I used to think it was important for Rudy to snatch the establishment mantle from McCain relatively early on. Now I'm not so sure. With McCain and Romney effectively splitting the establishment in half, there may be no establishment mantle to be had, and Rudy's people power becomes more formidable.

I'll be reminded of the fact that the GOP normally nominates establishment candidates. But here's the difference. Rudy isn't a scrappy challenger starting at 2%. He starts at 30% of the vote. He's starting to hold down double digit leads in big states. The longer this goes on, the clearer it becomes that McCain-Romney is being fought out in an alternate universe, while in the real world Giuliani is far and away the Republican frontrunner. Nominating Rudy would be perfectly consistent with the Republican tradition of choosing frontrunners.

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