Giuliani Blog Tracking the likely Presidential candidacy of Rudy Giuliani

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Deroy Murdock: Rudy a Front-Running Underdog

NRO’s Contributing Editor backs up his claim with some very compelling evidence:

The oddest thing about the conventional wisdom may be its almost bulletproof imperviousness to the facts. An excellent example of this phenomenon is Arizona Senator John McCain’s oft-trumpeted status as frontrunner for the 2008 Republican nomination. Conversely, the cognoscenti titter at former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani as terminally liberal.

A new Quinnipiac University survey is just the latest in an almost unanimous array of polls that shows Giuliani, not McCain, heading the GOP’s 2008 parade.

The November 27 “Feeling Thermometer” from the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute asked 1,623 registered voters to rate the warmth of national leaders from 0 –100. “The higher the number, the warmer or more favorable you feel toward that person, the lower the number, the colder or less favorable.” Among 20 top American leaders, Rudy Giuliani is rated No. 1 with a “temperature” of 64.2. McCain is third at 57.7. Giuliani’s standing among the 490 self-identified Republicans Quinnipiac surveyed is even more compelling. Republicans give Giuliani a very comfortable temperature of 71.7. That puts him just behind Rice (72.3) and Bush (72.1), neither of whom is expected to be on the ballot in 2008. Among those who might run, Giuliani is well ahead of McCain (62.2), Gingrich (58.9), and Romney (52.8). (Error margin for this subset: +/- 4.4 percent). Most fascinating is Giuliani’s performance among self-professed “White evangelicals/Born-again Christians.” Here again, among 439 of the study’s most socially conservative respondents, Giuliani is at the top of the heap. He scores 66.3, ahead of Rice (64.4), Bush (58.1), McCain (57.1), Gingrich (47.8), and Romney (46.4).

In other recent surveys, Giuliani also leads the way. Pollster Scott Rasmussen found Giuliani with 24 percent to 18 for Rice and 17 for McCain in a November 4 – 7 national survey of 1,050 Republicans and 203-GOP-leaning independents. With Rice excluded and her votes reallocated, “Giuliani would top McCain 32 percent to 22 percent,” Rasmussen told me.

In Strategic Vision’s selected state-by-state surveys released November 6, Giuliani outpaced McCain by nine points in Georgia, 19 in Florida and Washington State, 22 in New Jersey, and 23 points in Pennsylvania. Romney rose no higher than third in these states. McCain only can point to Michigan as a state where he tops Giuliani — specifically 33 percent to 25. The conventional wisdom further argues that Giuliani benefits from his high name ID in the wake of his universally covered and highly appreciated leadership on September 11. But Giuliani is not outshining a state senator here or a second-term House member there. McCain is widely known from coast to coast, as are Gingrich, Bush, and Rice. Giuliani easily outpolls the former speaker of the House of Representatives and the man who was runner-up for the 2000 GOP presidential nomination. Giuliani tops the current secretary of State and the president of the United States in general “warmth” and comes within 0.6 and 0.4 “degrees” of them in popularity among Republicans.

As for his alleged liberalism, Giuliani, to be sure, will face resistance from Republican primary voters who differ with him on abortion, gay marriage, and gun ownership. While Giuliani’s views on these issues eventually may gravitate to the right, he will address his potential critics with an enormous reservoir of goodwill, as Quinnipiac’s numbers show. Some have speculated that Giuliani’s numbers will fall once GOP voters across America learn that he favors civil unions, is pro-choice, and has called for greater gun regulations. Perhaps.

But his numbers could hold or even rise once Republicans outside Gotham learn that, as mayor, he cut the local tax burden by 19 percent, jettisoned racial and gender preferences for contracting (during his first month as mayor, no less), hunted deadbeat dads and made them pay their child support, implemented charter schools, promoted “vouchers” (always embracing that word), and hosed down seedy, crime-infested areas such as Times Square. It now is safe, literally, for Mary Poppins — a new Disney musical that opened on 42nd Street, where pornographic films unspooled prior to Giuliani’s tenure.

Can you say, “family values?”

What we can today is that Giuliani currently outruns his rivals for the GOP nomination, even if most of the press corps’ eyes are too welded shut to notice. With the polls showing him ahead and the conventional wisdom dismissing his prospects, Rudolph W. Giuliani has achieved the impossible: He’s a front-running underdog.

My biggest complaint regarding 2008 analysis is the near constant meme of “Once GOP voters find out about Rudy’s past, his support will nosedive.” Charlie Cook is one of the biggest proponents of this theory, despite the fact that his own polling directly contradicts this conclusion (Cook conducted a poll where he specifically laid out all Rudy’s past social views and then asked his Republican supporters if they still supported him for president. The answer was a resounding yes.-See here).

It is also curious that these pundits never consider that opinions on Mitt Romney will change once his support of Abortion and Gay Rights pre-2002 are publicized by evangelical groups that have only just started on this project.

Stating that Rudy will lose support among the Republican rank-in-file once his past social views are known is an opinion, not a fact. What I would like to start seeing from these pundits is some empirical evidence to back up their claims. Mr. Murdock has laid his cards on the table, it’s time for the critics to show theirs.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

And now Lowry...

As my colleagues on this blog have noted, many in the MSM are beginning to change their minds about a Rudy candidacy, going from writing Rudy off without a second thought to taking a second, a third, and a fourth look at the mayor. Well, now the same thing is happening in the MSCM (Main-Stream Conservative Media). Rich Lowry of National Review has been fairly skeptical about Rudy's chances up until now. But a post by Lowry today on The Corner suggests conservative journalists too may now be turning a corner when it comes to Rudy.

Lowry's post begins with a pro-Rudy email that he received from a reader. Money quote:

"'Giuliani's achievement in the day-to-day operation of government is arguably unmatched in the past half century. While motivated by big ideas, the success was all in the implementation and follow-through, with a government larger and more complicated than all but perhaps four states, and quite a few countries.

If social conservatism means anything it must surely begin with basic law and order. Giuliani proved over many years that on these issues he was a man of the highest honor and principles. In this regard he is something of an unusual character in that moderate Republicans have typically been squishy across the board.'"

Lowry's response reads as follows:

"There's no doubt that Giuliani's skill at running what until then had been a dysfunctional government failing to cope with a deteriorating city looks better and better, given the current national political circumstances. Rick Brookhiser has an excellent piece making the case for Giuliani in our new issue. Again, as I've noted before, NR doesn't yet have a candidate in the '08 race. And personally I think it's too soon to be jumping on any bandwagons. Let's see how these guys actually run."

Again, the door isn't exactly being thrown wide open, but Lowry has appeared to have opened it a crack. Dare we dream of the day when Lowry joins pro-Rudy Corner regulars J-Pod and Derb for a full-scale NR endorsement of the mayor?

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Is Charlie Cook Changing His Tune?

Yes, but very slightly. Here is Cook's latest analysis of Rudy's chances:

Can a candidate with Giuliani’s positions on social and cultural issues — pro-choice, supportive of gay rights and gun-control measures — win the Republican nomination? While it is true that social and cultural conservatives do not have enough influence to dictate who will get the GOP nod, can they veto someone who is anathema to them on their three most critical litmus test issues?

In February and again in August, the Cook Political Report/RT Strategies poll tested that proposition, asking Republicans and GOP-leaning independents the following:

“Thinking about Rudy Giuliani, some people say he really cleaned up New York City as mayor and made it a safer place, and then he showed real courage as a leader after the attack on the World Trade Center. Other people say that his views on some issues — because he is pro-choice on abortion, and supports gun control and gay rights — makes it hard for them to support him for president. Having heard that, which of the following two statements comes closer to your opinion: the Republicans should nominate Giuliani for president, or the Republicans should not nominate Giuliani for president?”

The pro-Giuliani share was 50 percent in February and 56 percent in August; the anti-Giuliani share was 43 percent in February and 38 percent in August.

If these numbers were to hold up in an actual fight for the nomination, Giuliani could win the nod, though it would likely be exceedingly bloody and divisive.

Of course, he does have to qualify his analysis at the end by stating he would "be shocked" if Rudy won the nomination. But perhaps this, along with Chuck Todd's article of last week, signals that we may be making progress with the "inside-the-beltway" types.

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Will California and Florida Clinch it for Rudy?

In a move that hasn't gained nearly enough attention yet, the Boston Globe reports that both California and Florida are thinking of moving up their primaries as far as the first Tuesday in February.

If so, it would dramatically alter the calculus of the early primary season. Rudy has been leading in early Florida polls by as much as 2-to-1. The state also features a huge number of New York transplants who probably voted twice for Rudy as mayor. Once solidly in purple territory, Florida is also fast becoming the heartland of new GOP, with a newly elected Republican governor (staying free and clear of the '06 tsunami), near supermajorities in the legislature, and an electoral count that will rival Texas by 2030. An early victory there would signal that Rudy has captured the heart of today's Republican Party and give him a certain measure of Southern credibility, assuming the Deep South is not as solid (and I don't expect it to be).

California in many ways has already provided a template for a Rudy victory. The 2002 primary for governor, in which Rudy-endorsed conservative Bill Simon beat moderate LA Mayor Richard Riordan, showed that the Republican primary electorate is as conservative as anywhere (not to mention Bush's victory over McCain in the 2000 primary). Arnold's resilience in the face of many of the same criticisms Rudy faces now shows that conservatives will accept a political moderate with star power. During the 2003 recall, you had the worry that conservative Tom McClintock and Arnold would nearly split the Republican vote, delivering a Democratic successor to Gray Davis. Didn't happen. Arnold received three times more votes than McClintock and won by double digits.

Perhaps it's time to refocus from South Carolina and Michigan, home of the most heated "proxy wars," and on to the big states that will not be kind to non-frontrunners (especially should FL or even CA take place on the same day as SC and MI).

(HT: Eye on '08)

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Monday, November 27, 2006

Veep Watch

Because Rudy will need one.

The political calculus that goes into the selection of a running mate for any presidential contender is complex indeed. All sorts of factors must be taken into consideration, including geography, ideology, demographics, and experience. And as we've seen before, all of that is often thrown out the proverbial window following a tough fight for the nomination in order to create a unity ticket that includes the winner of the nomination and the runner-up, a la Reagan/Bush or Kerry/Edwards.

SurveyUSA released its latest 50-state poll today detailing the job approval of each of the nation's governors. If Rudy were to look to the states for a running mate, he appears to have several good options to choose from. Following are my recommendations.

1) Haley Barbour: The Mississippi governor seems well on his way to reelection, boasting an approval rating of 59% during an all-around bad Republican year. How'd he do it? By governing in a manner that has been competent, clean, and conservative. Barbour matches Rudy's gravitas on the ticket with an impressive CV. He's both been a governor and knows his way around the Beltway. He's a former insider who's been an outsider during the tumultuous Bush years. And he would protect Rudy's southern flank so that the Mayor could concentrate on the regions in which he'd flip the most voters from the last few elections: the Rust Belt, the northeast, and the west. Barbour would be an A+ pick if Rudy could snag him.

2) Tim Pawlenty: T-Paw held on in a blue state, in a blue region, during a blue year while GOP incumbents around him were dropping like flies. A young, well-spoken conservative executive from the upper midwest, Pawlenty would reinforce a Giuliani ticket by appealing to the same northern voters that Rudy would likely bring back into the fold --- those that may not have voted Republican since the 1980s. Whether a Rudy/Pawlenty ticket would be too regional or redundant is a question that needs to be answered.

3) Mark Sanford: The South Carolina governor also boasts a hearty approval rating, with 57% of the state's voters giving a thumbs-up to the job he's doing. The governor was easily reelected just weeks ago and would bring to the ticket many of the same benefits as Barbour. But Sanford's gregarious personality and no-nonsense style would probably mean that there'd be little tempermental contrast between the top of the ticket and the bottom. Is it wise for Rudy to pick someone exactly like him as his running mate, or do voters prefer a balance? Again, another question that will need to be answered before any decisions are made.

There are of course many other veep candidates that can be found at various other levels of government. But if Rudy wants to look to our nation's state houses to find a running mate, he does have at least a few very good options.

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Rudy Again Dominates Thermometer Ratings

Far and away, Rudy elicits the most positive feelings amongst American voters:

The mean scores for each politician with the percentage not knowing enough about the individual to rate him or her:

1) Rudolph Giuliani - 64.2. (9)
2) Sen. Barack Obama 58.8 (41)
3) Sen. John McCain 57.7 (12)
4) Condoleezza Rice - 56.1 (7)
5) Bill Clinton - 55.8 (1)
6) Sen. Joseph Lieberman - 52.7 (16)
7) NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg - 51.1 (44)
8) John Edwards - 49.9 (20)
9) Sen. Hillary Clinton - 49 (1)
10) N.M. Gov. Bill Richardson - 47.7 (65)
11) Sen. Joseph Biden 47 (52)
12) Nancy Pelosi 46.9 (34)
13) Gov. Mitt Romney - 45.9 (64)
14) Former VP Al Gore - 44.9 (3)
15) President George Bush - 43.8 (1)
16) Sen. Evan Bayh - 43.3 (75)
17) Newt Gingrich - 42 (15)
18) Sen. Bill Frist - 41.5 (53)
19) Sen. Harry Reid - 41.2 (61)
20) Sen. John Kerry - 39.6 (5)

However, the only numbers that matter in a Republican primary are these:

(Among Republicans only.)

Rating     Giuliani  McCain
0-20        5%        7%
21-40       3        13
41-60      19        23
61-80      37        29
81-100     30        18
D/K         7        11
Refused     -         -

Mean       71.7      62.2
Over 61    67        47

Ratings like these should translate to a strong if not commanding position in the Republican primary.

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The Rudy Record: Crime Reduction

Many New Yorkers (and most of the city’s ruling liberal elite) had given up on reducing crime by the time of Rudy Giuliani was inaugurated Mayor of New York City.

At that time, New York City was averaging five murders a day (1800-2200 murders a year between 1989 and 1993) and 10,000 felonies a week. Property crimes had essentially been decriminalized, with car owners displaying flags of surrender such as “radio already stolen” to prevent further break-ins. Roving “wolf packs” of street toughs instilled fear in law abiding citizens on the city’s streets.

Those who could leave the city did so (further weakening the city’s already crumbling taxpayer base). Of the residents fleeing New York City, 49% stated that they or someone they resided with had been a victim of violent crime within three years of their departure. By 1990, over one million New Yorkers had fled the city.

Mayor David Dinkins, not surprisingly, placed the blame for New York’s crime problem at society’s feet, echoing the liberal axiom that crime is best fought by increased government spending on social programs, or “fighting crime at its roots”. The answer certainly was not more police officers, as many liberal activists noted in reaction to budget cuts. Prominent among their suggestions (in reaction to the $2.3 billion budget deficit) was the city’s incoming police academy class.

One poll respondent best summarized the feelings of New Yorkers regarding fighting crime in the city, lamenting, “It’s a bigger job than anyone can handle.”

Mayor Giuliani made “revolutionizing” New York City’s fight against crime his mission. His underlying philosophy: “Broken Windows” policing. His main weapon: a truly revolutionary tactic called Compstat.

The “Broken Windows” theory of policing first appeared in the March 1982 edition of the Atlantic Monthly in an article by James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling. In essence, Broken Windows theory states that major crime will be reduced by enforcing laws on minor offenses because, A.) The rigorous enforcement of standard of living crimes such as vandalism creates an environment that is hostile to the individuals that are likely to commit more serious crimes, and B.) Individuals who commit smaller offenses are more likely to also commit more serious crimes. According to NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton, roughly 2 in 13 subway fare-beaters had felony warrants. Enforcement of small offenses like turnstile jumping, leads to the capture of serious felons, keeping them off the city streets.

“Broken Windows” policing worked. Felonies in the city’s subway system dropped 75%. One out of every seven turnstile jumpers were found to either possess a weapon or be wanted under a felony warrant.

The other critical benefit of the rigorous enforcement of “Broken Windows” policing is that ridding the city of criminals who perpetrate quality of living crimes usually leads to fewer law abiding citizens fleeing a community.

Compstat’s effectiveness in fighting crime was due to its main areas of focus: the accurate compilation of crime statistics, and the accountability of those entrusted to fight crime.

No major city police department had ever successfully implemented a program to collect and analyze crime statistics on a daily basis. This was the foundation of Compstat’s strategy. Many doubted that this was even possible, with the normal sample of information for analysis being monthly, quarterly, or even annually. As Mayor Giuliani put it, “Examining the numbers annually or even quarterly wasn’t accomplishing anything in real time. By the time a pattern of crime was noticed, it would have changed.” The infrastructure needed to conduct daily data collection was thought to perhaps be 2 years from implementation. The Giuliani Administration had it up and running in three weeks.

Compstat works in this manner. Police officers were responsible for entering crime reports into his/her precinct’s On-Line Compliant System (OLCS), which transmits the street report into the Compstat mainframe. The data is reflected on a map which allows analysis of geographic concentrations of crime (sorted by hour of day, type of crime, etc…), as well as a weekly summary of crime complaints that display trends such as week-to-date, month-to-date, etc… To keep the data honest, statistically unrealistic performance was flagged to allow investigation into “cooking the books” at the precinct level.

Accountability was stressed to everyone involved. The Compstat reports were available to all levels of authority in the chain of command. Every person, from the Mayor to the police officer on the street, knew how each precinct was performing.
The most critical aspect of creating accountability was the twice weekly Compstat meeting, where each individual borough command was to account before the Mayor and all of their peers, their department’s performance.

Mayor Giuliani remembers that, “from the very start of these meetings, the NYPD realized that something special was taking shape. [Deputy Police Commissioner] Jack Maple would pepper the precinct commander with: ‘Why are car thefts down twenty percent citywide, but up ten percent in your area?’ Or: ‘Explain how assaults have been falling for six straight months until last month then started rising.’”

Mayor Giuliani made sure that each precinct commander’s entire staff be present for these meetings, which would make it difficult to “pass the buck” onto an underling who was not present, (again demonstrating how accountability was heavily factored into the structural processes of Compstat itself.) Decisions were able to be made on how to reallocate police resources to areas that needed them before the problem became out of hand. Fighting crime had moved into the 21st Century under Mayor Giuliani. Police were now able to respond to rising crime in real time.

The results of holding each precinct accountable for crime in their respective areas on a weekly basis speak for themselves. Major felonies fell 12.3% in the first year alone. Murder and robbery fell by the greatest one-year margins in New York City history-17.9% and 15.5%. In addition, shootings fell by 75%; rapes decreased by 1,200 per year from 1993 to 2000; robberies fell from 85,883 per year to 32,213; burglaries plummeted from 100,933 to 38,155, and auto theft fell from 111,611 to 35,673. Overall crime fell by 57% and the drop was citywide (as an example, Mayor Giuliani noted that there were 92 murders in Crown Heights and 35 in Harlem in 1993. By 2000, those numbers were 35 and 5.)

Even the New York Times was forced to admit (after criticizing Compstat at its initial implementation while trumpeting competing programs in cities like San Diego) that “the regular Compstat meetings are probably the most powerful control device ever devised for police.” Compstat’s success led to Harvard bestowing its prestigious “Innovations in Government Award” on the program in 1996.

Compstat’s success has been long-term, which has diffused the main criticism of the program, namely, that crime was already falling nationwide by the time of its implementation. While true on its face, this criticism fails to note that New York City’s crime reduction was three to six times the national average. New York City today remains the United State’s safest big city, while cities like Boston and St. Louis saw homicides increase 67% and 22% in 2001. Chicago had 20 more murders than New York in 2001 despite having 5.1 million fewer inhabitants. And what about that vaunted San Diego crime reduction program? San Diego experienced 16% more crime than New York City in 2001, with its crime rate rising by 3.9 percent while NYC’s fell by 7.6%

How will Compstat’s success factor into the 2008 campaign? Mayor Giuliani has recently hinted that a Compstat approach will likely factor heavily into his border security program. It is exciting to imagine how Compstat’s success in New York could be applied to managing the forces securing our southern border.

Rudy’s record in crime reduction is just one of many examples of his amazing record as “America’s most accomplished conservative.” It’s a record that Mayor Giuliani’s 2008 primary opponents, as well as his Democratic challenger in the general election, will find difficult to match

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Sunday, November 26, 2006

More On Rudy's Financial Backers

From The Daily Telegraph:

Some of the biggest Republican donors to George W Bush's presidential campaigns are backing Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor, for the White House as the candidate who can beat Hillary Clinton in 2008.

Over a private lunch of sea bass and hamburgers at New York's 21 Club recently, Mr Giuliani addressed nearly three dozen of the men who helped propel Mr Bush to the presidency. They included "Pioneers", who donated more than $100,000 to Bush campaigns, and "Rangers" who gave at least $200,000.
There are two important points expressed by the people at the meeting. The first of which pertains to Sen. McCain:

Patrick Oxford, a major Bush contributor from Houston who attended the lunch, said that despite having courted the top Bush donors for years, Senator John McCain, seen as the Republican front runner for 2008, had not persuaded all of them.

"Every Republican leader and fundraiser has had the chance to contribute to or join the McCain team. If he's not seen to be the inevitable choice by now, perhaps that signals something," Mr Oxford said.

"The great success of President Bush in 2000 was that he created an aura of inevitability relatively early. I suspect that's been the McCain effort as well and the polling numbers don't reflect that he's done that."

Secondly, regarding Rudy's social positions:

Mr. Giuliani is seen as a hero of the September 11th attacks for his dignified and patriotic performance as New York mayor, as well as being known as a foreign policy hawk. He has therefore been able to tackle head-on the concerns that his liberal stances on abortion, gun control and gay marriage make him unacceptable to ordinary Republicans.

"Closer analysis will find that his positions on those three particular issues are not hands-down odious to the Republican rank and file," said Mr Oxford.

This is really the most important thing that we can take away from this article. Hizzoner made a point to address the concerns of these financial heavy hitters in order to convince them that his past social views can be addressed in a way that will be acceptable to the people who vote in the primaries. From what we know, Rudy was successful.

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Giuliani Files with the FEC

It's official. The Rudy Giuliani Presidential Exploratory Committee, Inc. has filed with the FEC, and now faces fewer restrictions on fundraising and the like.

And donors on both sides of the Great Divide are starting to talk smack. The battle is joined.

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Rudy vs. The Left

I've gotta admit I had a similar reaction to JPod on yesterday's threat to "swift boat" Rudy Giuliani from the head of the New York ACLU. Meaning: how can we raise money to foot his hotel bills in Iowa and South Carolina?

The Post's David Seifman reported yesterday that some New York lefties are seriously considering an effort to attack Rudy in the manner that the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth attacked John Kerry in 2004 - to reveal the "unvarnished truth" about his mayoralty and deflate his status as an American hero.

Among those Seifman cites is Norman Siegel, the Rudy-era head of the New York Civil Liberties Union. Siegel said he "represents some families of 9/11 victims who he says 'have lots of questions in regard to what Giuliani did' and are prepared to express their concerns." And he wants America to know about Rudy's run-ins with New York City's "civil rights" community, which sued him and City Hall on a constant basis during his time as mayor.

I won't go into the specifics; this paper, this columnist and everybody else in New York covered them exhaustively for years. But Siegel did say his group won 23 out of 27 lawsuits brought against the Giuliani administration for First Amendment violations. What he didn't bring up is the 30 attempts to use the courts to dismantle Rudy's efforts to use zoning laws to rid family neighborhoods of porn shops - every one of which failed.

That was the most substantial and sustained legislative effort taken against the Giuliani administration, and its intent was to undo a key move to make the city a habitable and friendly environment for families.

That's one example of how Rudy, the supposed social liberal, used effective governing tactics to bring about something that America's social conservatives would cheer.

There's no better way to remind people of Rudy's conservative record than to get attacked by Norm Siegel, the Times editorial board, and the rest of the lefty freak show from Greenwich Village.

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Monday, November 20, 2006

Freeper's Almost Split On Rudy

Speaking of the tedious Conventional Wisdom, we all know what it says about the conservative support of Rudy's nascent presidential campaign. Therefore, we should be able to guess how Rudy would fare regarding a poll of the ultraconservative members of Free Republic, the same site where 90% of responders rejected John McCain as the 2008 GOP nominee.

Once again, Rudy turns the CW on it's head.

Free Republic's Rudy Giuliani poll has responders supporting Rudy 42% to 58% against. If Rudy can garner 42% support from the most ultraconservative forum on the 'Net, what does that tell us about how he would fare among rank-in-file Republicans?

This is exhibit #1001 of how Rudy's support is coming from the Right. Rudy's backers are the same Conservatives who have supported President Bush all along, in comparison with Senator McCain, who support comes mainly from the liberal "Mainstreet Wing" of the GOP.

I think it's just about time to bury the CW.

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The "Conventional Wisdom" Strikes Again

Yet another journalist has penned a piece on Rudy that decides to replace critical analysis with tired, old, faulty assumptions about the Mayor's presidential chances.

Says Lee Bandy of The State:

"South Carolina Republicans love Rudy Giuliani.

But will they go so far as to vote for him for president?

Probably not.


Because the former New York City mayor is a moderate Republican who supports gun control, same-sex civil unions, embryonic stem-cell research and abortion rights — stands that put him at odds with the majority of the GOP’s conservative base."

Given that Bandy leads with this language, you'd think that he's under the impression that it's an original idea.

Ho hum. Wake me when the "conventional wisdom" of the MSM catches up with the true wisdom of the actual voters, who rank Rudy either first or a very close second in every empirical measure of Republican support.

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Sunday, November 19, 2006

Advice for Rudy from Political Bigwigs

In today's New York Times.

My preferred advice comes from GOP strategist Mary Matalin:

On liberal social positions: carefully evolve, but don’t be a phony. Social conservatives are conviction voters. And social moderates will reject political opportunism. Indicate your respect for conservative convictions and try to “refine” your own. A late-life reversal on late-term abortion is entirely plausible and mandatory. Try to keep focus on constitutionalist judges.

On “personal issues”: concede transgressions and pivot to relevance — “Do you want this race to be about my past (life) or your future (life)?”

Paul Begala's advice that Rudy should do a 180 on abortion should, IMHO, be ignored as the ramblings of a Democrat who probably doesn't want Rudy to succeed and who doesn't understand Republicans anyway. And Rich Galen's point that Gov. Schwarzenegger got 91 percent of the GOP vote in California despite being a social liberal probably ends the myth that Rudy would somehow cause conservatives to stay home.

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Friday, November 17, 2006

Rudy Wrangles Big Name Team for '08

It's been a busy week on the organization front, and now some big money names are coming out strong for Rudy, including Texas billionaire T. Boone Pickens, former California candidate Bill Simon, and South Carolina's Barry Wynn. The New York Times sums up Rudy's first finance committee meeting yesterday:

Among those who attended were Thomas O. Hicks, owner of the Texas Rangers; Mel M. Immergut, chairman of the New York law firm Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy; Patrick C. Oxford, managing partner at the Houston law firm Mr. Giuliani joined last year, now known as Bracewell & Giuliani; William E. Simon Jr., an investor who ran for governor of California in 2002; and Barry D. Wynn, a former chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party. T. Boone Pickens, a Texas billionaire with oil and gas investments, took part through a conference call, Mr. Bailey said.

Several of the supporters, including Mr. Hicks and Mr. Wynn, were major contributors to President Bush’s re-election effort in 2004.

Mr. Immergut said he did not have doubts about Mr. Giuliani’s interest in the race. “If he wasn’t really interested, he wouldn’t be spending the time of all the people that are already gathered around him and the amount of time that he’s been spending crisscrossing the country to test the waters.”

And check this out:

“Certainly one of the first questions that was asked was how his views on things like gun control and pro-choice and gay marriage would affect the views of the party in terms of nominating him,” Mr. Immergut said.

“He talked specifically about what his views on those issues were, and he said that his own view was that when he was able to engage in conversations with party members who were more on the right, they could understand that his views were not as black and white as they had been painted.”

In the Washington Post, former Texas GOP finance chair Roy Bailey says that events around the country may start as soon as 30 days from now:

Bailey refused to disclose the finance committee's fundraising goals, but said the group was putting together a schedule of events around the country to begin in the next 30 days.

Bailey described Giuliani as "very serious" about the presidential exploratory effort, and said the success of the fundraising campaign will be an important gauge of whether the former mayor can raise the money he needs to go forward.

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Has Rudy Got "Big Mo' "?

It certainly appears that way after the bombshell of the formation of an exploratory committee dropped on Monday. Deroy Murdock, writing for Human Events, discusses why Rudy is the current ‘08 frontrunner:

With his exploratory committee now prospecting for 2008, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani leads the GOP’s White House hopefuls. His standing atop numerous polls remains unchallenged. Also, his recent endorsement by some former critics suggests that social conservatives who explore his record might embrace him as president of the United States.

Surveys consistently demonstrate that Giuliani, not Arizona Senator John McCain, is this race’s front-runner. It’s not even close.

In a nationwide Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,050 Republicans and 203 GOP-leaning independents, 24 percent backed Giuliani while 18 percent chose Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. McCain, at 17 percent, lags behind Rice, a declared non-candidate.

“If we assume Rice is not running and allocate her votes,” says pollster Scott Rasmussen, “Giuliani would top McCain 32 percent to 22 percent in the November 4 - 7 study.”

Among likely Republican voters polled in Michigan, McCain beat Giuliani 33 percent to 25. Rudy romped elsewhere in Strategic Vision’s November 6 survey. Giuliani outran McCain by nine points in Georgia (33 percent to 24); 19 in Florida (46 percent to 27) and Washington State (42 percent to 23); 22 in New Jersey (47 percent to 25); and 23 points in Pennsylvania (47 percent to 24). Gov. Mitt Romney (R.–Mass.) scored, at best, a distant third in these states.

A Clemson University poll of South Carolina Republicans and GOP-leaners revealed Giuliani’s enormous 68 percent net-favorable rating (78 percent favorable minus 10 percent unfavorable). McCain’s equivalent figure was 42 percent (65 favorable, less 23 percent unfavorable).

These figures don’t surprise Rasmussen.

“Giuliani has the highest net-favorable ratings of any candidate on whom we’ve been polling,” he says. “Giuliani’s higher than McCain and higher than Hillary Clinton. He’s even higher than Bill Clinton.”

SayNoToRudy.Org’s on-line retreat also impresses. As the Ohio-based website’s self-described, social-conservative organizers stated November 5: “We sought to do everything legally possible to prevent [Giuliani] from becoming the Republican presidential nominee…Unexpectedly, as we began to see more and more of who Mr. Giuliani really is…we found that Mr. Giuliani is truly a committed Republican and an accomplished conservative on many issues…Therefore, the creators of this organization, with much humility and apology, beyond all probability, hereby announce that we are willing to endorse Mr. Giuliani for the Presidency in 2008.”

Despite widespread misinformation about how “liberal” Giuliani is, this group’s 180-degree reversal shows what can happen when conservatives scrutinize Giuliani’s entire performance. Giuliani chopped overall crime 57 percent, slashed homicide 65 percent, graduated 649,895 New Yorkers (58.4 percent of relief recipients) from welfare to work, curbed or abolished 23 taxes, sliced the tax burden by $8 billion or 18.9 percent of personal income, halted racial and gender quotas in contracting, delivered 25,637 children from foster care to adoption, privatized some 23,000 apartments from bureaucratic control to individual and family ownership, and financed charter schools while fighting for vouchers. Some liberal.

Yes, America’s Mayor must comfort GOP primary voters on abortion, gays, and guns. He might do this by advocating parental consent for minors who have abortions, and opposing partial-birth abortion and subsidized embryonic stem-cell research. (Can’t drug companies fund this?) He could outline his longtime opposition to gay marriage and promise to nominate constitutionalist judges who respect the Second Amendment. If Rudy Giuliani did this, his Reaganesque approach to nearly every other issue — plus his tough leadership, counterterrorism credentials, and communications prowess — could make him irresistible in 2008

The critical response to Rudy stratospheric poll numbers is always something along the lines of, “Wait until Republicans find out about his social views”.

The problem with this tired argument is that polling does not back this view up. In fact, it debunks it completely.

John McCain’s own pollster Charlie Cook polled for this very question. They found when they informed those Republicans polled about Rudy’s social views his approval rating still held at about 60%.

“Big Mo” is Rudy’s for right now.

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Is Rudy v. McCain already a two-man race?

One of the most interesting things about primary fights between two or more heavyweights is that they tend to suck all the oxygen out of the race. This is true, as near as I can tell, because the media likes the "battle of the titans" storyline, and thus all the media attention goes to the heavyweights, and the result is that the middleweights are squeezed out, even when a few of the middleweights are highly credible candidates. And this dynamic remains true even when none of the heavyweights are as ideologically pure as the party's primary voters would prefer. As such, considering we just witnessed basically a race between Rudy and McCain to see who'd be first to file, it's fair to say that the battle of the heavyweights is underway, with the middleweight squeeze out about to begin.

This race reminds me a lot of the fight for the GOP nod in 1988. That year, the race was basically one between the formerly pro-choice Republican vice president with northeastern roots who had been loyal to president and party, and a western senator who had opposed the president during his fight for the nomination eight years back and had spent the past few years criticizing the president from the Senate. Sen. Dole, of course, was technically the better "conservative" of the two. He had always been pro-life and had represented the interests of what we would now call a "red" state for quite some time. Vice President Bush, with his New England demeanor and socially liberal past, should've been easily bested by a conservative from Middle America amongst Republican primary voters. At least that's what the 1988 iterations of Chuck Todd and Charlie Cook would've said (and probably did).

But, aside from an early victory in Iowa, Sen. Dole lost the nod to the vice president. Trustworthiness trumped position papers; a collective gut check defeated an appeal for an accounting by the issues. Republicans liked and trusted Vice President Bush in 1988. The same could not be said for Sen. Dole. Rudy and McCain observers should ask themselves which of the two 1988 heavyweights each 2008 superstar is analogous to before jumping to conclusions based on conventional wisdom.

But wait, there's more. Why were conservatives limited to a choice between these two imperfect candidates in 1988? Weren't there others who should've easily trumped one candidate who was ideologically impure and another who was untrustworthy? The answer is "yes, but..." Yes, there were lots of other more conservative candidates in the race. Jack Kemp was viewed by many to be the true ideological heir to President Reagan. Pete DuPont was an interesting governor from Delaware. And Pat Robertson was the favorite of social conservatives in the race. Yet none of these individuals made it past New Hampshire. They were the middleweights squeezed out in a battle of the titans.

In a post-NH presidential field, two's a crowd. How a Romney or a Huckabee survives given the money and media attention that will be focused on these two heavyweights is something that I cannot envision.

It's Rudy v. McCain for most primary voters in 2008.

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The American Spectator on Rudy

Phillip Klein of the American Spectator pens a piece on Rudy's potential candidacy. Calling the mission "difficult, not impossible," he suggests ways to wade through the thicket of a Republican primary:

The first step will be to emphasize his positions on economic issues, in which both his rhetoric and his record put him within the mainstream of conservative opinion. As mayor, he cut taxes, restrained spending, reduced welfare rolls and was a staunch advocate of school vouchers.

The next step will be for Giuliani to explain his positions on issues on which he has been at odds with the conservative base. By promising to appoint judges in the mold of Scalia and Thomas, he can win over some voters who may be hesitant to vote for him because of his pro-choice views. On gay rights, he can reiterate that he supports civil unions rather than full marriage rights, and that he opposes the Federal Marriage Amendment because he thinks the issue should be left up to the states. On immigration, he can conjure up his reputation as a crime-fighting mayor to argue that he would be tough on border security, while still emphasizing comprehensive reform. The issue that will be hardest for Giuliani to overcome is his support for banning assault weapons. But that leads to another reason why the 2008 primary season is unique. With just over a year to go before the first votes are cast, there still isn't a viable candidate who is the clear choice of conservatives.

While Giuliani may be perceived as too liberal on immigration, both John McCain and Mitt Romney have supported some type of path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. It's hard to see why McCain or Romney would be any more acceptable to conservative voters who are passionate about the immigration issue.

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Rudy is 2008's Electoral Titan

I just can't stop playing with the SurveyUSA 50 state poll that was released on Monday. It's really addictive for anyone who is obsessed with presidential elections.

For those that are unfamiliar, SurveyUSA released the results of the first 50 state 2008 poll. By a 50 state poll, I mean that all 50 states were surveyed individually and for almost all of the GOP and Dem field. For example, you can select Hillary vs. Newt and see the results of the matchup in all 50 states. It's really groundbreaking.

Of course, the insight we gain from this poll is somewhat limited at this point due to problems with name ID. So we really only get a true picture of the potential matchups at this point for those candidates with nearly universal name ID. I would include McCain, Giuliani, Clinton, Kerry, Edwards, Gore, Gingrich, and Rice in this group.

Without running afoul of the SurveyUSA people by divulging specific numbers, there are several things that stand out; but you will have to trust me when I say the news couldn't be better for Rudy fans. I really wish I could tell you just how much Rudy dominates the field.

First of all, it can be stated plainly that Giuliani and McCain are the GOP's "silver bullets" for 2008, besting every Dem challenger in the field. But perhaps to the surprise of professional pundits, McCain's support appears to be softer than Rudy's and more regionally dispersed.

Essentially McCain's base of power is of course in the Sunbelt and the upper Midwest. The level of support McCain garners in MN, MI, WI, IA, ND, and SD really is worth noting as it holds against nearly every challenger.

I say nearly, because the Dem who takes these states from McCain, as well as several Southern states, is John Edwards. To me this further illustrates that a Democrat with appeal to independents and conservative Democrats would pose a very serious challenge to McCain. These voters are not going to pull the lever when push comes to shove for a John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, or Al Gore (I would throw Obama in here too, but that is a discussion for another time). However, they more than likely will vote with the Democrats if they are given a choice that they perceive as more "moderate" or populist like Edwards or Evan Bayh. If McCain doesn't walk away with the Independent vote, he may not be able to overcome his soft support among conservatives. I have heard conservative pundits bemoan that McCain's electoral prowess is greatly exaggerated, but until now I have never seen any empirical evidence of it.

Rudy's support in the Upper Midwest holds strong no matter who you pair him against. He is every bit as strong as McCain in the region without having to worry about who his Dem challenger will be.

What makes Giuliani appear to be more formidable than McCain at this point is that Rudy appears to be able to win all of the independent and conservative dems that McCain attracts while keeping conservatives in the fold. The Giuliani vs. Edwards matchup in this poll isn't even close. If I could tell you the outcome of the McCain vs. Edwards poll your jaws would drop.

Regarding Hillary, we can see that she is a Dem that will finally win some southern states, as she will most likely win her adopted home state of Arkansas and has a better than 50/50 chance to take Missouri with it. Hillary is also very strong in Florida, which comes as no surprise with it's thousands of New York transplants. Only Rudy bests Hillary there currently.

It is important for Republicans to consider that the electoral combination that Dubya won with in 2000 & 2004 (sweep the South, Sunbelt, and Mountain West; lose everything else) may not be possible against Hillary in 2008. It is very easy to see how Hillary could win every state that Kerry won plus AR, MO, & FL which would bring her to 295 in the Electoral College. New Mexico would be another state prime to drop for Hillary (against the right candidate) which would bring her to 300. How would a candidate without a regional base like Mitt Romney fair in this scenario?

Speaking of regional bases, it's worth mentioning the potential "Battle for New York", which would really be fought on 1-3 fronts depending upon the GOP candidate.

Nominating McCain makes the "Battle of New York" a one front battle, and not in the GOP's favor. Hillary of course will win NY, but the Florida contest would likely turn into a replay of 2000 where the outcome was decided in court. The impact of thousands of New York transplants that will vote for Hillary makes this a battle in which she would have to be favored to win at this point.

Nominating Rudy makes the "Battle for New York" a three front war in the GOP's favor. Rudy and Hillary are essentially tied in NY at this point. However, Rudy flips NJ and keeps Florida red. The impact of the Democrat Party being forced to dump millions into two of the most expensive media markets in the nation cannot be underestimated.

We are still a long ways off, but this very unique poll has given us some clues as to how 2008 will play out.

The one conclusion we can draw is that Rudy is the one electoral titan of the 2008 field in any party.

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This is my traffic chart over the last two days:

The only times it's ever looked like this is when a big blog links to me. These are people Googling for Rudy's exploratory committee. (It's not online yet, but here's his PAC.) In addition to the five-fold increase in traffic, a full third of those who've signed up for e-mail updates from this blog have signed up in the last three days. The inbox is filling up with offers to help in early primary states.

Clearly, this announcement has awakened something big. The "people power" that optimists like me could only speculate about in the event of a Rudy candidacy has finally materialized. You see it in the blog reactions from the right, which are strongly positive, in contrast to the ho-hum reaction to the other big announcement last week. If a response like this is any indication, the excitement Rudy's candidacy will generate will trump the inside baseball observers have focused on so intently these past few months.

Another interesting note. People do Google for Rudy's positions on some of the key hot-button social issues. And when they identify a side of the issue, they correctly guess Rudy's position in their search terms. Which means people are educated about where Rudy stands. It makes the threat of suddenly "exposing" those positions little more than a Beltway fantasy cooked up by the same folks who brought you last Tuesday's defeat.

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Monday, November 13, 2006

Rudy Was First

Savoring the news and reading the blogs. The tone is positively celebratory out there, something that wasn't the case on Friday.

One slight correction to my earlier note. I said Rudy entered the race after McCain. That's not technically true. The papers were filed in New York on Friday (for a brief rundown of filing with the state vs. filing with the FEC, read Cillizza). While McCain leaked to the media on Friday he would form an exploratory committee, the papers are due to be filed this week. So Rudy was first.

Here are two statements collected by the Hotline, the first by unnamed Rudy associates Tony Carbonetti:

Rudy has traveled the country campaigning tirelessly on behalf of Republican candidates and has had the opportunity to speak with Americans on a wide variety of issues. They have been encouraging him to run for President, and this filing affords him the opportunity to raise money and put together an organization to assist him in making his decision.

And from John Gross, his PAC treasurer:

Mayor Giuliani has not made a decision yet. With the filing of this document, we have taken the necessary legal steps so an organization can be put in place and money can be raised to explore a possible presidential run in 2008.

I don't want to say this is a done deal, but filing for an exploratory committee is as close as it gets to the real thing. Those who test the waters but never run (Warner, Feingold) never go through the step of setting up exploratory committees.

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Breaking: Rudy Giuliani Sets Up Presidential Exploratory Committee


WASHINGTON (AP) -- Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, a moderate Republican best known for his stewardship of the city after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, has taken the first step in a 2008 presidential bid, GOP officials said Monday.

The former mayor filed papers to create the Rudy Giuliani Presidential Exploratory Committee, Inc., creating a panel that would allow him to raise money for a White House run and travel the country.

The four-page filing, obtained by The Associated Press, lists the purpose of the non-profit corporation "to conduct federal 'testing the waters' activity under the Federal Election Campaign Act for Rudy Giuliani."

Giuliani was widely praised for leading the city during and after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. He has said for months that he would wait until the end of the 2006 elections to decide whether to embark on a White House bid.

This is huge news. Being out of the gate right with McCain shows just how serious they are.

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Rudy 354, Hillary 184

That's the electoral vote matchup over at SurveyUSA's awesome new 50 state head-to-head poll. That's slightly more electable than McCain's 351-187 over McCain, as reported by RedState's Mason Conservative (you only get to see one matchup per user).

Anyone wanting to look up the EV totals of Rudy, McCain, Romney vs. other frontrunning Democrats (Obama, Edwards, etc.) and report them in the comments, it would be greatly appreciated.

Now, read DaveG's terrific post below.

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Sunday, November 12, 2006

The GOP needs Rudy NOW! (more than ever)

Last Tuesday's election results paint a dire national picture for Republicans. The broad American north, which once voted for Republicans like Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and that just a decade ago sported scores of mainstream Republican governors and senators, has completed its Bush era transformation from red to blue. The land that gave birth to the party of Lincoln is now the land of Schumer and Emanuel. The industrial north and upper midwest have joined with the northeast to create a massive Blue Bloc that will rival the sunbelt in electoral power for years to come and that Republicans simply must break wide open to have any shot at taking back Congress or holding the White House in '08.

The composition of the Blue Bloc

The Bloc consists of 18 states in the northeast, industrial north, mid-Atlantic region, and Great Lakes area. As a bloc, these states moved disproportionately toward the Democrats in 2006, giving the Dems large majorities at every level of government and singlehandedly ending 12 years of GOP rule in the House.

These states include: MN, IA, WI, IL, IN, OH, MI, PA, NJ, MD, DE, NY, CT, RI, VT, MA, NH, and ME.

Number of Blue Bloc states: 18

Number of electoral votes: 210

House breakdown: 52% Democrat pre-2006; 63% Democrat post-2006

Senate breakdown: 67% Democrat pre-2006; 75% Democrat post-2006

Gubernatorial breakdown: 50% Democrat pre-2006; 72% Democrat post-2006

In 2006, the Blue Bloc went from being the nation's largest swing region to, well, blue. The GOP must pierce the bloc to regain power.

Rudy could break the Blue Bloc

Enter Rudy Giuliani, the GOP's best shot at breaking the Blue Bloc in 2008.

1. Rudy’s a New Yorker. Before Tuesday, this was a liability in a country where all the electoral clout appeared to be in Red America. Now, this is a tremendous benefit. Rudy already speaks the language of northern and northeastern voters; he doesn’t have to take a crash course on the subject the way most other 2008 GOP contenders would. Advantage: Rudy.

2. Rudy’s a fiscal conservative. This is important in the north and northeast. We know this because we know what types of Republican governors win in this region. GOP executives like John Engler, Tommy Thompson, and the recently re-elected Tim Pawlenty are nothing if not fiscally prudent. And New Hampshire, long the “West Berlin” of New England, just threw out 2 of 2 Republican congressmen for being complicit in the fiscal insanity that is the Washington GOP establishment. Rudy has a long history of balancing the books by streamlining government and not raising taxes. In other words, he’s the kind of Republican who can win the Blue Bloc.

3. Rudy’s a party builder. While John McCain was flying from state to state building his ’08 organization this year, Rudy was stumping for GOP candidates. Both Rudy and McCain have the crossover appeal to compete for those Americans who pulled the Democratic lever this fall, but only Rudy can do it as a quarterback, leading his team to victory, not just himself.

4. Rudy’s the true Goldwater/Reagan Republican in the race. Ronald Reagan won 49 states in 1984, including every Blue Bloc state save Minnesota. While John McCain is garnering this label from many pundits, there’s only one Republican who really deserves the mantle of Reagan, and that’s Rudy. How soon we forget that McCain favored keeping taxes at Clinton levels while Rudy cut taxes in NYC. Or that Rudy actually led the effort to reform entitlements in New York while McCain, as a senator, has only bloviated. Or that only Rudy has touted Scalia as his ideal Chief Justice; Scalia, of course, a Reagan appointee. And while McCain attempts to ensure that terrorists have ACLU attorneys at their side, Rudy is focusing on winning the war on terror, whatever it takes. There was only one Goldwater. And one Reagan. But if they have an heir in this race, it’s Rudy.

Ultimately, Rudy Giuliani is the GOP’s best bet at preventing the Blue Bloc from becoming Blue America.

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Vote Rudy

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Frontrunner Misidentification Syndrome

Eric Rodawig thinks the media has it:

Most of the liberal pundit-ocracy says Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is the favorite for the 2008 nomination, and that Rudy’s positions on social issues will prevent him from getting past a primary. But those people are wrong.

Giuliani consistently beats out McCain in polls of favorability, name recognition and potential voting in 2008. He almost always finishes number one or two in not only mainstream polls, but also, more importantly for the primary, in polls on conservative Web sites where Newt Gingrich and Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) are near the top. The base may disagree with some of Giuliani’s social positions, but they do like him as a person and a leader — something that cannot be said about McCain.

Two factors will turn Giuliani’s social stances into a non-issue. Giuliani isn’t a senator with a long history of established, controversial votes (but who is?); his stances are largely artifacts leftover from his days as a pragmatic mayor of a very liberal city. In a Republican primary, it will be very easy for Giuliani to move back to the center-right on social issues. Also, Giuliani has proven that he is truly a fiscal conservative, something that has become a rarity in either party.

The second issue is simpler: The 2008 election is not going to be about social issues; it’s going to be about how the United States is going to handle the continued threats from violent Islamic fundamentalists. Ever since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Giuliani has proven his courage and strength in times of crisis and that he understands what is at stake for the world.

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Saturday, November 11, 2006

Giuliani Will Help '06ers Retire Campaign Debt

Embedded within this NYT Hillary write-up are murmurs of activity in the Rudy camp post-election. It looks like Rudy will help Republican candidates retire their campaign debt from 2006:

At least one of Senator Clinton’s possible rivals in 2008, should she win the Democratic nomination, is already taking steps in that direction. Former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, who campaigned for more than 35 candidates this year, is looking into the campaign debts of Republicans and expects to help some candidates retire debt, according to his spokeswoman, Sunny Mindel.

Mr. Giuliani is also making his first postelection foray to a presidential swing state, Pennsylvania, on Sunday, where he will give a speech on leadership, hold a brief news conference, and dine privately with a group of young entrepreneurs, according to organizers of the event at Wilkes University.

Advisers to Mr. Giuliani said they did not expect him to announce a candidacy for the presidency during the visit, noting that it had been on his schedule for many weeks.

This seems like a pretty smart move, and unlike some, he seems to be avoiding the temptation to dance on the graves of his fellow Republicans. While others trumpet win-loss ratios, I think it's to the Mayor's credit that he stood strong for Republicans in particularly difficult races -- when the going gets tough, he's there. Should the Mayor make a strong play for the votes of social conservatives, Rick Santorum and Ralph Reed would be strong additions to the team.

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Friday, November 10, 2006

McCain to Launch Exploratory Committee

Usually, my McCain headlines are filled with derision, but my hat's off to this one on this one. The McCain for President exploratory committee will be opening its doors as early as next week. These people clearly don't mess around around.

It's clear that organization matters, with this important caveat: voters need to want to buy what you're selling. We saw on Tuesday that even the best salesforce couldn't sell the Edsel that had become the Beltway Republican establishment. Time will tell whether the multi-talented team Weaver & Co. have put together will be able to sell McCain to the base.

Now that the midterms are over, with the best Republican talent looking for a star to hitch their wagon to, I hope Rudy follows suit soon.

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Giuliani Cleans Up in AOL Poll

275,000 respondents.

Who would have the best chance in 2008?

Rudy Giuliani 39%
John McCain 31%
Condoleezza Rice 9%
Other 8%
Jeb Bush 5%
Mitt Romney 3%
Newt Gingrich 3%
Bill Frist 1%
Chuck Hagel 1%
Mike Huckabee 0%
Duncan Hunter 0%

Total Votes: 275,231

Who would you be most likely to vote for?

Rudy Giuliani 39%
John McCain 24%
Other 12%
Condoleezza Rice 10%
Jeb Bush 5%
Newt Gingrich 4%
Mitt Romney 3%
Chuck Hagel 1%
Bill Frist 1%
Mike Huckabee 1%
Duncan Hunter 0%

Total Votes: 274,865

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McCain Now in a Weaker Position for '08?

That's what McCain-booster (and generally smart guy) LJ says in the comments in R4'08, now that Democrats have gained control of the Senate:

Here’s my theory: With the Senate in Democratic control, McCain loses the vaunted Armed Services Committee that he’s been pining over for more than a decade (he’ll become the ranking member now). He and his advisers had hoped that with that committee he could make a high profile impact on our Iraq policy (presumably working to end the conflict or at the very least stabilize it more). That would neutralize any potential attack on him in the general that he is an uber-hawk that has not offered any plan to end the war besides sending more troops (which will be much more untenable in 2008 then it is right now). Now he will have even less effect of military policy then he did during the 109th Congress.

Most importantly though, the Dems control what bills will get voted on. If McCain continues to look very strong heading into mid-late 2007, it’s very conceivable that Harry Reid will force McCain to vote on bills like, say, more ethanol subsidies. If McCain votes against it, he stands on his principals but it will severely damage him in Iowa. If he votes for them, the Dems have a ready made ad calling him a flip-flopper. Now image that happening on dozens of bills. This is the main reason that senators have such a hard time getting elected to the White House. If the Senate had remained in GOP hands, this wouldn’t be a problem at all.

Of course there is a chance that the Dems won’t take this course of action, but I am not hopeful of that luck. Because of that, I think that Rudy Giuliani is in a better position for 2008 now (as much as that pains me).

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

First '08 Power Play: Anti-Anuzis Coup Underway in MI

The ink is barely dry from last night's dismal election returns and the expected move to oust Saul Anuzis, the very effective chair of the Michigan Republican Party, is already underway. Anuzis confirmed as much in an email today to Michigan GOP loyalists. His expected challenger: Dave Dishaw, a McCain partisan put up by Chuck Yob. From Anuzis's email:

I have decided to run for Chairman again.

To be perfectly honest with you, I was not planning on jumping into this so quickly, but the stories that were brought up in the press last week appear to be more real than not. There is a campaign underway to “find” a new Chairman. Just for your information, they are planning to have Dave Dishaw replace me.

Presidential politics is coming into play, along with personal agendas here that have nothing to do with electing Republicans. And some people are already maneuvering for who should be our next Governor nominee. ...

As we go through the Presidential process, I believe it’s critical to have someone who is neutral and can help hold the party together. I have been clear to everyone that I intend to stay neutral and that it would be beneficial to have a State Chairman who could help keep the party together during the upcoming Presidential campaigns.

I wasn’t prepared to get a campaign together before all the votes are counted, but I think all of you know my background and what I have done as Chairman. So I’m throwing out this quicky email.

The Hotline is also reporting on this, and say that the move has been approved by McCain's high command. The charge against Anuzis? That he has a relationship with Sterling Communications, which does business with Mitt Romney. But Anuzis's very voluminous public writings, including a daily newsletter posted on RedState, betray no signs of bias. He has called John McCain "the closest thing we have to a rock star." (Ugh.) Even some McCain supporters are scratching their heads at this boneheaded move.

There will be some effort to blame Anuzis for the losses in the Senate and Governor's races as a pretense for ousting him. In case you hadn't noticed, Republicans recorded no pickups anywhere at the Congressional level on up, and DeVos and Bouchard weren't particularly appealing candidates. Mike McGavick got crushed by a similar margin in Washington, despite being a better candidate than Bouchard. Though Republicans didn't win, Karl Rove himself went out of his way to praise the Michigan 72 Hour plan in the final days of the campaign.

This naked power play is going to backfire massively. McCain is depending on his image as a "reformer" to carry the day against the Republican tsunami, but "reformers" don't secretly plot to hijack state parties by replacing effective leaders with their own lackeys.

This needs to be exposed for what it is. Though we have no idea what he thinks of my candidate, I strongly support Saul Anuzis.

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Rudy Commits to Q1 '07 Decision, In Strong Position for '08

Last night, Mayor Giuliani was interviewed on Hugh Hewitt's election special. It looks like the decision on a run for the Presidency will most likely come next year... early next year.

HH: And when do you think you have to make a decision by?

RG: Next year, and probably the early part.

HH: The first quarter? Maybe January?

RG: Well, at least take some real serious steps toward it. I mean, I don't know exactly the process you follow, but I think just from what I can see now, that might change. But it seems to me that you've got to be prepared to start putting an organization together by the beginning of the year.

Let's see if the reporter class notices this. I'm assuming it's full speed ahead. (He's also asked about the Mehlman rumors.)

In his post-mortem on the election, Hewitt also says Rudy Giuliani is left in a stronger position because of last night's election results, with McCain the loser:
Hillary's path back to the White House is much more difficult with her party in the majority in the House, and much much more difficult if the Senate falls to Harry Reid's command as well. Clarity as to her party's fecklessness will be back within the first six months, and the GOP frontrunners --Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney-- do not have to serve in the almost certain to be paralyzed Senate.

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Take Back the Majority. Rudy Giuliani for President

Yes, we got killed tonight. And we now have a big hole to dig ourselves out of.

Where do we go from here?

First off, we know that our principles didn't lose tonight. The new House and Senate Democrats came from Bush districts, and parroted conservative ideas at every opportunity. The solutions the public demanded -- from border security, to fiscal discipline, and to desperately wanting to win in Iraq vs. cutting and running -- were fundamentally conservative ideas.

At some point, the Republican majority became but feckless defenders of an agenda the American people support, craving their next re-election at the expense of advancing these principles. Let this election be a lesson for Republicans for generations to come.

The answer to this crisis is principled, unapologetic, and fearless leadership.

And there's one man -- and only one man -- who is poised to deliver that leadership.

Rudy Giuliani.

And it's more than about poll numbers and electability. It was arguments about polls that caused Republicans to abandon their principles on important issues like Social Security and to pursue reckless spending to secure their own re-election. The reasons for Rudy are more basic and more fundamental than mere poll numbers.

Simply put, there is no one in politics more adept at both executing and communicating on matters of serious principle than Rudy Giuliani. As Mayor, he made bold promises and delivered -- cutting crime and welfare every single year he was mayor. There was no "mid-course correction" or cooling his jets in one area buy some leeway in another. It was a full-bore offensive from the day he got there to the day he left. And he put the liberal establishment in its place where it was strongest, driving them bananas. Before BusHitler, there was RudyHitler. Before BDS, there was RDS.

When his poll numbers went down, he didn't care. (This is a virtue he shares with our current President.) And when a defining moment came, he had this incredible internal reserve that enabled him to turn around a struggling mayoralty into one of the great leadership stories of our time.

Rudy Giuliani's leadership is the kind forged in steel. It doesn't bend or twist with the wind when an adviser brings in a bad poll saying he needs to hike spending to stay in power or blanch at an all-out blood, sweat, toil and tears defense of the war we are currently engaged in.

We need a leader who can execute and follow through on what we were elected to do: cut spending, cut taxes, secure the border, win the war.

We need a leader who isn't afraid to stick it to our opponents and be a strong leader of his party as well as his country. When Bush took the fight directly to the Democrats, he won. But inexplicably, his efforts on this front this year were only halting.

We need a leader who can break the mold, who is a fresh face, and who hasn't "gone Washington." In the words of the best Senate candidate of '06 Michael Steele, we need someone who can Change the Game.

We need a leader who unifies the Republican Party, and doesn't hurl insults at key segments of our base.

AND we need someone who can win.

One and only one leader stands out from the crowd: Rudy Giuliani.

He is also the kind of leader who makes you feel good about being a Republican at a time when the brand has taken a huge hit. This excitement extends to an astronomical 78% of South Carolina Republicans who say they personally like Rudy. I doubt all of them will vote for him, but numbers like this show he is the one leader who unifies all segments of the Party -- conservatives and moderates.

Take a look at some of the seats we lost that we should have won. Rudy is hugely popular in South Florida, where we lost FL-16 and FL-22. In Florida, I can easily imagine people flocking to the Giuliani/VP Nominee/Negron '08 ticket as a powerful straight-party combo that's capable of quickly taking back the Red State seats we lost. Ditto for a blue-collar district like IN-2 and maybe even the three seats in New York we lost when Rudy makes NY purple in '08.

Rudy has had no stake in the fights that led to the Republican collapse, so he can transcend them, and make the 2008 election about the future not the past.

With Rudy, we won't need to spend any time in the wilderness because he is the one uniquely equipped to restore the Republican Party to a politics of fearless principle. The way forward is clear.

It's Rudy time.

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Monday, November 06, 2006

McCain Among RVs, Rudy Among LVs?

After the last CNN poll, I asked Strategic Vision's David Johnson about a long-time pet theory of mine: that McCain dominates among independents and casual Republicans likely to be swayed by Name ID, and Giuliani dominates among core party activists (at least w/r/t McCain).

It turns out that there may be something to the theory:

Giuliani's lead in our polls can be attributed somewhat to the states we poll in such as Pennsylvania and New Jersey, where one would expect a strong Giuliani lead but more to the screens we use for Republican voters and the residual dislike for McCain among Republican voters from 2000. 

So the more you screen GOP voters, the better he tends to do. Even in states you might expect to lean to McCain, like Wisconsin and Washington, Rudy usually emerges with 9-10 point leads.

The race begins in earnest after tomorrow. And Rudy Giuliani begins this race in the same place he's been for months: as the frontrunner.

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Pre-Election Day Thoughts...

...and how they bear on the battle to come.

I was phone-banking for the GOP this weekend. And let me tell you that nobody who phone banks does it because a local State Senator snaps their fingers and tells them to. They do it because they believe in a cause and a leader. In 2008, any candidate who can inspire legions of followers will have the edge on the ground, with or without legions of elected officials as intermediaries. Local party organizations are actually pretty weak without inspiration and discipline from the top. Everything I've seen from the GOP ground game reinforces this thought.

And finally, how sweet will it be to see Charlie Cook (20-35 seat loss), Larry Sabato (27 seat loss), and Stu Rothenberg (30-40 seat loss) crying in their Oatmeal on Wednesday morning? The latest polls showing the GOP narrowing the gap means that could well be the case. Remember: these are the same people who say Rudy doesn't have a chance.

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Rudy Trails the Wizard of New Hampshire By 8

When John McCain won New Hampshire by 19 points, it set off a feeding frenzy like none I had ever seen. Nobody had expected a victory margin that great, over a candidate who had all the endorsements and all the organization. He won virtually every demographic group, and every region of the state. John McCain was (and is) the Wizard of New Hampshire.

So it's a bit surprising to see his lead cut to just 8, and his 49 percent from '00 turning into 26 percent in '08. It could be that his support is massively understated (if McCain can't trounce the field in New Hampshire, where can he?) or that New Hampshire truly is a wide-open race. This much is clear. If I'm wrong and McCain truly is the Republican frontrunner, he will need a decisive double-digit win in New Hampshire to prove it.

The top three candidates come in as follows: McCain 26, Rudy 18, Romney 12.

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Sunday, November 05, 2006

Rudy to GOP: Go on Offense

Two days before the midterm election, Rudy Giuliani has contributed a piece to RealClearPolitics on the need for Republicans to stay confident and on offense. Here is Rudy's winning strategy:

For the past six months, I've been traveling across the country campaigning for Republican candidates. Conventional wisdom from Washington predicts a tough year for the party. By playing offense, solidifying our ranks and reaching out to Reagan Democrats and Independents, I believe that Republicans have reason to be optimistic. Because on the big issues Americans care about - from national security to the economy to the Supreme Court - Republican leadership has delivered time and again on its promises.
On the Republican agenda for America:

When I talk to people across America, I hear their frustration with the gridlock and scandals from Washington. As a former U.S. Attorney, I spent much of my career bringing corrupt government officials from both parties to justice. Neither party has a monopoly on virtue or vice - but we do have legitimate differences in terms of our ideas and vision for the future. And those principled differences should guide Americans' decisions on Election Day.

The people I've been talking with on the campaign trail want to see government get serious about fiscal discipline by cutting wasteful spending. American families want to see a revitalized education system with accountability, putting the focus on the students, increased school choice and higher standards, so that the United States can continue to be economically competitive throughout the 21st Century. They want us to do more to secure our borders while working to ensure that the virtues of legal immigration and assimilation are respected. They want us to move more aggressively toward greater energy independence.

And, in conclusion:
That's why these mid-term elections are so important. That's why we can't turn back. That is why Republicans need to solidify our ranks while reaching out with confidence. Because the issues that unite us as Republicans are the same issues that unite the vast majority of Americans: a commitment to winning the war on terror; a core belief in fiscal conservatism; and a faith in individual freedom. Advancing these principles, while staying on offense, can help keep the GOP a strong majority party in the United States.

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Saturday, November 04, 2006

America's Campaigner

East or West, North or South, Red or Blue, it doesn't matter. Rudy is pitching in to help everywhere.

Rudy & Rick:

Rudy & Mike Bouchard:

Rudy & Jon Kyl:

Rudy & Ralph Norman (SC-5):

Rudy & John Sweeney (NY-20):

Word is that Mark Kennedy is closing with a Giuliani ad in Minnesota.

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Friday, November 03, 2006

The Assault on Saul Anuzis

Stuff like this is why I predict McCain and Romney cancel each other out.

Days before the '06 election, McCain supporters in Michigan are already devising a Machiavellian plot to oust to Michigan GOP Chairman Saul Anuzis, whom, it is alleged, is getting too cozy with the Romney folks. The move is led by RNC committeeman Chuck Yob, McCain's guy in the state.

Never mind the fact that Anuzis himself talked up the McCain organization (much to my annoyance!) in an interview with Chris Cillizza. In his daily blogs on RedState, he is nothing if not even-handed, promoting McCain, Romney, Giuliani, and other '08er appearance with equal enthusiasm. This isn't enough for the McCain folks it seems, who want a lackey State Chair who will keep the primary open to Democrats and independents.

But here's the thing. By any measure, Anuzis is one of the best, if not the best, GOP state chairmen in the country, and important people in the party and the new media know it. He has gained quite a following on RedState and maintains an entertaining blog of his own. He is a big reason why Dick DeVos and Mike Bouchard (who are somewhat dry candidates) are within single digits when Republican challengers are getting massacred everywhere else. His funny and clever attacks have kicked the Democrats back on their heels. (What other state party chair would think of planting a job loss clock in front of a Granholm fundraiser at Vernon Jordan's D.C. mansion?) If the McCainites try and kick out Anuzis, they will have a conservative blogosphere filled with Anuzis fans to contend with. I promise you, it will be a big and messy fight.

Don't think this heavy-handedness is going unnoticed. At the Memphis SRLC, they preached "Focus on '06" but have done anything but, going on the offense against Senator Jim DeMint and now Anuzis at the height of the 2006 campaign season, making just 2 contributions to Congressional campaigns in September while maxing out to IA and NH candidates, and publicly throwing Republicans under the bus, implying we "deserve" to lose power.

For all their organizational prowess, it is noteworthy that McCainites have failed to capture top leadership roles in state parties. In South Carolina, Katon Dawson defeated Cyndi Mosteller (the woman who was recently caught trafficking in anti-Mormon slurs) for the state chairmanship. McCain's 50 New Hampshire endorsements came from the left-wing of the state legislative GOP, with just 7 endorsees who vote with the Republican platform more than 50% of the time, and there's word that much the same is true of his Iowa supporters. This plot in Michigan is a recognition that Anuzis is too much of an honest broker for their tastes.

I don't care whether you're a Rudy supporter, a Romney supporter, or even a McCain supporter. Anuzis has been a terrific chairman who has introduced state-of-the-art campaigning to the Michigan GOP. We need more like him. We need to keep him on as chairman.

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VIDEO: Rudy in South Carolina

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Around the World with Rudy

You name it, Rudy's been there in this last week of Election 2006, including stops for Jim Talent in Missouri and Rick Santorum in Pennsylvania.

The last week will also see stops to Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. Rudy was in South Carolina yesterday and picked up at least one voter:

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani kept getting asked the same question while making voter turnout calls at the South Carolina Republican Party's headquarters Thursday night.

"You running for president?"

At GOP headquarters, Giuliani surprised Betty Sturkie with a call.

"Straight ticket?" Giuliani asked Sturkie. "Couldn't be any better, Betty. ... But I'm not running right now. Maybe I'll call you back in two years," Giuliani said before hanging up.

"Well, I guess if I run, I'll have one vote. She said she'd vote for me. Write this name down," Giuliani told GOP staffers.

Earlier at a mill loading dock beside stacks of bagged flour, Giuliani told a crowd of about 100 he's not making up his mind whether to run for president until 2007. "There's a chance, but that's after this election is over," he said.

This morning, Rudy's in New Hampshire for a sold-out event with pro-gun, anti-tax activists. Here's how VictoryNH's Harry Levine describes it:

"After the response to our initial announcement, we expected strong turn out, but New Hampshire is so accustomed to national political figures paying us a visit, that you usually end up selling tickets at the door," said Harry Levine, co-founder of Victory NH, "but when America's Mayor comes to town to help protect America's Primary, the people of New Hampshire know this is one event they don't want to miss."

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Thursday, November 02, 2006

Poll Watch - Strategic Vision Florida & Michigan

Rudy nears 50% in Florida, while Michigan remains one of the few states where McCain leads Rudy.

Strategic Vision Florida, Oct. 29th-31st, 2006

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

Rudy Giuliani 47%
John McCain 25%
Mitt Romney 9%
Newt Gingrich 5%
Bill Frist 1% George
Allen 1%
George Pataki 1%
Rick Santorum 1%
Chuck Hagel 1%
Undecided 9%

Strategic Vision Michigan, Oct. 29th-31st, 2006

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

John McCain 37%
Rudy Giuliani 24%
Mitt Romney 16%
Newt Gingrich 5%
Bill Frist 1%
George Allen 1%
George Pataki 1%
Rick Santorum 1%
Chuck Hagel 1%
Undecided 13%

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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

CNN: Giuliani 29, McCain 27 for the Nomination

It's close, but I'll take it:

On the Republican side, there is a virtual tie for first place, with 29 percent of registered GOPers expressing preference for Giuliani and 27 percent opting for McCain.

McCain has picked up 6 points of support since September, with Giuliani holding steady.

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich of Georgia is the only other Republican to make it into double digits, with 12 percent.

Sen. George Allen of Virginia, who is embroiled in a tough re-election fight, was at 7 percent last month, but pulls just 2 percent now.

The telephone poll of 873 registered voters -- 472 people who identified themselves as Democrats or leaning Democrat and 401 who identified themselves as Republican or leaning Republican -- was carried out last Friday through Sunday for CNN by Opinion Research Corp.

I have real problems with how this poll scoops up ALL registered Republicans when maybe a third of them will vote in a primary. As we have seen, this race stratifies heavily on likelihood to vote in primaries, to the benefit of Messrs. Gingrich and Romney and to the detriment of Mr. McCain (with it being a wash for Rudy). CNN did not release data for likely voters (by its 2006 not 2008 definition).

I won't veer into sour grapes territory because I know this is essentially unavoidable at this point, unless you want sample sizes of 150 (like the Boston Globe did the other day). Every pollster has the same problem to some extent.

Broad brush national numbers have tended to show McCain within striking distance (but still behind). I wonder how this jibes with Strategic Vision, which in the non-2000 McCain victory states shows a Rudy lead anywhere in the neighborhood of 10 to 20. And SV has tended to produce polling at the state level that's in line with most independent polling (on Santorum vs. Casey or Kean vs. Menendez).

Could it be the same dynamic at play where national numbers show a huge Democratic/liberal lean but when you go district by district things look somewhat better?

We'll see how things start shaking out in a week.

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Rudy: I'd Pick Scalia as Chief Justice

My eyes about jumped out when I saw this. Yes, this man is running for President.

From the Solutions America email newsletter:

While in Ohio, Rudy called into the Bill Cunningham radio show. Speaking about the Supreme Court, Rudy said: "Justices Roberts and Alito were both colleagues of mine [in the Reagan Justice Department] - people I worked with and I admire tremendously. I thought that they were inspired choices that the President made - inspired in many ways, because they also were people who had a strong conservative background and strict constructionists." He added, "Justice Scalia was also a colleague of mine...and he probably would have been my choice for Chief Justice."
As you can see, Rudy went even further than in the answer teased out by The Bij last August. He's not just for "strict constructionists" but for a "strong conservative background." And instead of nominating a solid Rehnquist-like conservative like John Roberts for Chief, he would have gone further and picked Antonin Scalia.

What's more, Rudy's commitment to a conservative judiciary is genuine. He is the only Presidential candidate to have been intimately involved with the judicial system and who worked directly with the most solid Supreme Court Justices we have.

On judges, Rudy can be trusted, absolutely and completely. He won't pick Souters who will legislate from the bench or trample on our First Amendment or Second Amendment rights.

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Poll Watch - Strategic Vision Pennsylvania & Georgia

Strategic Vision has really stepped up their polling lately in anticipation of next Tuesday. Here again we see Rudy leading the field, including yet another strong showing in a southern state.

Strategic Vision Georgia, Oct. 28th-30th, 2006

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

Rudy Giuliani 32%
John McCain 23%
Newt Gingrich 15%
Mitt Romney 6%
Bill Frist 2%
George Allen 1%
Rick Santorum 1%
George Pataki 1%
Chuck Hagel 1%
Undecided 18%

Strategic Vision Pennsylvania, Oct. 28th-30th, 2006

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

Rudy Giuliani 48%
John McCain 22%
Newt Gingrich 9%
Mitt Romney 5%
Bill Frist 1%
George Allen 1%
Rick Santorum 1%
George Pataki 1%
Chuck Hagel 1%
Undecided 11%

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