If you were going to quit your governorship in mid-stream, and you were a winger, who would you call? If you're Sarah Palin, add Rudy Giuliani (hopefully he didn't propose to her too much... or drool into the phone about how much she reminds him of his cousin...) Dick Cheney (who apparently discussed the ogre-like family's possible vacation trip to Alaska, during which 'm sure Sarah and her kin will keep their whale guns at the ready...) [sidebar: Jesus, Republicans are creepy!] ... and Florida's very own Charlie Crist to the list. Reports ABC News:
Palin's phone calls are shown on her official schedule for May 2009, obtained by Alaskan Andree McLeod through an open-records request with the state and shared with ABC News. McLeod has filed numerous open-records requests for Palin-related documents, as well as four ethics complaints against the governor and her aides.
"GOV: Telephone Call Into Governor Crist," reads a May 4 entry in Palin's schedule. A spokeswoman for Crist said she did not know who had initiated contact, or what the subject of conversation was to have been, but the two did not speak. "It was a courtesy call. They know each other, both being governors," said Crist spokeswoman Erin Isaac.
Crist may have had his own reasons to chat with Palin: to promote his candidacy for U.S. Senate, which Crist launched one week after Palin's phone call. Nine days later, Crist announced an endorsement by Sen. John McCain, Palin's 2008 GOP ticket-topper.
So will the Barricuda endorse the tan guy in Tallahassee over the RedState base's choice, Marco Rubio, or will she "go rogue" again and oppose McCain's choice and add fresh drama to the Florida GOP Senate primary? (Hell, at least their party HAS primary drama ...) The plot thickens...
He'll nip it in the bud, he will! Then again, maybe gay marriage will give Rudy a little nip!
Meanwhile, Rudy's anti-gay marriage stance, as he preps for a run for governor (perhaps against Andrew Cuomo after Cuomo smacks down Guv Patterson in a primary???) hasn't stopped his gay former roommates from looking forward to tying the knot:
While Rudy Giuliani is waging war on gay marriage, his pals Howard Koeppel and Mark Hsaio are planning to go to Connecticut next month to tie the knot.
They see no contradiction in the ex-mayor's opposition to gay marriage and the fact he roomed with them for six months in 2001.
"Rudy doesn't discriminate. I should know. I lived with him for six months," Koeppel, 68, a car dealer, said yesterday outside his West Side apartment.
Koeppel, a Republican, said he believes that Giuliani's opposition to gay marriage stems from his religious and political beliefs, not his personal ones.
"He isn't an advocate for gay marriage because of his religious beliefs," he said of Giuliani, who has supported abortion rights. "He is a traditional Catholic. Those teachings say marriage should be between a man and a woman."
Koeppel said Giuliani told him that if gay marriage ever became legal in New York, "he would marry us himself."
That last bit won't look good on a Giuliani campaign poster ... nor will the part about Rudy living with them because he had committed the sins of adultery and divorce. But on a more important note, will Rudy get an invite to the wedding, and will he wear blushing pink or bridal white???
The economy shrank at a 3.8 percent pace at the end of 2008, the worst showing in a quarter-century, as the deepening recession forced consumers and businesses to throttle back spending.
Although the initial result was better than economists expected, the figure is likely to be revised even lower in the months ahead and some believe the economy is contracting in the current quarter at an even faster pace.
The new figure, released Friday by the Commerce Department, showed the economy sinking at a much faster clip in the October-December period than the 0.5 percent decline logged in prior quarter.
Although economists expected an even worse fourth-quarter performance — a staggering 5.4 percent rate of decline — the results were still grim.
Meanwhile, things weren't as bad for some people as for others. Those who did better than the rest of us include...
Bank executives, who handed out about $18 billion in bonuses to themselves, as a reward for screwing up the mortgage market... (President Obama scolded them roundly for it today.)
Exxon Mobile, which posted earth shattering, record profits of $45.2 billion, due to Bushian sky-high oil prices through most of last year. And get this: those profits were DOWN 33%...
And last, and actually, least ... Rudy Giuliani, who's still getting people to listen to him warble, on cable TV, talk radio and on and on, despite having gotten exactly ONE electoral vote during his presidential campaign, and becoming the laughing stock, not just of New York, but of the world, with his scandal-tainted, one state strategy bid for greatness.
Former New York City mayor Ed Koch on the political death of fellow former NYC mayor Rudolph "9/11" Giuliani:
Ed Koch, who has feuded with Giuliani for years, was delighted with Giuliani's crushing defeat in Florida. He crowed, before the final votes were even tallied, that he was certain the verdict by Florida's voters "will drive a stake through his heart. The beast is dead."
Ding dong, the skull is dead! Having bet it all on Florida and lost (yes, sitting out the news cycle for a month is sooooo smaht...) Rudy is dropping out of the presidential race! (Effective tomorrow, somewhere in California.) The only thing that would have made this sweeter would have been for him to soldier on to Super Duper Tuesday (as if he had enough money...) and then get humiliated with a beating in New York... and New Jersey.
Total votes cast on the Democrat side 1,387,907 ... for a race that supposedly doesn't count? No dear, they WILL seat those electors. Every ... last ... one of them. By the way, 1,574,934 Republican votes have been counted on the GOP side. Huge turnout for a contest where half the delegates supposedly don't count.
With considerable help from Florida's popular guvnah, (and from his late blooming friend Sideshow Mel, plus a gaggle of South Florida's Cuban-American pols,) John McCain edged out Mitt Romney tonight. I'm not sure if that's a concession speech Rudy Giuliani is giving, but it should be. He didn't win a single county -- McCain beat him in Miami-Dade and he also lost Broward, which is nicknamed "the sixth borough" because there are so many New Yorkers living here. In fact, in Broward, this was the breakdown:
McCain - 41.1% Romney - 24.2 Rudy - 19.6
This, my friends, is called non-viability.
In Dade, the breakdown was as follows:
McCain - 48.5% Rudy - 27.7 Romney - 14.9
Those two counties, along with Palm Beach, should have been Rudy's stronghold, and he was leading in Dade when just the absentee ballots were counted (older, retired voters and early adopters who voted ahead of his Judy-gate troubles...)
If you can't win those, you can't win Florida if you're a moderate Republican on social issues, even if you're a neoconservative on Iraq (oh, wait, most Republicans are sick of that, too.)
Update: No, that wasn't a concession speech ... at least I don't think. But Rudy sure did sound like he was trying to do his best Obama, talking about how Republicans need to reach out to all ethnic groups and races, classes and walks of life. He said "races" or "ethnic groups" at least three times ... and this from a guy who refused to cross the Brooklyn bridge when he was mayor because he'd encounter too many Black people there ... and he was BORN in Brooklyn!
Anyhoo, Romney is giving his rousing "don't call it a concession" speech now. He's also doing his best Obama, saying that "we can't change America by sending the same people back to Washington to rearrange the chairs." Very Titanic-esque.
Update 2: Mike Huckabee gave another great concession speech, which ended with, "we're going on from here! If you have friends that are voting for me, tell them to come along with me, if they're not voting for me, don't let 'em out of the driveway!"
Note to Giuliani fans (all three of you) who news reports say are devastated by the defection by the Guvnah: At this stage, in order to win Florida, Rudy would have to get all of the undecided voters, PLUS take supporters away from either Romney or McCain. Theoretically, he could pull some soft Romney people who prefer a bald-headed flip-flopper to a curiously well-quaffed one. And he could sneak off with McCainiaks who like their neoconservatives to be all chicken hawk - no military experience. So there's hope then ... ahem ...
Update: Perhaps the only other hope Rudy has in Florida is the huge absentee ballot turnout that's expected in the state. Rudy's camp has to hope that enough early adopters locked in for him back when he was popular to put him closer to Romney and McCain.
After welching on him last week, Sideshow Mel Martinez finally decides to follow through on his promised endorsement of Baghdad John McCain, who is now statistically tied with ... no, Chris, not Rudy ... with Willard Romney in the latest Florida polling.
And where does that leave Sir Rudy of 9/11, the man whose financiers (such as they are) and supporters (such as they are) reportedly were reportedly responsible for turning Melly Mel into a "tower of Jell-o" last week? He's somewhere down in third place in the must-win Sunshine State, tied with Mike Huckabee (who will probably beat him on Tuesday...)
Rudy Giuliani is finding out the hard way that there really is no new way to run a campaign. You just don't skip all of the early contests, get locked out of the news cycle for a month, and then ride in on a white horse in Florida, and expect to blow by the competition after that.
Rudy has several core problems that the mainstream media has missed:
1. His last big news cycle was a disaster. The stories about police shuttling his mistress around before she was his wife weren't helpful for a candidate running on little else besides 9/11. Without some larger narrative, Rudy has always run the risk of getting sucked into the sinkhole of his pretty miserable personal story, once the 9/11 zombie juice wore off and the New York-based press started covering him again.
2. There was no next big news cycle. Just as Judygate was dying down, the news became all about the cat fights between Barack and Hillary, and all about the big wins for ... pick the Republican ... Huckabee! Romney! McCain! Nowhere in this media narrative could one find a guy named Rudolph Giuliani. And in politics, voters forget you faster than they forgive you.
3. While nobody was thinking about Rudy, he was busy burning through his scant campaign stash in the Sunshine State. Rudy spent his money in Florida like a drunken tourist on a cruise ship, and now that he's nearly out of cash, and paying his senior staffers with hugs (does Rudy actually hug, or does he just grimace with that skull face of his and pat repeatedly...?) there's no way he can out-gun his rivals where he has telegraphed to the entire world that he is going to make his stand: Florida. Florida is a pricey media market, and without money, he's becoming more uncompetitive by the day. And Super Tuesday is going to cost the candidates a hell of a lot more than Florida.
4. The media is wrong about Rudy's appeal in Florida. Rudy was popular for a minute down here with about a third of Republican voters, not because they're New Yorkers and they love him, but because they're NOT New Yorkers and he's a Republican who's tough on the so-called "war on terror," and Florida Republicans are conservative GWOT hawks. Truth be told, the New Yorkers who have retired down here are largely to be found in places like Broward County (dubbed the "sixth borough" of Manhattan), Palm Beach and Boca Raton -- and earth to media, they're mostly FDR Democrats, who hate Rudy's guts. In fact, I don't know a single New Yorker down here who likes Rudy. And don't get me started on former N.Y. firefighters... Rudy's support in Florida came not from nostalgic New Yorkers, but from hawkish southerners and anti-Castro Cubans. Now, both are walking away from him in favor of John McCain.
5. Rudy Giuliani is a terrible candidate. He is a one-noter, and with the Republicans mind-numbing the rest of us into believing that the surge has worked, combined with an economy headed to recession, Iraq, and the global war on terror, have suddenly gone off the front pages. Once the election shifted squarely toward "the economy, stupid," Rudy suddenly didn't seem so important. After all, he's known for his one day of glory (like the balding 40 year old who's still prattling on about that big, winning touchdown he made in high school to anyone who'll listen...) not for his economic prowess. And no matter what Chris Matthews tells you, Rudy's just not that likable, nor is he that electable without a major terrorism scare factor (something which also makes no sense, since he didn't stop 9/11, or predict 9/11, he merely survived 9/11 ... )
But will he survive past Tuesday?
As they say in Brooklyn, it don't look good...
New polls have Rudy trailing John McCain in New York (gasp! They can't stand him there, either!), New Jersey (where he's down 29-26) and California (where he's also given up a lead). And a new Florida poll shows Sir Rudy of 9/11 falling into ... wait for it ... third place:
Rudy Giuliani has hit the skids in a Florida freefall that could shatter his presidential campaign and leave a two-man Republican contest in the state between John McCain and Mitt Romney, a Miami Herald poll shows.
Despite hovering over Florida voters for weeks, Giuliani is tied for third place with the scarcely visible Mike Huckabee in a statewide poll of 800 likely voters.
With his poll numbers slipping back home in the Northeast, Giuliani's campaign will implode if he can't turn it around in the six days left before Florida's Jan. 29 vote, the final gateway before a blitz of primaries around the nation that could sew up the race.
''He may be running for president, but with these numbers he wouldn't be elected governor of Florida,'' said Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway, whose firm conducted the survey with Democratic pollsters Schroth, Eldon & Associates for The Herald, The St. Petersburg Times and Bay News 9. Alluding to the timeworn song, Conway added: ``If he can't make it there in Florida, he can't make it anywhere.''
Asked about the 13 percent of the voters who haven't made up their minds, pollster Rob Schroth said he didn't expect them to fuel a Giuliani comeback.
''Giuliani for all intents and purposes has virtually no chance to win in Florida,'' he said.
Well when you've lost Kellyanne Conway... More on the Florida poll:
...the leading Republicans are waging fierce campaigns in Florida, the biggest prize yet of the primary season. McCain is narrowly leading the Republican field with 25 percent of the vote, followed by Romney with 23 percent. The gap is within the poll's margin of error, placing the Arizona senator and the former Massachusetts governor in a statistical tie.
Incidentally, McCain is leading Rudy by 10 points in South Florida, the place where the media would have you believe Rudy is strongest...
Statewide, Giuliani received support from 15 percent, down from 36 percent in a Miami Herald poll in November. The poll was conducted Jan. 20-22, after Fred Thompson came up short in the South Carolina primary but before he quit the race Tuesday afternoon.
Huckabee, a charismatic former Baptist minister, is popular among frequent churchgoers, young voters and residents of the conservative Panhandle of the state, according to the poll. Romney was the second choice for born-again Christians, suggesting that his Mormon religion is not a political liability. His stronghold is the southwest part of the state.
One more quote from Kellyanne Conway deserves mention. It's tucked into this nice little couplet:
''Giuliani has gone from a prohibitive favorite to a second-tier candidate. . . and the drop is traceable to dramatic erosion in South Florida,'' said Tom Eldon, Schroth's pollingpartner.
After retreating from New Hampshire weeks ago, Giuliani's campaign decided to hunker down in Florida and argued that the state would catapult him to the nomination. What the campaign failed to anticipate was that his poll numbers would plunge as rivals picked off smaller states with earlier contests.
''This Giuliani campaign strategy of betting it all on Florida somehow miscalculated how Florida voters would disregard his performance in other states -- it does matter to them if somebody has been a loser,'' Conway said.
''Giuliani's decision to pull out of the early states is going to go down in history,'' Eldon added.
Republicans duking it out over their nominees. What's incredible, is the consensus that the worst two candidates for "the base" are Giuliani and ... Huckabee? Yep, Huckabee. The fiscal conservatives hate him because he's an "economic populist" who raised taxed in Arkansas, and who has criticized Club for Growth Republicans as "greedy" (yeah, he's right on that one) ... and social conservatives dislike Rudy because he's ... no, not the cad part, or the dumping his wife, or having NYC cops chauffeur the mistress around on the public dime, or lobbying for Citgo, or taking on the Qatar government as clients ... no, they hate him because of abortion.
Go figure, they're Republicans.
Anyway, on the RS thread, one Fred Thompson supporter calling himself "redneck hippie" writes:
I made a commitment that if nominated I would vote for (not support) EITHER Rudy or Huck. I also made a commitment that if they team up I will stay home. Eight years I might stomach. Sixteen, never."
Wow. That post was followed by this one:
Guiliani's propensity for authoritarianism scares me more than Huckabee's.
I'd rather have my trans fat taken away than my guns.
Okay, clearly a gun nut, but I agree with the first part.
Given how the media (and many voters in 80% pro-Bush Republican Iowa) have fallen in love with Huck, it's pretty shocking to see comments like this:
As a SoCon and FisCon ...
Huckabee is wrong on 100%. He's following a track with HLA and FMA that do nothing but energize the opposition (remember the ERA?) and he will get nothing, including good judges.
On the Fiscal side, he's a budding socialist. On the war... let's close Gitmo! On cooperating with Congress... let's investigate Bush on Plame.
He is the most unacceptable candidate I can possibly imagine. Ron Paul has better points than Huckabee.
Ouch! On to my favorite comment in the thread:
What is Rudy's foreign policy experience, again? What is his governing experience? Mayor of a city?
Oh wait....it's a really big city he was Mayor of....LOL....maybe Koch and Dinkins were Presidential material after all.
How about his military experience to be Commander-In-Chief? How did Rudy handle it when his number was called back in the day? Was he tough on those Communists? What are his National Security credentials again - nominating Bernie Kerik to run DHS?!?!
Every one of these GOPers would fight the War - except for Ronpaul. It's just that with Rudy - you get to stick your thumb in the eye of those dreaded SoCons and GunCons at the same time. Their issues don't matter in a time of war, after all, and we've declared perpetual war.
And yet I have to hear the laughable - utterly ridiculous - gut-bustingly hilarious meme that the next Preisdent will reduce the size of the federal Government - even in the face of Two Dem Houses. It's never been reduced, but the next guy will do it - this time for sure! Heck, Rudy will do it just based on the sheer strength of his personality!
Rudy Giuliani is a very bad man. I think we've more than established that. He's also a charlaitan who has enriched himself on the graves of nearly 3,000 people who died in the World Trade Center towers (the two that stood alongside his apparent Judy love-nest inside WTC 7, where he also, I'm sure quite coincidentally, housed his city's emergency response center...) And he has a list of clients for his various consulting interests that read from ironic (Hugo Chavez' state-run Citgo) to bad (Cintra, the folks behind that very real, thank you Jeffrey Toobin, NAFTA superhighway), to worse, according to Wayne Barrett of the Village Voice:
Three weeks after 9/11, when the roar of fighter jets still haunted the city's skyline, the emir of gas-rich Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifah al-Thani, toured Ground Zero. Although a member of the emir's own royal family had harbored the man who would later be identified as the mastermind of the attack—a man named Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, often referred to in intelligence circles by his initials, KSM—al-Thani rushed to New York in its aftermath, offering to make a $3 million donation, principally to the families of its victims. Rudy Giuliani, apparently unaware of what the FBI and CIA had long known about Qatari links to Al Qaeda, appeared on CNN with al-Thani that night and vouched for the emir when Larry King asked the mayor: "You are a friend of his, are you not?"
"We had a very good meeting yesterday. Very good," said Giuliani, adding that he was "very, very grateful" for al-Thani's generosity. It was no cinch, of course, that Giuliani would take the money: A week later, he famously rejected a $10 million donation from a Saudi prince who advised America that it should "adopt a more balanced stand toward the Palestinian cause." (Giuliani continues to congratulate himself for that snub on the campaign trail.) Al-Thani waited a month before expressing essentially the same feelings when he returned to New York for a meeting of the U.N. General Assembly and stressed how important it was to "distinguish" between the "phenomenon" of 9/11 and "the legitimate struggles" of the Palestinians "to get rid of the yoke of illegitimate occupation and subjugation." Al-Thani then accused Israel of "state terrorism" against the Palestinians.
But there was another reason to think twice about accepting al-Thani's generosity that Giuliani had to have been aware of, even as he heaped praise on the emir. Al Jazeera, the Arabic news network based in Qatar (pronounced "Cutter"), had been all but created by al-Thani, who was its largest shareholder. The Bush administration was so upset with the coverage of Osama bin Laden's pronouncements and the U.S. threats to bomb Afghanistan that Secretary of State Colin Powell met the emir just hours before Giuliani's on-air endorsement and asked him to tone down the state-subsidized channel's Islamist footage and rhetoric. The six-foot-eight, 350-pound al-Thani, who was pumping about $30 million a year into Al Jazeera at the time, refused Powell's request, citing the need for "a free and credible media." The administration's burgeoning distaste for what it would later brand "Terror TV" was already so palpable that King—hardly a newsman—asked the emir if he would help "spread the word" that the U.S. was "not targeting the average Afghan citizen." Al-Thani ignored the question—right before Giuliani rushed in to praise him again.
In retrospect, Giuliani's embrace of the emir appears peculiar. But it was only a sign of bigger things to come: the launching of a cozy business relationship with terrorist-tolerant Qatar that is inconsistent with the core message of Giuliani's current presidential campaign, namely that his experience and toughness uniquely equip him to protect America from what he tauntingly calls "Islamic terrorists"—an enemy that he always portrays himself as ready to confront, and the Democrats as ready to accommodate.
The contradictory and stunning reality is that Giuliani Partners, the consulting company that has made Giuliani rich, feasts at the Qatar trough, doing business with the ministry run by the very member of the royal family identified in news and government reports as having concealed KSM—the terrorist mastermind who wired funds from Qatar to his nephew Ramzi Yousef prior to the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, and who also sold the idea of a plane attack on the towers to Osama bin Laden—on his Qatar farm in the mid-1990s. ...
There's much more in the article. It's long and detailed, and worth the read. The only remaining question is just how much conservatives are willing to tolerate. They've looked past Rudy's womanizing, his dumping his wife, his pimping 9/11 for personal financial gain, his lapsed morality on issues like abortion, and his partisans are even shrugging off his use of the NYPD as his mistress' personal taxi service, at taxpayer expense. Are the moralistic hypocrites like Glenn Beck (Mr. "I like Rudy because he'll shoot Muslims in the head") and Pat (The Nutjob) Robertson willing to even overlook Rudy's ties to terrorism?
I await the RedState walkback.
Back to the love-nest for a sec. The link in the first paragaph is to a post yesterday by Joshua Micah Marshall. It's worth giving you a taste:
Before 9/11, the city of New York set up an emergency command center in the World Trade Center complex, actually in building 7. After 9/11 this was a matter of some controversy since it obviously wasn't usable on the day of the attacks. (Building 7 eventually collapsed late in the day on 9/11.) And while no one could have predicted 9/11 precisely, there was a certain gap in logic in building the command center in what had already proven to be a top terrorist target.
However that might be, earlier this year it emerged that Rudy actually spent a lot of time in his personal quarters in the command center pre-9/11 because that's where he took Judi for their snogfests while their relationship was still a secret.
In fact, it gets better. While it's difficult to prove, there was a decent amount of circumstantial evidence -- and some city officials believed -- that Rudy's reason for wanting the center in building 7 was so that he could walk there easily from city hall for his trysts with Judy.
So just how do we judge the price NYC paid for the Judi affair?
So not only is Rudy Giuliani a terrible guy to be married to (you'll find out when he throws you over for a NEW socialite, Judith...) he's also a bald-faced (no pun intended) liar, when it comes to his citation of statistics.
or do ... Rudy is beeyatching and moaning about alleged "attacks on his personal life" ... a supposed "hit job," otherwise known as belated journalistic interest in the part of Rudy's record in New York City that predated September 11, 2001. (Photo courtesy of Cox & Forkum).
Well, Rudy, you can crumple up that bald brow all you want. Shag Fund-Gate isn't going away.
Today's installment of "How I Met Your Mother (While I Was Still Married To Someone Else's Mother)" is entitled: "Taxi!" The script, not written by picket-line crossing scabs, is instead penned by Richard Esposito of ABC News' The Note:
Giuliani's Mistress Used N.Y. Police as Taxi Service
Well before it was publicly known he was seeing her, then-married New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani provided a police driver and city car for his mistress Judith Nathan, former senior city officials tell the Blotter on ABCNews.com.
"She used the PD as her personal taxi service," said one former city official who worked for Giuliani.
New York papers reported in 2000 that the city had provided a security detail for Nathan, who became Giuliani's third wife after his divorce from Donna Hanover, who also had her own police security detail at the same time.
The former city officials said Giuliani expanded the budget for his security detail at the time. Politico.com reported yesterday that many of the security expenses were initially billed to obscure city agencies, effectively hiding them from oversight.
The former officials told ABCNews.com the extra costs involved overtime and per diem costs for officers traveling with Giuliani to secret weekend rendezvous with Nathan in the fashionable Hamptons resort area on Long Island.
When the New York City comptroller began to question the accounting, Mayor Giuliani's office declined to provide details to city security, officials told ABCNews.com today.
"The Comptroller's Office made repeated requests for the information in 2001 and 2002 but was informed that due to security concerns the information could not be provided," a spokesperson for the comptroller's office said. ...
Ah, yes, the old "security" excuse...
For the record, former NYC mayor Ed Koch is questioning Rudy's explanation of his billing practices associated with his Hamptons shenanigans with the former mistress who's now the missus... Said Koch of Giuliani's 'splanation of his "routine" police expenses:
Former mayor Ed Koch and current city officials said Thursday that charging travel and security expenses to obscure mayoral agencies was not routine at City Hall before or after Rudy Giuliani took office.
"That this was past practice is absolutely wrong," Koch said. "It didn't happen under me and I don't think it happened with David Dinkins, either."
For the record, the Bloomberg people say that's not their standard operating procedure, either.
"In my opinion, it would be very harmful to our country if Rudy were to become president. Rudy simply does not tell the truth when it suits him not to," Koch says in a mass e-mail. He's writing a new intro to his book, to be reissued by Barricade. Koch cited four instances where he says Giuliani lied, and, "There will be much more on Rudy's record as he is examined by the national media."
Prescient words, Ed.
BTW, Ed's book on Rudy, which came out in 1999 and is being re-released on the occasion of Rudy's run for czar president, is called "Giuliani: Nasty Man."
The Rudy and Judy Show! Sponsored by, the Taxpayers of New York City
File this one under, "I could have told you that..."
The mainstream media finally catches up with a seedy story New Yorkers have known about for years: that Bernie Kerik wasn't the only sleazebag using public resources for his private sexual affairs. Here's the headline from today's NY Post:
REPORT: GIULIANI USED CITY CASH FOR JUDY RENDEZ-VOUS
November 28, 2007 -- America's mayor reportedly dipped into various city agencies' budgets to pay for extra security while kicking off his extramarital affair with now-wife Judy Nathan, a political blog reported today.
The Post reported more than six years ago that the trips were costing New York taxpayers $3,000 a day.
Rudy Giuliani, previously undisclosed government documents show, used funds from small government agencies to pay his tab, Politico.com alleged in a report.
It has previously been reported that Giuliani would sneak off to Hamptons to rendez-vous with then-girlfriend Nathan, and these trips incurred extra costs for the police officers assigned to protect the former mayor.
When the large expenses were found by the city comptroller months after Giuliani left office -- such as $34,000 of travel expenses billed to the New York City Loft Board's account -- the mayor's office simply cited "security," Jeff Simmons, spokesman for the city comptroller, told Politico.com.
The Post indeed did break the story years ago, when Bushie was running for Senator, that he used taxpayer funded security details to protect his then mistress, Judith Nathan, who is now his wife (until he finds something better, of course ... paging the Special Dispensation Cardinal!...) Perhaps the Post could look into who footed the bill for Rudy's rent when his then wife Donna Hanover kicked him out of Gracie Mansion for cheating, and he went to live with those gay guys and their dog...
Oh, sorry, I forgot ... the media doesn't talk about Rudy's private life. It's not relevant...
Anyway, here's the full report from Politico, including these juicy tidbits about the agencies that were paying for Rudy's Hamptons booty calls:
The documents, obtained by Politico under New York’s Freedom of Information Law, show that the mayoral costs had nothing to do with the functions of the little-known city offices that defrayed his tabs, including agencies responsible for regulating loft apartments, aiding the disabled and providing lawyers for indigent defendants.
In other words, Rudy screwed crippled people and indigent folk accused of crimes, in order to get his groove on. Now, here's Rudy acting like George W. Bush:
The expenses first surfaced as Giuliani's two terms as mayor of New York drew to a close in 2001, when a city auditor stumbled across something unusual: $34,000 worth of travel expenses buried in the accounts of the New York City Loft Board.
When the city's fiscal monitor asked for an explanation, Giuliani's aides refused, citing "security," said Jeff Simmons, a spokesman for the city comptroller.
And here's Rudy playing Tax Mooch Cassanova:
But American Express bills and travel documents obtained by Politico suggest another reason City Hall may have considered the documents sensitive: They detail three summers of visits to Southampton, the Long Island town where Nathan had an apartment.
Auditors "were unable to verify that these expenses were for legitimate or necessary purposes," City Comptroller William Thompson wrote of the expenses from fiscal year 2000, which covers parts of 1999 and 2000. ...
... The receipts tally the costs of hotel and gas bills for the police detectives who traveled everywhere with the mayor, according to cover sheets that label them “PD expenses” and travel authorizations that describe the trips. ...
... Many of the receipts are from hotels and gas stations on Long Island, where Giuliani reportedly began visiting Nathan’s Southampton condominium in the summer of 1999, though Giuliani and Nathan have never discussed the beginning of their relationship.
Nathan would go on to become Giuliani’s third wife, but his second marriage was officially intact until the spring of 2000, and City Hall officials at the time responded to questions about his absences by saying he was spending time with his son and playing golf.
So Rudy wasn't above using his son as an excuse to see his girlfriend ... sounds very presidential. For those on the right, including kooks like Pat Robertson and self-riteous airheads like Glenn Beck, to justify their support for Giuliani by calling his libidinous behavior "irrelevant", I would ask the following question: how can you say that Rudy's affair isn't relevant when it involved the use of taxpayer dollars to pay for security? Just sayin' ... and I don't want to hear the words "Bill Clinton." Clinton never used the Secret Service to shuttle Monica around, and his fooling around had absolutely no connection to his public office. Not so in the case of Rudy, who conducted his affair with the help of New York City taxpayers -- some of the most heavily taxed people in the country.
Even after his term as mayor ended, Rudy continued to receive taxpayer funded security to the tune of $1 million per year, with more than a dozen cops protecting him, his former wife, and his kids (and probably his mistress, too.) The New York press has covered Rudy's marital soap opera for years, and this story is NOT news to those of us who have lived in NYC.
We remember, for example, back in the spring of 2001 when Rudy, in his move to push Donna Hanover out the door, cut her security detail. Note the interesting detail about Judy in this humdinger from the NYT's Elizabeth Bumiller:
Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani cut in half the office staff of his estranged wife, Donna Hanover, yesterday as police officials announced separately that they had reassigned three members of Ms. Hanover's security detail to other jobs.
Mr. Giuliani's actions made it clear that he would continue to use the powers of his office to sever his wife from her public role as the city's first lady and to isolate her as much as possible during his final months in office.
A police official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said three police detectives assigned to Ms. Hanover to make security arrangements in advance of her public appearances had been reassigned on Friday. Ms. Hanover will still be protected, the official said, by an undisclosed number of detectives traveling with her. ''She has an adequate security detail,'' the official said.
Helene Brezinsky, Ms. Hanover's divorce lawyer, said she had no comment. ...
... Last week, aides to Mr. Giuliani said he was stripping Ms. Hanover of her public duties and giving the role of his hostess to Irene R. Halligan, the commissioner of the New York City Commission for the United Nations, Consular Corps and Protocol. Mr. Giuliani filed for divorce from his wife last fall.
... ''To the extent that Donna is no longer performing a function derived from the mayor, she doesn't need a public relations person,'' said a senior City Hall aide.
... The police official added that Judith Nathan, Mr. Giuliani's friend, was no longer receiving security protection. In January, police officials disclosed that Ms. Nathan had been receiving police protection since she was threatened a few days after Christmas, when a man confronted her on the street not far from her Upper East Side apartment. Officials said at the time that it was probable that the man had approached her because of her relationship with the mayor. Ms. Nathan's security protection, the official said, ended a few weeks later.
Mr. Giuliani announced last May that he was seeking a separation from Ms. Hanover and that Ms. Nathan had become increasingly important to him. Ms. Hanover and the couple's two children continue to live at Gracie Mansion, and Mr. Giuliani uses a guest room there. Earlier this month he had his divorce lawyers argue that he should be allowed to bring Ms. Nathan there. A judge disagreed and barred Ms. Nathan from Gracie Mansion. Mr. Giuliani is appealing.
Mr. Giuliani has grown increasingly angry that Ms. Hanover continues to play a first lady role as their marriage has crumbled and he has chosen Ms. Nathan as his public companion.
Update: Wolf Blitzer actually covered the story. Just teased it on CNN. Wow. Next thing you know Chris Matthews will be paying attention...
Tom Kean, former governor of New Jersey, and former chair of the 9/11 Commission -- you know, the commission charged with getting to the bottom of the intelligence failures that allowed the worst terror attack on this country, which happened to take place in the city where Giuliani was mayor, thus becoming the entire raison d'etre for his presidential campaign, and a nice little money maker for the Rudester to boot -- THAT Tom Kean has endorsed for president, the man he believes can best keep this country safe:
Whether Kean's nod will help McCain remains to be seen, but it sure doesn't help Rudy to continue peddling his 9/11 wares, a hawk job so tacky even the New York Post is picking up on it.
Meanwhile, a group of 9/11 families and New York firefighters are saying, "not so fast, Rudy."
A group of 9/11 families and firefighters who oppose Giuliani's candidacy were outraged.
"Giuliani is running on 9/11 and portraying himself as a hero. It's disgusting. It's horrible," FDNY Deputy Fire Chief Jim Riches said.
"This guy will do anything to get elected."
"He's misleading voters and distorting the truth. He didn't prepare the first responders for a terrorist attack. The Office of Emergency Management was a joke that day. There was a lack of communication. People died unnecessarily."
The mailing also says Giuliani "refused to raise taxes after the attacks - refuting calls from Democrats to do so."
The group of 9/11 families and firefighters will be in New Hampshire today to argue that he failed to adequately prepare for a terrorist attack.
The group has also questioned Giuliani's management of the cleanup effort, claiming thousands of Ground Zero workers got sick because they weren't given protective masks.
"I understand the emotions surrounding Sept. 11, but we cannot lose sight of the fact that it was the terrorists who attacked New York City," said firefighter and Giuliani campaign adviser Lee Ielpi, whose son, Jonathan, died on 9/11.
Giuliani has repeatedly challenged accusations that his candidacy is based solely on the attacks, saying during a recent debate, "The reality is that I'm not running on what I did on Sept. 11."
To quote Chris Matthews: "Ha!!"
So, will Rudy's News Corp coziness convince the media to give up its public relations flacking for "America's Mayor?" (a fact very well documented here...) After all, this is a guy running on his supposed "leadership" after the 9/11 attacks, but who spent more time at baseball games than he did at Ground Zero ... (you won't here that on Fox News Channel...) whose only religious endorsement is from a nut-job who spends time predicting the end of "Its a Small World" at Disney World... and whose last remaining Catholic pall is an alleged pedophile priest, and whose top priority after 9/11 was making money, off 9/11 ... an endeavor so important to him he quit the Iraq Study Group in order to pursue it full time.
"Obviously there are some very serious charges involved for a guy who was his protégé and one of his closest friends. And for Rudy to go out and say this is not worthy of discussion when it directly involves him and his decision making, and in the case of department of homeland security, the security of our country - it's disturbing that Rudy would think it's not something he is going to have to address. "
And then the aide said more:
Referring to remarks Tony Carbonetti recently made to me that there was no way Giuliani or any of his aides could have known about Kerik's alleged crimes, the aide said, "That was shocking. It is just revisionist history. Rudy is the godfather to two of this guy's kids--he is as close as you can get."
"They clearly came unhinged," said the aide. "What's going to happen when the discussion turns to Rudy's friend Msgr. Alan Placa?"
Placa is the alleged pedophile priest who married Rudy G to his cousin. Ahem ...
Romney spokesman Kevin Madden had this to say:
"Voters grow very weary of story after story after story having to do with public officials who have not adhered to higher ethical standards," said Madden. "Right now it is very important to Republican primary voters that we have a candidate who can draw a very clear contrast between a Republican nominee and Hillary Clinton. If you have a nominee who is distracted by this type of narrative, you lose the ability to contrast yourself with Hillary Clinton and past Clinton administrations. It cancels out any advantage you would have."
Meanwhile, Rudy was in Tampa today and wasn't asked a single question about Kerik by the crack media folks down here. Oh right, Flawrida is Rudy's firewall state. Why rock the boat?
In this post, I pointed you to an interesting investigation by Taylor Marsh into those nasty push polls in Iowa, attacking both Hillary Clinton and John Edwards as "weak candidates," and the suspicion that the trail could lead to our friend, Rudy Giuliani? Well get a load of this:
Anti-Romney, anti-Mormon calls being made in Iowa
In an apparent push poll, a research firm has called Iowa Republicans this week praising John McCain and critcizing Mitt Romney and his Mormon faith.
An individual in Manchester, Iowa, contacted me on Wednesday night saying he received a call with information about McCain's military service and anti-spending record.
Then there were "lots of negatives on Romney," said the recepient of the call in an e-mail, including mentions of his "flip-flops," hiring illegal immigrants as landscapers and extensive discussion of Mormonism.
"Statements were on baptizing the dead, the Book of Mormon being on the level of the Bible, and one about equating it to a cult," said the Iowan, deeming them "common criticisms of Mormonism."
"I think they asked twice if being a Mormon would be an issue," this person added.
The person conducting the call said he didn't know who they were polling for, said the source.
McCain's campaign, which has fielded calls into their Iowa headquarters complaining of similar such calls, emphatically denies responsibility.
"Senator McCain strongly rejects this style of campaigning and we have absolutely no involvement whatsover," said Jon Seaton, McCain's top aide in Iowa.
Another McCain source, however, said tonight that the calls had been traced back to a number linked to the Tarrance Group -- Rudy Giuliani's pollster.
Of course, Rudy's camp vigorously denies having any part in this. However...
Calls to Ed Goeas, Giuliani's pollster and a principal at the Tarrance Group, and Mitt Romney's campaign were not immediately returned.
I mean if he called back, he might have to lie. Just ask Judith Regan.
Rudy Giuliani has responded to the allegation by Judith Regan that News Corp executives told her to lie about issues surrounding Rudy's pal Bernie Kerik, with whom she was having an affair (canoodling in a downtown apartment that was supposed to be used to rest rescue workers working on "the pile" at Ground Zero, no less ... the same rescuers Rudy has dissed by suggesting he was as much in respiratory danger as they were...) to protect Rudy's presidential ambitions.
On MSNBC a few minutes ago, Rudy responded to a reporter's direct question of whether he knew that his boy was having an affair with Judith (hm... wasn't Rudy having an affair with a woman named Judith at the time, or was that after his television-announced divorce from the woman he was cheating on ... namely his wife ... but I digress...) Again, did Rudy know that Bernie was sleeping with Judith #2?
Rudy's answer was less than definitive. He said "um, that sounds like a gossip column kind of story .... I don't know anything about it."
Which means that every New York reporter worth a damn will now be scrambling to find out what Rudy knew about his pal's bedroom antics, and when he knew it.
Hang on ... the New York Times front page is a gossip tome?
Update: BTW, Wayne Barrett of the Village Voice, and author of "The Grand Illusion" an unauthorized biography of Rudy Giuliani, was just on Countdown. He's read the Kerik indictment and confirms that on around page 61, the indictment makes it clear that the "senior executive" who told Judith Regan to lie to spare Rudy and Bernie the rod, was indeed Roger Ailes, Rudy's good friend and lifelong pal.
Barrett also talked about how back when nobody wanted to carry Fox News Channel, then Mayor Rudy strong-armed Time Warner Cable into carrying the channel, on pain of serious problems with the city. Cronyism ... crooked pals ... poor decisionmaking ... and the two Judiths ... yeah, Pat Robertson, you're going straight to hell, papi.
It's been clear for some time to anyone who has been paying attention that the Fox News Channel is carefully migrating its operations from full bore support for any word or policy that emanates from the person of George W. Bush, to equally manic support for Rudy Giuliani, the friend and candidate of Fox chief Roger Ailes (have I mentioned that Ailes golfs with Tim Russert lately...?) Now, apparently, there's proof that the collusion is more than just extra air time with chief fundraiser Sean Hannity. From Bloomberg:
Nov. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Judith Regan, who was fired last year from News Corp.'s HarperCollins unit, sued the companies, claiming to be the victim of a ``deliberate smear campaign'' aimed at protecting presidential candidate Rudolph Giuliani.
Regan, former president of HarperCollins' ReganBooks division, seeks at least $100 million in damages in a complaint filed today in state Supreme Court in New York. Regan claims in her complaint that News Corp. tried to destroy her reputation because she has information about former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik that would be harmful to ex-New York Mayor Giuliani and his presidential campaign.
``The smear campaign was necessary to advance News Corp.'s political agenda, which has long centered on protecting Rudy Giuliani's presidential ambitions,'' Regan said in the complaint.
Regan, who published Kerik's autobiography ``The Lost Son,'' was fired from HarperCollins in December 2006 after she backed O.J. Simpson's book, ``If I Did It.'' In the book, Simpson described how he could have killed his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. ...
Regan had a sexual affair with Bernie Kerik around the time he was being offered up, at Rudy's behest, as chief of "Homeland Security" (doesn't that name just make you think "Der Fuhrer...?") Anyhoo, it's the NYTimes' scoop, so let's let them pick it up from there:
In the civil complaint filed in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, Ms. Regan says the company has long sought to promote Mr. Giuliani’s ambitions. But the lawsuit does not elaborate on that charge, identify the executive who she says pressured her to mislead investigators, or offer details to support her claim. ...
... Ms. Regan had an affair with Mr. Kerik, who is married, beginning in the spring of 2001, when her imprint, ReganBooks, began work on his memoir, “The Lost Son.” In December 2004, after the relationship had ended and shortly after Mr. Kerik’s homeland security nomination fell apart, newspapers reported that the two had carried on the affair at an apartment near ground zero that had been donated as a haven for rescue and recovery workers.
Mr. Kerik claimed in 2004 that he had withdrawn his nomination because of problems with the hiring of a nanny. He was indicted last week on federal tax fraud and other charges.
“Defendants were well aware that Regan had a personal relationship with Kerik,” the complaint says. “In fact, a senior executive in the News Corporation organization told Regan that he believed she had information about Kerik that, if disclosed, would harm Giuliani’s presidential campaign. This executive advised Regan to lie to, and to withhold information from, investigators concerning Kerik.”
One of Ms. Regan’s lawyers, Brian C. Kerr of the firm of Dreier L.L.P., said she had evidence to support her claim that she had been advised to lie to federal investigators who were vetting Mr. Kerik and who might have sought to question her about their romantic involvement. But Mr. Kerr declined to discuss the nature of the evidence.
The lawsuit does not say whether Ms. Regan was, in fact, interviewed as part of the inquiry into Mr. Kerik’s fitness for the federal post, and if she was what she told investigators. ...
I don't know which is more disturbing -- the idea that a senior executive at a purported news outlet would attempt to suborn perjury, or the idea that a purported news outlet has for years been attempting to engineer the presidency of it's top executive's friend. Makes Joe Kennedy seem like an amateur.
Meanwhile, you've got to wonder why the other GOP presidential candidates aren't kicking up a stink about the clearly preferential treatment Rudy is getting from the Republican Network of Record, not to mention going after Rudy for the numerous, creepy scandal points in his dubious resume. Do these guys want to win, or what? To pull a Chris Matthews for a second, where is the fight for the nomination of the Republican Party?
The mainstream media (of which I have been a part for many years) has some bad habits, but among the worst, is a herd mentality that coincides with a tendency to create what you might call an "internal conventional wisdom." To explain, remember after 9/11, when George W. Bush became "an enormously popular president?" You couldn't listen to a newscast about the POTUS without hearing that phrase -- it was literally written into the anchors scripts, and into nearly every newspaper article. That narrative by the members of the elite media persisted, for years, even as Bush's poll numbers began to come down. It persisted even after he dipped below 50% approval ratings in most polls. I can still hear Chris Matthews braying about how much the American people "like this guy," even when they stopped liking the war, the economy, his cabinet, his vice president and his policies.
The trouble was, the polling didn't support the narrative. It doesn't have to. The Washington reporting set are a tight clique who reinforce each other, and the narrative, at all costs. It's why you hear the phrase "you're absolutely right" so much on your favorite news chat shows.
Okay, fast forward to today. I was watching MSNBC this morning as Chuck Todd was chatting with one of MSNBC's morning spokesmodels about the latest presidential polling. The poll of the day, as it should be on MSNBC, is the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll that shows Hillary Clinton with a 22-point lead over Barack Obama on the Dem side (nasty old John Edwards has dropped 5 points to 11 percent on the strength of his desperation attacks on the front-runner...) and Rudy Giuliani ticking up 3 points to a 33-16 lead over surprise second place finisher John McCain, with sleepy Fred Thompson cratering from 23 points in September to 15 now. The Mittster is down to 11 points.
And now for the narrative. The poll also shows that a generic Democrat leads a generic Republican in the head-to-head match-up by a whopping 50 percent to 35 percent, while a Hillary-Rudy race is a dead heat (she leads by a single percentage point.) MSNBC writes it up thusly:
Yet given those advantages, Clinton — as well as the other top Democrats in the race — finds herself in a dead heat in a general election match-up against Rudy Giuliani, who leads the GOP presidential field in the poll.
Sounds OK so far. The writer acknowledges that Hillary is just one of the Dems who hold a slim lead over the potential GOP nominee, Giuliani. It's all Hillary -- and all downhill -- from there:
“Her primary numbers are certainly strong, and that is where the game is being played [right now],” says Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, who conducted this survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff. But in a general election, Hart adds, Clinton “obviously has a lot of troubles and challenges ahead.”
“She has a lot to do to win the presidency.” ...
Okay, so Hillary has a lot to do to win the general? Let's compare how her rivals do against the same challenger, Rudy, and against the other GOPers. From PollingReport.com:
Hillary - 46 Rudy - 45
Barack - 44 Rudy - 42
Hang on ... the media's argument is that Barack is sooooo much more likable, lovable, and by inference, has less headwind against a Rudy candidacy than Hil, right? MSNBC sez:
One of the reasons, it seems, why Clinton commands this lead over Obama is the perception of experience. Seventy-six percent of Democrats surveyed in the poll give Clinton high marks for being knowledgeable and experienced enough to handle the presidency. By comparison, just 41 percent of Democrats say the same about Obama.
Similarly, 63 percent give Clinton high marks for her ability to be a good commander-in-chief. That’s compared with 43 percent who give Obama high marks on this question.
On the flip side, however, Obama is seen as more likeable than Clinton (72 percent of Democrats give him high marks here versus 49 percent for Clinton), as well as more honest and straightforward (65 percent versus 53 percent).
And yet, Barack statistically does no better against Giuliani than Hillary does... could it be that a generic Democrat beats a generic Republican, but ANY specific Dem varies the outcome depending on which Republican they face? Hm. More numbers:
Hillary blows out Mitt Romney, 50-39 She tanks Fred Thompson 51-37 She edges John McCain 47-43 (also within the margin of error, meaning McCain is just a strong a candidate as Rudy is...)
But wait ...
Barack also beats up on the Mittster, 48-36 And John Edwards does just as well against Rudy as the others, 45-44 In fact, the only Democrat Rudy can beat is one who isn't running, and he only beats Al Gore by one point, 47-46
What is clear in the poll is that Americans are disgruntled, unsatisfied with the way things are going (67 percent say the country is on the wrong track and 57 percent say the country is in a "state of decline) and they're not happy with either the president or the Congress. They want change, but they're not sure what kind of change that should be.
If they were sure, neither Rudy nor Hillary would be front runners.
Why do I say that? Because Hillary essentially represents a return to the good old economic times and international support of the 1990s ... and Rudy represents no change at all, particularly on foreign policy, domestic spying, the war in Iraq, a war in Iran, torture, etc., etc. ... even on the domestic side, Rudy agrees with VIRTUALLY EVERY POSITION HELD BY GEORGE W. BUSH. If voters are telling pollsters the truth about wanting change, then why are either of these candidates in the lead?
And speaking of Rudy, his "lead" is rather meager, in that it has yet -- in any poll -- to get out of the 30s. That isn't what you call solid support.
At the end of the day, all that you can say about the mood of the electorate is that it's bad. The American people say they want change, but history suggests that what most Americans prefer is "change with safety" -- predictable, marginal change, rather than major, radical change -- EVEN ON IRAQ (otherwise, the frontrunners should be Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul.)
My read: Hillary and Rudy are out front because for Democrats, Hillary represents a "change back" to the time when things were good in the country and for the Democratic Party. For Republicans, who operate from a "fear base," if you will, Rudy probably represents change in terms of competency (hell, he ran big old New York ... that's hard, right??? ... but the status quo in terms of America's radical war footing against "the terrorists." That, and he's not Hillary Clinton -- something that only matters to the GOP base, which has been fed a steady diet of Hillary as boogeyman melodrama, by the party, and by the press.
Pat Robertson loves politics more than he loves The Lord... (I mean, how many divorces does a guy get a pass on just because he's leading in the GOP polls, anyway? And if God was going to strike Florida with a tsunami over Gay Days at Disneyworld, won't the fact that Rudy was roommates with a couple of gay dudes bring on the Armageddon? ... oh ... that's what Pat wants to happen... ooohhhh......)
Pat Robertson hates Muslims more than he loves the Lord ... The only sane (and I use that world loosely, given who we're talking about here) explanation for Robertson's break from his evangelical brethren to support the pro-abortion, pro-gay rights former mayor of Sodom and Gamorrah is that he believes that if elected president, Rudy will continue, or even escalate, George W. Bush's war on the Islamic foes of Israel -- a place Pat wants to conquer for Christendom and build a theme park ... where he can ride the Til-o-Whirl and await the Armageddon. Oh, there we go with that Armageddon thing again... The two weirdos apparently got to know each other on a flight back from Israel, a place they both cleve to like Likudniks on steroids. And in his endorsement speech, Robertson left little doubt which he cared about more, between loving the unborn and hating the Ay-rabs: "To me, the overriding issue before the American people is the defense of our population from the bloodlust of Islamic terrorists..." lest they try to blow up Disneyworld AFTER gay days...
Pat Robertson is insane ... goes without saying.
This of course, does beg the question, which even Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council is asking, of whether Rudy now believes, as Robertson does, that America had 9/11 coming because of the gays and the abortionists, and ... well ... everybody Rudy supports ... OR ... has Pat Robertson flip-flopped, Rudy style, on issues like gay rights, abortion, cousin marrying, philandering, divorce and all the other stuff Rudy can't get communion in his own church because of ... OR ... does Rudy's new anointing mean he'll never wear that dress again...
The world waits.
Update: The reviews are in! The religious right, and other parts of the GOP hothouse, are officially flummoxed by the Pat Robertson-Rudy Giuliani axis of weird...
Gary Bauer (himself the Earl of Odd) says it's all about Hillzilla:
“I did have some sense it was going to happen, so I wasn’t completely surprised,” Bauer said. “Those leaders who are endorsing are going through the same thought process that a lot of conservatives around the country are wrestling with, which is that whatever one thinks about the field, it’s clear to everybody that a Hillary Clinton presidency with Democratic control of the House and Senate would be a disaster no matter what kind of conservative you are.”
The Huffpo's Michael Roston made the rounds of other evangelical operatives of the GOP:
A spokeswoman at the Christian Coalition said that Robertson had made the endorsement "in his personal capacity" and so the group wasn't commenting. A spokesman at Focus On The Family similarly told us, "Anything about Pat Robertson we're not talking about." The group's leader, Rev. James Dobson, had warned last month that Christian groups might pick a third party candidate to represent social conservatives if Giuliani was nominated to head the Republican ticket.
Similarly, OneNewsNow, a news website linked to the Christian Coalition of America, published an article headlined "Pro-Family leaders mum on Robertson's endorsement of Rudy." It noted, "OneNewsNow contacted several pro-family leaders to get their reaction to the Robertson endorsement. Some did not return calls, while others said they did not want to comment."
Still, OneNewsNow's Jim Brown was able to find "a close personal friend of Robertson" who "believes the endorsement is "tragic," and that if Giuliani wins the nomination, it "will destroy the Republican Party." So you have to imagine they'll be speaking out in some way soon.
Meanwhile, John McCain, who himself picked up an endorsement from Sam Brownback today and who probably was referring to Robertson when he talked about the looney toons on the right back when he was a maverick in 2000, declared himself "speechless" regarding the endorsement.
"I thought it was important for me to make it clear that Rudy Giuliani is more than acceptable to people of faith," said Robertson. "Given the fractured nature of the process, I thought it was time to solidify around one candidate."
Okay not that part, THIS part:
[Robertson] insisted that while some on the "fringe" of the social conservative movement may see Giuliani as an unacceptable nominee, the "core know better."
How can you tell who's on the fringe when you're insane...?
Earth to 27 percent of Republicans: Rudy Giuliani is lying to you. And I mean, like, daily...
He wants you to believe that he was the REAL hero of 9/11 ... single-handedly doing what no other mayor could: talking to the press! Walking around with a mask on! Brushing dust off his suit shoulders, and uniting a city ... and a nation... ! Cue the angelic choir...!!!
Aside from a belabored p.r. strategy, and continual boasts about his supposed sage foreknowledge of 9/11 (knowledge he apparently didn't feel compelled to share with anyone who could have done anything about it, including the Clinton administration with whom he was working so closely (and exchanging mushy-gushy letters) on things like the assault weapons ban and the COPS program ...) boasts that are at this stage, even more irritating than John Edwards' "son of a millworker" schtick, what is Rudy Giuliani, really? Who is he, to those of us who know him best -- namely, New Yorkers?
He's not the crime-fighting super sleuth whom the Gotti boys targeted for a rub-out. That's only interesting to Rudy's high-fiving, snarky little press aides. For the rest of us, it's "talk to me when you get something more interesting than Rudy nearly getting whacked. Hell, Curtis Sliwa got shot in the butt by a made guy. Want him to be your president, too?"
He's not the beloved mayor of Gotham City. New Yorkers hate his guts (and not just the firefighters. We civilians despise him, too.) Remember when he floated the idea of staying on past his lawful mayoral term in the wake of 9/11 to ... um ... keep the leadership coming ... possibly in a Hugo Chavez-like version of forever? Not! He got shot down like ... well ... Curtis Sliwa's butt... Ouch!
He's not the only man with the foresight to see 9/11 coming, as he likes to tell Republican voter-bots during his incipid "love me, I'm 9/11" speeches. In fact, sealed testimony to the 9/11 Commission -- an entity Rudy quit after just a few months because attending the meetings was cutting into his 9/11 profiteering time -- which wasn't supposed to see the light of day until after the 2008 election, but obtained by the Village Voice's Wayne Barrett reveals the following:
A 15-page "memorandum for the record," prepared by a commission counsel and dated April 20, 2004, quotes Giuliani conceding that it wasn't until "after 9/11" that "we brought in people to brief us on al Qaeda." According to the memorandum, Giuliani told two commission members and five staffers: "But we had nothing like this pre 9/11, which was a mistake, because if experts share a lot of info," there would be a "better chance of someone making heads and tails" of the "situation." (Such memoranda are not verbatim transcripts of the confidential commission interviews, but are described on the cover page as "100 percent accurate" notes taken by staffers, stamped "commission sensitive/unclassified" on the top of each page.)
Asked about the “flow of information about al Qaeda threats from 1998-2001,” Giuliani said: “At the time, I wasn’t told it was al Qaeda, but now that I look back at it, I think it was al Qaeda.” He also said that as part of one of his post-9/11 briefings, “we had in Bodansky, who had written a book on bin Laden.” Giuliani was referring to Yossef Bodanksy, the author of Bin Laden: The Man Who Declared War on America, which was published in 1999 and predicted “spectacular terrorist strikes in Washington and/or New York.” Giuliani wrote in his own book, Leadership, that Judi Nathan got him a copy of Bodansky’s prophetic work “shortly after 9/11,” and that he covered it in “highlighter and notes,” citing his study of it as an example of how he “mastered a subject.” Apparently, he also invited Bodansky to address key members of his staff.
Giuliani attributed his pre-9/11 shortcomings in part to the FBI, which was run by his close friend (and current endorser) Louis Freeh, and to the Joint Terrorism Task Force, an FBI-directed partnership with the NYPD. "We already had JTTF, and got flow information no one else got," he explained. "But did we get the flow of information we wanted? No. We would be told about a threat, but not about the underlying nature of the threat. I wanted all the same information the FBI had, and we didn't get that until after 9/11. Immediately after 9/11, we were made a complete partner." He added: "Without 9/11, I never would have been able to send an adviser to FBI briefings."
Oh, and did I mention that he's a foreign policy novice under the sway of a claque of neoconservative advisors who are itching to go to war in the Middle East near the Tigris and Euphrates rivers? Sound familiar, guys? Huh???
In fact, the only good thing about Rudy is his original position on gun control, which is amply documented here. Of course, the new, flip-flopping Rudy is totally, and I mean totally, against gun control ... sort of ... depending on who he's talking to ... Bo-Sox, Yankees, my God, so much to decide...!
Anyhoo, I guess the bottom line is that Rudy Giuliani is whoever he thinks he has to be that day, in order to get to be your president. Here's hoping he's doing all that huffing and puffing in vain. At least some conservatives are finally growing suspicious of the slippery character who changes positions faster than he changes wives ... and dresses.
Wake up, the rest of you Rudyphiles. The last thing you want in the White House is somebody about whom the one true thing you can say, is that you're certain that you really don't know who he is. When that happens, you have two choices: lift up his skirt and see if there are any jumblies under there, or ask those of us who do.
So much for being competitive in New York... Rudy's gambit, of course, is to pander to BoSox fans in nearby New Hampshire, ahead of a certain primary election. But any true Yankee fan (and I am one, baby) knows that the Red Sox are the Evil Empire, the uber enemy, and you cannot be with them, and also with the Yanks.
...unless of course you're a shape-shifting, gone with the wind, spineless pol, like Rudy... expect him to be dressing in drag again soon, too.
Christian conservatives led by Reagan pal and movement conservative forefather Richard Viguerie may lead a walk-out on the GOP if Rudy is the nominee. Read on.
More than 40 Christian conservatives attended a meeting Saturday in Salt Lake City to discuss the possibility, and planned more gatherings on how they should move forward, according to Richard A. Viguerie, the direct-mail expert and longtime conservative activist.
Other participants in the meeting included James Dobson, founder of the Focus on the Family evangelical ministry in Colorado Springs, Colo., and, according to Viguerie, Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, a conservative policy group in Washington.
However, Dobson spoke out against the idea of a third party even if "both Democratic and Republican nominees are known to be entirely unsupportive of the sanctity of human life, the institution of marriage and other aspects of the pro-moral agenda," according to Gary Schneeberger, a spokesman for Focus on the Family Action.
A spokesman for Perkins did not respond to requests for comment Monday.
Viguerie would not give specifics of the proposal or reveal additional names of participants, but said President Bush "would not have been elected in '04 without the people in that room."
"There is such a jaundiced feelings about any promises or commitments from any Republican leaders," he said in a phone interview. "You could almost cut the anger and the frustration with a knife in that room it's so strong. Because they don't know what else to do, they're talking third party."
Viguerie was on Ed Schultz's show today exlaining that conservatives, religous and fiscal, are fed up with the broken promises of the GOP that if a candidate like Rudy Giuliani is nominated, it will be "the end of the Republican Party." Viguerie is author of "Conservatives Betrayed," and yknow what? He's not feeling Fred Thompson either, calling him an actor playing the part of a conservative on TV.
"Giuliani is beyond the pale, it's just not going to happen," he said.
"There's no way conservative leaders are going to support a pro-abortion candidate."
Mr Viguerie says if the conservative Christians decide to support a third party bid, it will not be a one-off occurrence.
"It will be that we have determined that the Republican Party is beyond salvation, they have lied and betrayed the conservative voters one time too many, and that this will be a major effort that will go far beyond the '08 election," he said.
Tony Perkins is another powerful conservative leader from the Family Research Council. He too was at the weekend meeting and says social conservatism is important for the Republican candidate.
"To the degree that the party moves away from those principal issues, social conservatives, evangelicals will move away from the party," he said.
"These are black and white issues. These are issues that there's just no room for negotiation [on]."
But Mr Giuliani's trump card is that he has the best chance of beating the front-running Democrat.
"Every poll shows that I would be by far the strongest candidate against Hillary Clinton," he said.
Jerry Mayer, a professor of politics at George Mason University in Washington, says the conservative Christians' plan threatens to split the Republican vote.
"You nominate a pro-choice Republican as liberal on gay issues, as liberal on sexuality as Giuliani is, I'm telling you some right-wing Republican maverick, like Alan Keyes or some other minor figure, will run as a third party candidate, will run as a pro-life candidate of the party of God, and that will hurt," he said.
"Indeed, it will make it impossible for the Republicans to win."
The revolt by Christian leaders could be a damaging blow to Mr Giuliani's campaign, because white evangelical Protestants make up a large share of Republican voters.
Rudy Giuliani is slowly, but surely, beginning to show himself. From the Guardian UK:
LONDON (AP) - Rudy Giuliani was on the trans-Atlantic campaign trail Wednesday, schmoozing with conservative idol Margaret Thatcher and bragging about his international credentials.
``I'm probably one of the four or five best known Americans in the world,'' Giuliani told a small group of reporters at a posh London hotel as onlookers gathered in the lobby to gawk at actor Dustin Hoffman, who was on a separate visit.
The former New York mayor is the latest GOP presidential candidate to travel to Britain, meeting the country's new political guard and rubbing elbows with Thatcher, an icon for American conservatives.
He also was asked to deliver a special lecture at the Atlantic Bridge, a group that promotes ties between British and American conservatives.
Giuliani told reporters he has made 91 trips to 35 countries in five years and many governments seek him out for advice on security. He was given an honorary knighthood in 2002 by Queen Elizabeth II for his leadership after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
But who are the four other best-known Americans?
``Bill Clinton ... Hilary,'' he said, but he was whisked away for another engagement before he could throw out any other names. ...
What a shit. Why would anyone want this 9/11 pimping nut-ball for a president? Republican Rudy supporters, please take your temperature and "just say no."
Looks like the Republican National Committee will follow the DNC's lead, by punishing states that choose to push up their primaries in defiance of the Iowa-New Hampshire hegemony, and that could put a crimp into the plans of one Rudolph "I married my cousin" Giuliani.
The Giuliani campaign has reportedly set up a "firewall" in the state of Florida, according to campaign materials obtained by Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post and discussed on his blog, The Fix. Says said Fix:
Florida is the "firewall" in former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani's presidential bid, according to a Powerpoint presentation made to volunteers of his campaign in the Sunshine State and obtained by The Fix.
"Florida is the firewall" proclaims the second slide of the presentation which, by in large, is aimed at outlining the goals of Giuliani's effort in the state -- which is slated to hold a primary on Jan. 29. The slide goes on to highlight two press reports: the first, from the Associated Press, notes that Giuliani has "adopted an unorthodox campaign itinerary....lavishing attention on Florida."; the second, from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, points out that "Giuliani's strategy is to win delegate rich Florida to catapult him." The next slide notes that Giuliani's average lead in national polling is seven points but his average lead in Florida is 14 points.
Tony Carbonetti, a senior adviser to the campaign, dismissed the idea that Giuliani viewed Florida as a make or break moment for his bid. "Florida's the firewall, New Jersey's the firewall, Connecticut's the firewall, New York's the firewall," said Carbonetti. He added that the document was put together by state staff, not national staff, in order to "motivate our volunteers."
Although Giuliani's campaign has made clear that the states set to vote on Feb. 5, 2008, which include New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, California and Illinois, are likely to strongly favor their candidate, they insist that the former Mayor is also running hard in traditional early voting states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.
Nonetheless, the slide show does suggest that the Giuliani campaign believes Florida will play a central role in determining the identity of the Republican nominee.
And, while most of the rest of the document is rah-rah sort of stuff, there are some glimpses into Giuliani's broader Florida strategy in the document.
In a slide entitled "Opportunities to get involved", a list of "key coalitions" is provided that includes: "former Yankees" (we assume that means ex-northerners, not the actual Pinstripers), first responders, volunteer firefighters and, The Fix's personal favorite, Italian Americans.
On a slide titled "Our Plan for Victory" there are handwritten notes that read "go after congressional districts" and "Miami -- key city". As we noted in a story for washingtonpost.com's "Fast Track Campaign" series, Florida is one of several large states that splits its delegate apportionment between the winners of each congressional district and the winner of the statewide vote. Win the entire state of Florida and you get 39 total delegates. But, 75 delegates are up for grabs in the congressional districts -- three for each of the 25 seats. ...
The Republican National Committee plans to penalize at least four states holding early primaries, including New Hampshire and Florida, by refusing to seat at least half their delegates at the party’s national convention in 2008, a party official said Tuesday.
Much of the focus in the primary scheduling fight up to now has been on the Democratic National Committee’s moves to penalize Florida by not seating its convention delegates because of the state’s decision to move up its primary. But the Republican rules are even more stringent, and the national party said today that it would not hesitate enforcing them.
The actions by Republicans and Democrats to move against states holding early contests is a rare instance of the two parties moving in concert, in this case to regain control over a rapidly evolving primary calendar that has thrust the nominating system into deep uncertainty just months before it is to begin.
“The rules are clear,” said Tracey Schmitt, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee. “Any state that holds their primary outside of the window shall be penalized delegates.”
In addition to Florida and New Hampshire, Michigan and South Carolina also face sanctions for moving their contests before Feb. 5. Two other early nominating states, Iowa and Nevada, will escape Republican sanctions because they hold nonbinding caucuses, not primaries.
Republican Party officials in both Florida and Michigan said yesterday they still believed it unlikely that they will face penalties — despite being told exactly the opposite by national party officials — and are crafting a plan to make their voice heard during the convention.
“I am confident that all 114 delegates from Florida will be seated,” said Jim Greer, the chairman of the Florida Republican Party.
Mr. Greer argued that Florida technically does not select its delegates on the date of the primary, but rather, the leaders in each of its 25 Congressional districts choose delegates starting Feb. 6, so it is not breaking the rules.
“I am confident that the Republican National Committee or any eventual nominee will not allow the voices of Florida voters not to be heard,” he said. “Florida is too important a state as it relates electing to the next president.”
Banning half a state’s delegation would be an extraordinary move. While state party officials have played down the impact, noting that presidential candidates are often selected before the convention, there is the chance that the parties could have brokered conventions in which each delegate’s vote would be prized. ...
How is it that the media completely missed the story of Rudy Giuliani's exaggerated, arrogant, inflated vision of himself as the hero of 9/11, and his constant pimping of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks for personal gain? Well ... looks like they've finally gotten wind of it! This just in: Rudy's a jerk...
AP) Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani said Friday that he misspoke when he said he spent as much time, if not more, at ground zero exposed to the same health risks as workers combing the site after the Sept. 11 attacks.
"I think I could have said it better," he told nationally syndicated radio host Mike Gallagher. "You know, what I was saying was, 'I'm there with you."'
The former New York mayor upset some firefighters and police officers when he said Thursday in Cincinnati that he was at ground zero "as often, if not more, than most of the workers."
"I was there working with them. I was exposed to exactly the same things they were exposed to. So in that sense, I'm one of them," he told reporters at a Los Angeles Dodgers-Cincinnati Reds baseball game.
Really, Rudy? You were digging through that rubble your own heroic self????
Fire and police officials responded angrily, saying Giuliani did not do the same work as those involved in the rescue, recovery and cleanup from the 2001 terrorist attacks, which left many workers sick and injured.
On Friday, Giuliani said he was trying to show his concern for the workers' health.
"What I was trying to say yesterday is that I empathize with them, because I feel like I have that same risk," he said.
"There were people there less than me, people on my staff, who already have had serious health consequences, and they weren't there as often as I was," Giuliani said, "but I wasn't trying to suggest a competition of any kind, which is the way it come across."
Giuliani's explanation further angered his ground zero critics, prompting several to issue a statement demanding an apology.
"He is such a liar, because the only time he was down there was for photo ops with celebrities, with politicians, with diplomats," said deputy fire chief Jimmy Riches, who spent months digging for his firefighter son.
"On 9/11 all he did was run. He got that soot on him, and I don't think he's taken a shower since."
GREAT line. Mr. fire union chief, take us home, please...
Harold Schaitberger, president of the International Association of Fire Fighters, a union that fiercely opposes Giuliani, said he doubted Giuliani misspoke.
"I think he was simply showing what his true character is — a self-absorbed, self-deluded promoter who got caught and is now just simply trying to backtrack," Schaitberger said.
And now, just for the sheer fun of it, here's Rudy in his own demonic voice:
Much to the chagrin of people like John Edwards (and Newt Gingrich, from the sound of his increasingly histrionic tone) there really are only three people in the race for president: Hillary Clinton, who now holds a commanding 22 point lead over her nearest Democratic contender for the nomination, according the the latest USAT/Gallup poll; the aforementioned nearest competitor, Barack Obama, and Rudy Giuliani, the nightmare candidate from the left-right, who would have us mow down every Arab and Muslim from here to Timbuktu were he to ever darken the door of the White House.
The latest news on the triad:
Hillary and Barack enter a Cold War phase -- I'd guess Hillary was pissed when he screwed around with her inevitability by running.
Still, many are predicting that eventually, they'll have to unite under one banner, given his hugh fundraising and continued popularity -- oddly formed plans to bomb the bejeezus out of Pakistan, notwithstanding...
Rudy predicts as much, too, even as the smart observers predict that he would make an absolutely awful president, and a dangerous one too, given that he fuels his neoconservatism with ignorant bluster and constant threats of terrorism and war. Not what the thinking American voter is looking for, but unfortunately, there still are some cowardly Americans out there who cleave to Rudy's brand of scare 'em from the rafters phony conservatism.
Meanwhile, out there in the hinterlands, John Edwards has gone from sniping at his betters for fighting each other, to sniping at Bill Clinton -- not so smart, J.E., I mean you do want to win the Democratic nomination, right...?
Dennis Kucinich has gone straight up Socialist -- still whinging for "not-for-profit" healthcare -- read Medicare for all, and a "Department of Peace." What is this guy smoking, anyway? Survey says: his camp thinks he's winning this thing...
I'd go on, but as I said at the start, there really are only three people in this thing. Four if you count the current iteration of Mitt Romney (or more to the point, Mitt Romney's money...) or the ghost of Fred Thompson...
"What Giuliani is, is George Bush on steroids.” Edwards said. “Giuliani, Romney and the rest of the Republicans running for the nomination are going to give the country four more years of crony capitalism, which is exactly what we have now. We have insurance companies and drug companies and oil companies running this government. They need to be stopped. And Giuliani just wants to empower them.”
Finally, a major New York paper (The New York Times) delves into the issue of Rudy and race. It's long, but worth the read.
The Times has also annotated a number of its stories on the former New York mayor and his dicey relationship with Black New Yorkers, starting from the moment he announced against then-mayor David Dinkins, whom Giuliani termed a "Jesse Jackson Democrat."
New York's firefighters have good reason to despise Rudolph Giuliani.
As mayor of New York, he made the absolutely ridiculous decision to locate the command center for emergency response inside World Trade Center 7, a decision he made just months after the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993, just before he took office ... Giuliani's decision was apparently made for his own convenience -- to locate the command center close to City Hall, rather than in Brooklyn, a place Giuliani was loathe to go (too many Black people, you know...)
He failed to make sure that firefighters, like his cherished New York police, had the most modern radios, leading to tragedy on September 11, 2001, when New York City's bravest failed to get the radio message that the towers were going to collapse -- something Giuliani knew in advance, but that the firefighters did not. As a result of the confusion on that day, most of the police officers who were, heroically, working to evacuate people from the towers got out alive. Scores of firefighters did not (a total of 343 firefighters and paramedics, along with 23 NYPD officers and 37 Port Authority Police officers lost their lives, including 200 firefighters who never got the order to evacuate.) A PBS account of that morning tells the chilling story:
8:46 a.m. American Airlines Flight 11 crashes into the north tower of the World Trade Center.
8:47 Eighteen fire companies begin responding to a fifth alarm, setting up a command post in the lobby of the north tower when they arrive.
9:03 United Airlines Flight 175 crashes into the south tower of the WTC. Another command post is set up in south tower, as a second fifth alarm is broadcast. ...
... 9:10 Over thirty more companies have arrived, and a third interior command post is set up inside the Marriott Hotel, located by the base of the north tower. Meanwhile, an exterior command center has been set up on West Street. Top-level fire chiefs send units into the towers from here. ...
... 9:45 Battalion Chief Orio J. Palmer and Fire Marshal Ronald P. Bucca have reached the impact zone on the 78th floor of the south tower. Palmer radios to Chief Edward Geraghty that they are sending a group of injured survivors to the tower's only working elevator on the 41st floor.
9:57 Dozens of firefighters near the south tower command post are still waiting in the lobby for orders to go up into the tower.
A warning about the towers' instability is issued from the Fire Vehicle Staging Area, where emergency vehicles from Brooklyn have gathered and wait for orders.
9:59 On the 35th floor of the north tower, some firefighters hear a cry of "mayday! Evacuate the building" over the radio, and four companies begin to descend. Around the 28th or 30th floor, a crowd of resting firefighters is told to evacuate.
Meanwhile, the south tower collapses.
10:00 Battalion Chief Joseph Pfeifer radios an evacuation order that is received by some chiefs in the north tower, but not all.
A firefighter on the 65th floor radios that a nearby floor has collapsed. This is the highest floor a firefighter is known to have reached in the north tower.
10:15 Firefighters, court officers, and other witnesses find group of firefighters, according to some estimates as many as a hundred, catching their breath on the 19th floor. Most in the north tower are not aware that the south tower has already collapsed. Told to evacuate, many of the firefighters say they'll come down "in a minute."
10:29 The north tower collapses, bringing down the Marriott Hotel as well. Over a third of the firefighters lost were in the north tower, and some were still in the lobby of the Marriott directing evacuations.
Some two weeks after the September 11 attacks, on September 30, Mayor Giuliani was informed that a cache of silver, gold and precious metals, including $200 million worth of gold bullion deposited in the vaults of the Bank of Nova Scotia -- a cache worth several hundred millions of dollars -- had been located beneath World Trade Center building 4. The next day, Giuliani ordered the recovery of remains -- including those of still missing firefighters, to halt, and instead, called for a mass excavation of soil from the site which was transported to Fresh Kills landfill -- a dump. Remains of many firefighters and other victims of the World Trade Center attacks and collapse are believed to still be in that rubble, at that garbage dump.
After September 11, Giuliani proceeded to use the attacks, not as a platform to try and heal the nation, or the city he himself had torn apart during his stormy mayoral term, but rather, to enrich himself, literally trading on the memories of murdered Americans and others, and on the deaths of the same firefighters he couldn't be bothered to recover from the field where they had fallen. Giuliani has become filthy rich making speeches, and taking on clients for his security consulting business, all while burnishing a phony image, greased by a pliant, sycophant American media, as "America's mayor."
With Al Gore counted out of the race (he says he's not running, so why count him in? Ditto Thompson and Gingrich, although at least Thompson is a likely entrant, probably sometime soon...) Hillary expands her lead over Barack Obama in the Sunshine States by five additional points.
On the GOP side, the big story is the continued insurgency of Fred Thompson, which does not appear to be anywhere near its last throes. Thompson has shaved Rudy Giuliani's lead in the state down to a nub, and if and when he enters, he apparently has the effect of bisecting the religious white male vote, giving abortion-averse but terrorism-fearing Republican men someplace else to go.
This morning, Phil Hendry, the right wing self-described Democrat who inexplicably has been added to the early morning lineup of the Clear Channel station that runs Air America and Jones Radio Networks programming here in South Florida, predicted that Clinton and Giuliani would ultimately be the nominees, and that despite his preference for Rudy, Hillary would likely win the White House because she represents "just enough change" to move us away from George W. Bush's problems, but not so much that it makes people uncomfortable.
Christie Todd Whitman takes a shot at Rudy for failing to protect Ground Zero workers from the toxic air spewing from the fallen Twin Towers after 9/11. Of course, she isn't exactly blameless in the entire sordid affair herself, since she was EPA administrator at the time and famously declared the air at Ground Zero safe to breathe just days after 9/11 ... but I digress. Ahem ... Bang, bang...
Former Environmental Protection Agency Chief Christine Whitman is testifying at a congressional hearing about the environmental impact of the September 11th attacks in Washington today.
Whitman took the stand at the hearing, led by Manhattan Congressman Jerrold Nadler, to answer questions about the cleanup of the Trade Center site. The former EPA head famously declared the air around the site to be safe to breathe just days after the attacks. But in the nearly six years since, thousands of first responders have come down with respiratory problems.
Speaking on WNBC yesterday, Whitman criticized former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and his staff for not adequately protecting workers, saying the city should have made them wear respirators.
"It wasn't nearly as clear who was in charge. The city is the primary responder,” said Whitman. “And then you have OSHA can't enforce – interestingly enough OSHA regulations can't be imposed on public servants and those were mostly, by the time you started the real clean-up, firefighters, emergency responders. EPA was not in charge of being able to enforce that."
Of course, the Giuliani people wasted no time slapping back, fearing that Rudy's single-note campaign could suffer yet another bout of sour pitch. From the Rudy camp:
“Every effort was made by Mayor Giuliani and his staff to ensure the safety of all workers at Ground Zero in the aftermath of this unprecedented act of terror," said former deputy mayor Joe Lhota in the press release. "All workers at Ground Zero were instructed repeatedly to wear their respirators. This is well-documented and indisputable. No one from the City ever tried to block the Environmental Protection Agency. Any statement or suggestion to the contrary is simply baseless. Administrator Whitman never voiced any of these concerns at the time – not at the daily meetings which included federal, state and local officials, not at any press conferences. Doing so now is revisionist at best.”
Blah blah blah blah 9/11! Terrorism! Vote for Rudy or DIE!!!!!!
As if I needed yet another reason to detest Uncle Rudy... Greg Palast has the latest dirt on "Mr. 9/11" and his nefarious friends. Reports Palast:
Paul Singer is a vulture. And a billionaire. And, with his underlings at Elliott Associates, the number one sugar-daddy donor to the presidential campaign of Rudy Giuliani, dropping $168,400 so far and, according to secret campaign documents, committed to raise $10 million for Rudolf the Great, Emperor of 9/11.
So who is this bird of prey Singer who holds Rudy in his beak?
Unlike feathered predators, Singer preys on the living. Singer figured out a way to siphon off funds intended for debt relief to some of the poorest countries in the world. Nice guy.
And by the way, I didn't come up with the moniker "vulture." Just about everyone, from the new Prime Minister of Britain to the World Bank, calls Singer and his ilk "vultures."
Here's how a vulture operation works. The vulture fund buys up the debt of poor nations cheaply when it is about to be written off and then sue for the full value of the debt plus interest -- sometimes more than ten times what they paid for it. Singer, for example, paid just $10 million for Congo Brazzaville's debt and is now suing for over $400 million.
Singer knew he'd turn a 1000%-plus profit on his $10 million investment with George Bush's help.
Bush convinced the US Congress to forgive the money Congo owes the US taxpayer, but once the US taxpayer forgives Congo's debt, the vulture, Singer, swoops in with lawyers to claim, "Congo now has the money to pay ME."
But wait a minute - the debt money given up by US taxpayers wasn't supposed to go to Rudy's predator Singer. In fact, the US Constitution provides power to the President to stop vultures from suing a foreign country in a US court if the President states such a private lawsuit interferes with America's foreign policy.
Singer, by suing Congo for the taxpayer money meant for debt relief and medicine, is interfering with US foreign policy. Yet Bush has done nothing.
While the President has made big speeches about debt relief for Africa and has even had his picture taken with a Bono, he won't get in the way of Singer's talons. One wonders if the President is influenced by Mr. Singer's strong support for debt relief, that is, debt relief for the Republican Party. The world's top vulture has become top donor to the GOP in New York.
Singer's not alone. He's joined in tearing at the flesh of the Congo's poor by a Washington operator named Michael Francis Sheehan. Sheehan is also known as "Goldfinger."
Besides joining Singer in attacking Congo, Goldfinger has also taken a piece of the debt relief earmarked for AIDS medicine for Zambia. Goldfinger paid $4 million for the right to collect on Zambia's debt - and just won $22 million from Zambia in a UK court, half that nation's debt relief. Goldfinger was able to seize that money because, he boasts in an email, he secretly paid $2 million to the "favorite charity" of Zambia's president. (That former President, Frederick Chiluba, is now under arrest for taking bribes ... but Goldfinger can still collect his pound of flesh.) ...
Hear Palast's report on the Rhandi Rhodes show here. More on our friendly neighborhood Bush pioneer and Rudy 'raisin vulture, Paul Singer, from Public Citizen here. Apparently, he has the hots for Peru's debt, too...
One wonders whether Rudy -- who has made fear and 9/11 his carrion just as sure as his fundraisers have done with Africa's poor -- should add a thirteenth "commitment" (not one on his marriage, because we all know how much he values commitments of that sort...) to his presidential "to do" list: this one to hedge fund managers everywhere: "I will help you to get even richer, probably at the expense of some black or brown kid with flies in his eyes... just as I have enriched myself on the graves 9/11."
Those of you who read this blog or listen to the morning show I do for Radio One Miami know by now that I detest, abhor and despise Rudolph Giuliani, the cousin-marrying former Gestapo mayor of New York. And so I delight in any news that is detrimental to his candidacy for president. (Hey, there's no shame in my game!) So here are some delights for my fellow travelers:
In December of last year, around the time of Pearl Harbor Day (the day of the Alberto Gonzales U.S. attorney purge, btw...) Rudy took it upon himself to bloviate about how awful it would be for the United States to quit Iraq, indicating that he disagreed with the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group that the U.S. set a timeline for orderly withdrawal and push the Iraqi government to take charge of its own affairs. The conservative New York Sun newspaper reported the following on December 7:
Mayor Giuliani resigned from the Iraq Study Group when it became clear that signing the group's report would politicize its findings and conflict with his likely presidential run in 2008.
On Tuesday, June 19, 2007, the Sun, apparently revised its opinion, reporting as follows:
Ouch. This is a damaging one for Rudy Giuliani: He apparently quit the Iraq Study Group last spring in favor of giving millions of dollars worth of speeches trading on his status as the "hero of 9/11."
So in other words, why sit on the Iraq Study Group and get some actual FOREIGN POLICY EXPERIENCE when a full third of brain dead Republican voters think you already have it, by virtue of surviving the attacks at Ground Zero ... which, by the way, means that tens of thousands of New Yorkers in the vicinity of the Twin Towers on the morning of September 11, 2001 are also qualified to be president of the United States... And besides, Rudy had to make ... that ... money peddling Oxycontin and gettin' that NAFTA superhighway built. He's a veritable (and that's the correct usage of the word, by the way, to those who listen to the morning show ... wink-wink...) 9/11 cash machine, pimping his undeserved glory for all its worth. More from the NY Sun's revised opinion on Rudy:
So far, Mr. Giuliani's Iraq position has boiled down to, "We have to win." That, plus instituting Compstat in Iraq — an almost laughable if it weren't so serious solution to the hell on earth we've helped birth in the broader Middle East. One has to hope he (and the rest of the Republicans) has a little something better up his sleeve.
(More on the WTC and Rudy here. More on Rudy's prevarications on the matter here.)
Oh, and his South Carolina campaign co-chair: indicted, just like Bernie Kerik.
Will the MSM ever examine "Mr 9/11" Rudy Giuliani's actual record as mayor of New York (and his pimping of 9/11), his ties to the nefarious plan to build a NAFTA superhighway, his ties to Venezuela's Citgo and Mexico's Cintra, or his dirty dealings with Bernie Kerik? Only time will tell. One thing's for sure, it's not likely that one network in particular will bother:
Fox News' Pro-Giuliani Conflict of Interest By Cliff Kincaid May 22, 2007
Rudy Giuliani's much-publicized but misleading put-down of Ron Paul during the Republican presidential debate should have been tempered by a report that Saudi Arabia, the country that spawned most of the 9/11 hijackers, has been one of Giuliani's lucrative foreign clients. However, Fox News questioners Chris Wallace and Wendell Goler did not bring it up.
Perhaps this can be explained by the fact that the same Associated Press story that named Saudi Arabia as a Giuliani client listed News Corporation, the parent company of Fox News, as another Giuliani client. This AP story, which was not disputed by Giuliani or News Corporation, was carried on the Fox News website.
Giuliani's law and lobbying clients have included Saudi Arabia, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., and chewing tobacco maker UST Inc.
Hm.... which leaves the Post-Chronicle's Kincaid to conclude:
This writer had raised questions about Fox News' co-sponsorship of the debate, based on the fact that the company had a relationship with Giuliani when he was mayor of New York City. But now we know that the relationship has continued into the period of time that Giuliani has been planning a presidential run. It is an obvious conflict of interest.
The conflicts continued after the S.C. debate:
Giuliani was the first Republican candidate to come on Fox News after the debate and talk about his performance. Co-host Sean Hannity wanted to focus on Giuliani's comments on 9/11 and his attack on Paul. Later, Michael Steele, Maryland's former Lieutenant Governor, was on Fox News, declaring that Giuliani had destroyed Ron Paul. "It's done," Steele said of Paul's campaign. It wasn't mentioned that Giuliani had campaigned for Steele when he ran for a Maryland Senate seat.
Radar Online drops the science on Rudy Giuliani's shameful pimping of the 9/11 terror attacks:
GOP frontrunner Rudy Giuliani is hoping to ride his 9/11 experience straight into the White House. But while "America's Mayor" is playing well in New Hampshire, New Yorkers directly impacted by the World Trade Center tragedy are less convinced.
In a recent New York Daily News poll, New Yorkers said they favor current mayor Michael Bloomberg, who hasn't declared his candidacy, over "America's Mayor" by almost 2 to 1.
Howard Lutnick, the CEO of money management firm Cantor Fitzgerald who lost 658 of his employees on 9/11 and whose brother died in the attack, has given Sen. Hillary Clinton's (D-NY) presidential campaign $4,600 of his own money over the last two months and has not given the Giuliani campaign a dime. Diny Ajamian, who as Cantor's human resources director worked with families of deceased employees and helped rebuild the company's staff, says she's disgusted by Giuliani's use of 9/11 as a political prop, adding that while Giuliani made plenty of public overtures to Cantor families in the immediate aftermath, he was virtually invisible two weeks later when she went to work for the firm. "It's absolutely disgraceful. He's just a sleazebag," Ajamian says. "I think now the families feel like he left them high and dry."
A rep for a group that aids families of those injured or killed in the WTC seconds that. "Rudy thinks our grief and the hurt we experienced somehow makes us stupid," says Monica Gabrielle, co-chair of the Skyscraper Safety Campaign, an organization which assists families affected by 9/11. "Rudy just can't control himself.... He can't acknowledge his failures.... He just can't stop creating his own myth about himself and about that day. The man is in love with his own legend."
But Giuliani's most potent critics are those who became a symbol of bravery after the 9/11 attacks—America's fire fighters. The 280,000 member International Association of Fire Fighter's fund has been at odds with the former mayor since shortly after 9/11, claiming the man now worth as much as $70 million "gave up" on dead firefighters and devoted Ground Zero cleanup efforts to, of all things, recovering gold and silver. Removal of victims' remains amounted, they say, to a "scoop and dump." Tensions heated up again in March, when a draft of a letter explaining the union's decision to snub Giuliani from their 2008 presidential forum was leaked to the press. The union eventually decided to invite him, but the candidate turned down the half-hearted invitation. That was the last straw for the group's president, Harold Schaitberger, who says Giuliani's actions since 9/11 show "disgraceful lack of respect for the fallen."
Most poll tracking shows Giuliani still ahead of his pitiful GOP competition, but with his support headed in exactly the wrong direction. Still, it's not exactly difficult to put one over on the American people, so the Democrats should prepare for the possibility of facing a Giuliani campaign in 2008, and be prepared to counter his fear mongering, 9/11 pimping self-agrandizement head-on. This guy is as big a sleazebag as they come, and clearly, he will do anything to win for himself the ultimate cash-plumper -- four years in the Oval Office.
But wait, there's more. Radar also uncovers the other Bush cronies who are making a killing -- pun intended -- off the so-called 'war on terror," starting with George Tenet...
...that Chris Matthews would criticize Rudy Giuliani. He just did so on "Hardball," saying, during a back and forth with actor/political junkie Ben Affleck about the politican candidates:
"I agree with what Fareed Zakaria wrote in Newsweekthis week, which is that terrorism isn't bombs and explosions and death... terrorism is when you change your society because of those explosions... and you become fearful to the point that you shut out immigration, you shut out student exchanges, you keep people out of buildings ... and begin to act in an almost fascist manner because you're afraid of what might happen to you, and that's when terrorism becomes real, and frighteningly succesful. That's what I believe, and that's why I question the way Giuliani has raised this issue. He raises it as a specter, and in a wierd way, he helps the bad guys."
Wow. That's a switch, Chris. I honestly didn't think this guy was capable of doing anything besides fawning over Rudy. Of course, he did get in a swipe at Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky during the segment, just to make the point that he's still Chris "the Clinton obsessor".
But a stunning development nonetheless. I get the feeling Matthews is disappointed that his Big City Mayor hero has turned out to be nothing but a fear mongering neocon -- liberal on social issues, crazy for war in the Middle East, and authoritarian in the extreme.
Courtesy of Wolf Blitzer this afternoon on CNN, and the Politico blog, check out this Giuliani smackdown from the Catholic Bishop of Rhode Island, writing in the diocese newspaper, in reaction to receiving an invite to a $500 a plate Rudy fundraiser:
Rudy’s public proclamations on abortion are pathetic and confusing. Even worse, they’re hypocritical. ...
...“I’m personally opposed to but don’t want to impose my views on other people.” The incongruity of that position has been exposed many times now. As I’ve asked previously, would we let any politician get away with the same pathetic cop-out on other issues: “I’m personally opposed to . . . racial discrimination, sexual abuse, prostitution, drug abuse, polygamy, incest . . . but don’t want to impose my beliefs on others?”
Why is it that when I hear someone explaining this position, I think of the sad figure of Pontius Pilate in the Gospels, who personally found no guilt in Jesus, but for fear of the crowd, washed his hands of the whole affair and handed Jesus over to be crucified. I can just hear Pilate saying, “You know, I’m personally opposed to crucifixion but I don’t want to impose my belief on others.” ...
Ouch. After also calling out Democratic Catholics like Ted Kennedy, John Kerry and Joe Biden (he's non-partisan) Bishop Thomas Tobin concludes as follows:
Oh well, as you can see by now, I won’t be attending the fundraiser for Rudy Giuliani. If Rudy wants to see me, he’ll have to arrange an appointment at my office. We’ll talk about his position on abortion. And if he wants a photo, it will cost him $1,500 as a donation for the pro-life work of the Church.
I suppose a Rudy 2008 yard sign wouldn't be welcome...?
The media operates off of broad narratives, which are usually only belatedly shaken, and then, only by major explosions of fact. For example, even as his poll numbers continued to decline throughout 2004, President Bush was still routinely tagged as "a very popular president," with that line almost obligatory in any story about him. Other narratives that became common, even when common sense dictated otherwise included:
"John McCain is a maverick!" -- even as he became more slavishly devoted to the president and more cagey with the media ...
"The Bush administration is the most disciplined in recent history!" -- even as leaks continued to pour out of the White House and disarray was clearly evident in their policies, especially Iraq ...
"The Clinton administration was corrupt!" -- that used to be the narrative back in the 1990s, when fulminations over the Whitewater scandalette, in which no White House officials were indicted was whipped up into a serial story, while the more recent CIA leak scandal, in which the top aide to the vice president of the United States was both indicted and convicted, received only scant coverage. To add to the outrage, to this day, one major "liberal media" outlet -- CBS News -- has still declined to cover the firings of eight U.S. attorneys in unprecedented fashion by the Justice Department, and only MSNBC has bothered to delve into the larger implications regarding minority communities' right to vote.
"The Clintons are involved in a marriage of political convenience!" -- even though they have chosen to remain together, and are each other's only spouse, and despite the fact that their closest friends and associates insist that they truly are in love.
The Bush narrative was totally exploded with Hurricane Katrina, and since then, a new narrative has emerged: The Bush administration is in disarray, leaning toward incompetent. The media, therefore, has finally given itself permission to critique them. After 9/11, that permission was voluntarily withdrawn, and the "Bush is popular" narrative took over.
Let's try another, which still hasn't broken its stranglehold on the mainstream media elite:
"Rudy Giuliani is the hero of 9/11!" -- this one is the most irksome to me, because I lived in New York City under Giuliani's administration, and know him to have been less a heroic than a tyrannical and hated figure, loathed by most New Yorkers on September 10, 2001, yet given credit on that terrible day for being the only public official talking -- George W. Bush having scurried out of that Florida classroom to go into hiding. Beside the fact that any other mayor would have, and should have, done the same thing, and the fact that the mayors of Washington D.C. and Shanksville, PA did, Giuliani was tagged, not only "America's mayor," but someone considered instantly qualified to be president of the United States -- with "credibility on the war on terror" to boot -- despite never having served in the military, led a single aspect of the actual war on terror, and despite having not an ounce of foreign policy experience. What's the disconnect, here? Add to that that the likes of Chris Matthews on MSNBC has continued to obsess over the Clinton marriage, but will not discuss the relationship "issues" inherent in the multiple Giuliani marriages, even dismissing Gloria Borger this weekend on his "Chris Matthews show" on NBC with a "nobody's perfect" side swipe when she tried to counter his Clinton marriage obsession by asking who on the Republican side would serve as the family values candidate, thrice married Rudy...???
But I digress.
Back to the MSM's narrative building. Witness a recent story about Giuliani -- who is loathed by NYC firefighters for his calousness after 9/11 in not allowing sufficient time for the bodies of their brothers to be retrieved from the wreckage of the Twin Towers -- being heckled by families of those same firefighters. The story appeared in an obscure New York newspaper, and notedly, not in Giuliani's home paper, the New York Times, which on the same day chose to run the feel-good Rudy headline: To Temper Image, Giuliani Trades Growl for Smile. How nice. Here's the story from the Long Island Press:
Rudy Giuliani’s campaign fundraising was marred by critical questions on Tuesday, as reporters and protesters demanded answers about his role in the Sept. 11, 2001 proceedings.
During Giuliani’s visit to City Island in the Bronx Tuesday morning, one stop in his visit to four of the five New York City boroughs, he was accused by a radical group of being one of the “criminals of 9/11.”
After conversing with a reporter outside the Sea Shore restaurant, Giuliani was approached by a woman claiming to be a relative of a firefighter who perished when the World Trade Center towers fell in the Sept. 11 attacks. The woman wanted to know why Giuliani did not try to stop police and firefighters from attempting rescue. She added that he allegedly told Peter Jennings the towers would not collapse but knew they would, thus sending rescue workers to their deaths. A young man from the same group voiced similar accusations, cutting Giuliani off when he tried to correct the woman. ...
Okay, let's break that down. Later in the story, they point out who the "radical group" was: the Skyscraper Safety Campaign. Here's what the group says on its website:
The Skyscraper Safety Campaign, (SSC), is a project of parents and relatives who lost loved ones in the September 11th attack at the World Trade Center. While condemning the terrorists' attack, the campaign is dedicated to finding out why and how the WTC collapsed, to ensuring that quality, safety and security are priorities in rebuilding lower Manhattan and to reforming New York City building codes. SSC represents several hundred family members of firefighters and other victims who since October 2001 have pressed for an independent federal investigation to examine the interrelated events that lead to the WTC disaster, identify failures that were preventable, and make specific recommendations for improved building codes, regulations and procedures.
On September 11, Christian Regenhard, a 28-year old firefighter, was killed in the rescue effort at the WTC. His mother, Sally Regenhard, began asking questions convinced that tower construction and fire safety had been inadequate. Unable to get answers from the agencies involved, she began uniting widows and parents to form the Skyscraper Safety Campaign and reached out to fire engineering experts. At a press conference at City Hall, she presented a petition signed by relatives of WTC victims and firefighters calling for "an independent federal panel to study the building construction, the integrity of the materials used and all the conditions that combined to cause the tragedy." SSC also organized delegations to congressional hearings in Washington, D.C. In June 2002, a federal investigation was launched to examine weaknesses in the WTC, evaluate fire-prevention systems and fire department response.
Joining Sally in the SSC is Co-chair Monica Gabrielle, who lost her husband Richard, an employee of AON Corp., WTC2/103floor. He was last seen alive, waiting to be rescued, on the 78th Floor of Tower 2. Both Christian and Richard have not been recovered.
So the group isn't all that radical, and they're not "claiming" to be related to New York City firefighters, they ARE related to New York City firefighters. But of course, if they are questioning the heroism and purity of America's mayor, they must be either radical, liars, or insane. Oh, and check out their PhD filled board of directors. Muy radical...
WNBC were kind enough to call the "radicals" "activists" instead. Thanks, guys.
There's always something interesting going on at Wayne Madsen's blogspot. In a May 23rd posting, Madsen details ABC News' decision to spike the D.C. madam story aired on the 4th of the month, by stripping it of the names of high profile johns, including some within the Bush administration. Madsen charges that ABC not only scuttled the report by Brian Ross, former TPM Muckraker Justin Rood and others, but that they also put out "false flag" stories to deflect the story, under heavy pressure from the Bushies. Madsen also connects the following dots:
The Washington Madam case also involves criminal conspiracy and malfeasance within the Justice Department, Internal Revenue Service, and Postal Inspection Service. Palfrey's case file was not opened until June 2004 after she had been in business for over a decade without any pressure from the government. After Baltimore Police Commissioner and later Maryland State Police Superintendent Ed Norris was charged in May 2004 with three criminal counts by US Attorney Thomas DiBiagio, the IRS opened a file on Palfrey the following month. It is clear that with Norris, a 20 year veteran of the New York Police Department, facing up to 30 years in prison, he entered into a plea bargain with DiBiagio. In return for his cooperation, which included Norris naming Pamela Martin as one of the recipients of Baltimore Police supplemental accounts money, he got six months in prison and six months home detention. Norris now hosts a radio show in Baltimore.
DiBiagio's assistant US Attorney Jonathan Luna, who once worked at the Brooklyn District Attorneys' office when a probe was being conducted of both Norris and his friend, former New York Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, was on to Norris' corruption in Baltimore. Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley appointed Norris as police commissioner but soon became disenchanted with his performance. After his re-election as Governor in 2002, Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich appointed Norris as Maryland State Police Superintendent. Luna was brutally murdered near the Pennsylvania Turnpike in December 2003.
Norris' cooperation with DiBiagio resulted in Palfrey's criminal case being opened in Baltimore subsequent to Norris' plea bargain. However, Palfrey, who merely ran an escort agency, was never a target of DiBiagio we have been informed. During his probe of Norris and Palfrey, DiBiagio had uncovered much wider criminal conduct by Maryland Republican Governor Ehrlich, convicted GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff, and gambling interests hoping to open casinos in Maryland. In fact, the DiBiagio probe collected evidence that Ehrlich and Abramoff were Pamela Martin clients. DiBiagio's probe was gaining steam until December 2004. That is when DiBiagio became the first U.S. Attorney fired by the Justice Department in the wake of George W. Bush's re-election. However, with the corporate media in the pocket of the Bush administration, DiBiagio's name is not counted among the fired U.S. Attorneys, yet, his firing was the most egregious of the firings. DiBiagio was actively pursuing a Republican Governor, a GOP lobbyist linked to several Republican members of Congress, most notably convicted Ohio congressman Bob Ney; Representatives, Tom DeLay, Tom Feeney, and John Doolittle; as well as top staffers to Senators Conrad Burns, Kit Bond, and Representatives Roy Blunt and Don Young. The trail also leads to Shirlington Limousine, CIA Director Porter Goss -- Dick Cheney's handpicked man to purge the agency -- , CIA Executive Director Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, and convicted Representative Duke Cunningham.
After DiBiagio's ouster, the Palfrey investigation was out on ice. However, that all began to change when Palfrey put her Vallejo, California house up for sale in August 2006. She planned to move to Germany. In early September, there was some interest in the house, however, the phone number left with World Star Realty turned out to be bogus. It was clear that while Palfrey was on a trip to Germany, unknown persons were interested in seeing her home, not with the intention of buying it but with other motivations. However, Palfrey did not leave a key with her real estate agent while she was out of the country. On September 27, after Palfrey wired $70,000 to Germany in order to purchase an apartment, the government reacted rapidly.
On September 29, Washington DC Postal Inspection Service agents Maria Cuvio and Joe Clark showed up at World Star Realty and claimed they were married and were being transferred from Washington to San Francisco and wanted to buy Palfrey's house quickly. It was clear they were conducting a ruse while a search warrant was being obtained from a willing Federal judge. Oddly, when the warrant was obtained and a Civil Asset Forfeiture order was obtained, IRS agent Burrus was not interested in Palfrey's phone records located in her house.
Considering the fact that a top Washington DC law firm that represents Saudi Arabia was a subject of the phone lists, it is odd that the Federal government would not have wanted to cull the records for information relating to prominent and not-so-prominent Arab clients and the 9/11 attacks. The significance of Jack Abramoff's role in DiBiagio's investigation should not be understated with regard to Arab clients of Pamela Martin. The FBI received evidence that two or three of the 9/11 hijackers, including Mohammed Atta, were spotted on Abramoff's Sun Cruz casino boat with American women in Madeira Beach, Florida shortly before the 9/11 attacks. Also, several of the hijackers were known to frequent erotic dancing bars in New Jersey and Florida while planning for the 9/11 attacks. There is also a possibility that, through Abramoff, some so-called "Al Qaeda" cells, as well as Saudi embassy diplomats in the Washington and Baltimore areas, may have engaged the services of prostitutes.
The timing of the Federal government's quick seizure of Palfrey's assets and forcing her back from Germany is suspect considering that the Maryland gubernatorial election between Ehrlich and O'Malley was a month away. At the end of September, the race was considered close. The Bush administration was obviously worried that Palfrey took her "black book" to Germany and the contents might have ended up in the pages of Der Spiegel or Stern. In fact, there was no Heidi Fleiss-type "black book," but the government did not know that. The Bush administration's asset seizure was merely a ploy to get Palfrey to return to the United States. The failure of the government's young and inexperienced agents to seize Palfrey's 46 pounds of phone records was a monumental blunder on the part of the IRS and Postal Inspectors. That is why Assistant U.S. Attorney William Cowden has been so adamant in his requests to Judge Kessler to keep the records from further release.
Palfrey and her attorney has called for the appointment of a Special Counsel in the Palfrey case. That certainly seems warranted after one of the Pamela Martin clients retained the law firm of Bracewell & Giuliani. Rudolph Giuliani was New York Mayor during the time Norris and Kerik were under a criminal probe by the Brooklyn District Attorney. Pamela Martin clients also lived in New York. We now have a murdered Assistant U.S. Attorney, a fired U.S. Attorney, several high-profile and blackmailable "johns," and the involvement of the law firm of a presidential candidate involved in defending one of the escort agency's high profile clients. This unfolding story has merely shown the tip of a huge iceberg.
That's a lot of dots, but sadly, I find it harder to believe that there's nothing there, than to believe that there is.
One thing, though, I sure wish Madsen would update his blog to make it possible to link directly to individual stories...
It's pretty hilarious watching the major presidential candidates scurry away from Ted Kennedy and John McCain's immigration compromise with the president. The vibe I'm getting online is that McCain is finished, as far as the right is concerned, and Tom Tancredo and Duncan Hunter are looking like aging rock stars -- beloved by the masses but with no shot at getting to number one. Mitt Romney has flopped himself onto the politically "right" side regarding the bill (surprise, surprise) and Giuliani is very quietly for it. As for the Dems?
Hil hasn't read it ...
Obama's carefully studying it ...
Edwards is somewhat troubled ...
Richardson hasn't said...
You get the picture. Nobody with any political ambition beyond their current job wants to touch this.
As for other elected Dems: so far, they're cool to the proposal. Maybe they're just wary of doing anything further with the president.
Meanwhile: Fred Thompson is running for president. How do I know? Because like Hillary in the first debate regarding how to respond to a terror attack, he nailed the answer on the immigration compromise, as far as the GOP base is concerned:
“We should scrap this bill and the whole debate until we can convince the American people that we have secured the borders or at least have made great headway.”
"Rudy's top priority and main objective is to ensure our borders are secure and to stop potential terrorists and criminals from coming in. The recent Fort Dix plot is a stark reminder that the threat of terrorism has made immigration an important matter of national security. We need to know who is coming in and who is going out of this country if we are going to deal with those who are here illegally.”
James Dobson, head of the sprawling evangelical group Focus on the Family, has joined fellow evanglical leader Richard Land in saying there's no way he'd vote for Rudy Giuliani for president. Rather, he said if faced with the Hobsons/Dobson's choice of Rudy v. Hillary or Barack Obama, he would "vote for an also ran" or for no one at all, failing to cast a ballot for president for the first time in his adult life. Dobson's key complaints about Rudy?
How could Giuliani say with a straight face that he "hates" abortion," while also seeking public funding for it? How can he hate abortion and contribute to Planned Parenthood in 1993, 1994, 1998 and 1999? And how was he able for many years to defend the horrible procedure by which the brains are sucked from the heads of viable, late-term, un-anesthetized babies? Those beliefs are philosophically and morally incompatible. What kind of man would even try to reconcile them?
This self-styled defender of marriage says he is "proud" of having submitted, as New York's mayor, a bill creating "domestic partnerships" for homosexual couples. Admittedly, many liberal Americans will agree with the social positions espoused by Giuliani. However, I don't believe conservative voters whose support he seeks will be impressed. Presidential elections are won or lost by slim margins. Rudy has an uphill slog ahead of him, even though he is the darling of the media.
There are other moral concerns about Giuliani's candidacy that conservatives should find troubling. He has been married three times, and his second wife was forced to go to court to keep his mistress out of the mayoral mansion while the Giuliani family still lived there. Talk about tap dancing. Also during that time, the mayor used public funds to provide security services for his girlfriend. The second Mrs. Giuliani finally had enough of his philandering and, as the story goes, forced him to move out. He lived with friends for a while and then married his mistress. Unlike some other Republican presidential candidates, Giuliani appears not to have remorse for cheating on his wife.
Harry Truman asked, "How can I trust a man if his wife can't?" It is a very good question. Here's another one: Is Rudy Giuliani presidential timber? I think not. Can we really trust a chief executive who waffles and feigns support for policies that run contrary to his alleged beliefs? Of greater concern is how he would function in office. Will we learn after it is too late just what the former mayor really thinks? What we know about him already is troubling enough.
Cross-dressing (the real kind, not the political kind, like what he initially did on the subject of abortion):
One more question: Shouldn't the American people be able to expect a certain decorum and dignity from the man who occupies the White House? On this measure, as well, Giuliani fails miserably. Much has been written in the blogosphere about his three public appearances in drag. In each instance, he tried to be funny by dressing like a woman. Can you imagine Ronald Reagan, who loved a good joke, doing something so ignoble in pursuit of a cheap guffaw? Not on your life.
That about sums it up for Dobson. (Read Dobson's full column here.) According to John King of CNN, evangelical leaders like Dobson and Land are "working behind the scenes, not in an organized fashion ... yet ... but definitely working ... to derail Giuliani as a presidential nominee. King also reported that many of these leaders are quietly coalescing around a Fred Thompson candidacy. (I can't see them going for cheatin' Newt.) Pat Buchanan on MSNBC this afternoon said that if Giuliani were to be elected president, he would "move to that country Alec Baldwin said he would move to" if George W. Bush got elected in 2004.
With Jerry Falwell gone, and Pat Robertson certifiably insane, Dobson now moves to the front of the queue as the pied piper of evangelical voters seeking direction on what Jesus would do come election time. That is, unless his theological and economic rival, the relatively tolerant Rick Warren (whose philosphy is more about giving back than handing out chastity belts and damning people to hell) gets political first, on the side of "moderate" Republicanism. (I can't see that happening, though. Warren is an expert marketer. Like an NBA player, he'll probably keep his politics to himself so as not to turn off any potential fans.)
Oh, and that Ohio poll showing Rudy leading John McCain 23% to 17%, that's less than a quarter of the total vote take, and a far cry from the high thirties and low forties Giuliani was commanding just months ago. I'd guess that 20 points of Rudy's total is based on name recognition and 9/11 nostalgia among the Islamophobic right wing wackjob, "24" obsessed set.
The biggest problem for the evangelicals is, who else have they got? Thompson is pretty good for the GOPers, though apparently he's not much of a speech giver.
For Giulini's part, his camp isn't commenting on Dobson. But they're likely doing some quick math on whether, given Rudy's pro-amnesty stance on immigration, they might be able to gain in Hispanic votes what they could lose in evangelicals (angry white males aren't exactly at a premium, I think the GOP has maxed out on them.) So who's party is it, anyway?
It stays interesting...
Update: Witness what happens when this Red Stater attempts to stump for Rudy (scroll down to the comments section. Kapow!)
Update 2: You might want to add welfare reform and illegal immigration to Rudy's list of conservative wrongs. A couple of things I grabbed from the aforementined RedState comments section: On September 11, 1996 (ironic, no?) Giuliani delivered a speech giving rather tepid support to the vaunted welfare reform bill signed by then President Bill Clinton. Besides not really being strongly for it, despite his current claims to welfare cutting fame, Giuliani also delivered this interesting aside:
... there is one aspect of the bill that has immediate application, and one that I believe raises serious constitutional and legal questions. And it is part of the Bill people pay very little attention to, and I'm not certain many knew it was in the bill when they passed it. It's a provision that attempts to reverse an executive order that New York City has had in existence since 1988 which basically says that New York City will create a zone of protection for illegal and undocumented immigrants who are seeking the protection of the police or seeking medical services because they are sick or attempting to or actually putting their children in public schools so they can be educated.
New York City's Executive Order 124, signed by Mayor Koch in 1988 protected people in that endeavor by instructing employees of New York City that they are not to turn in those names into the Immigration and Naturalization Service. That has been the source of great debate from the time Mayor Koch signed it until now. There has been at least three or four attempts by Congress to reverse that executive order.
I'm sure many of you may not remember this, but because I was intimately involved with it I remember it very well. In one of the late versions of the crime bill there was an amendment and the purpose of this amendment was to say that if any city wanted to benefit from the proceeds of the crime bill or money coming from the crime bill, they could not have an executive order like Executive Order 124; they would have to reverse it.
In fact, that same year, as part of an education bill in which education funds were being distributed to the various states throughout the country there was a provision included in it that said if you did anything like Executive Order 124 and give this kind of protection you would be deprived of funds for education and, due to very strong lobbying efforts, I'm delighted to say these provisions were defeated in the past. ...
Hm... so the crime bill that Bill Clinton signed prohibited giving special 'zones of protection' to illegal immigrants, but Giuliani opposed it? And he was advocating such zones of protection, giving illegal migrants access to police, medical and educational services, five years to the day, before 9/11, yet now, he says the Fort Dix Three are a reason to secure the borders... are you GOPers sure this guy is a conservative?
By the way, Giuliani's camp has issued a statement on today's "path to citizenship" compromise that's as ambiguous as Rudy's MSNBC debate answers about abortion.
Questions are being raised over Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani's policy on terrorism, after a report revealed he has strong ties to two foreign investment consortia working to own or lease U.S. toll roads, including the Trans-Texas Corridor 35, which is identified as part of the I-35 "NAFTA Superhighway."
Although he opposed NAFTA in 1993, Giuliani recently declined to call for building a fence on the United States border with Mexico, and he has supported a guest-worker program.
Now comes a new report about Giuliani's involvement with public-private-partnership projects that include NAFTA Superhighway funding and his open borders record on immigration questions, all of which could undermine his otherwise tough policy on terrorism that has resulted from the 9/11 role Giuliani played in managing New York City's response to the attacks on the World Trade Center.
Giuliani's Houston-based law firm, Bracewell & Giuliani, is identified by the Texas Department of Transportation as the sole law firm representing Cintra Concesiones de Infraestructuras de Transporte, S.A., the Spanish investment consortium that has joined with Zachry Construction Company in San Antonio on the TTC project. WND previously reported that TTC-35 is the new four-football-fields-wide car-truck-train-pipeline corridor to be built parallel to the existing I-35 as the Texas segment of the emerging Mexico-to-Canada I-35 NAFTA Superhighway.
And is Rudy lying to try and evade responsibility for the single dumbest decision made in the wake of the first World Trade Center bombings in 1993, shortly after he was elected mayor?
Joseph J. Lhota, who was a deputy mayor and top aide during Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani’s two terms, said this afternoon that it was preposterous for Jerome M. Hauer to deny responsibility for the recommendation to place the city’s emergency operations center in 7 World Trade Center, which was destroyed on Sept. 11, 2001.
The controversy has exposed the bitter rift between Mr. Hauer and Mr. Giuliani, who hired Mr. Hauer to be the first director of the city’s Office of Emergency Management, from 1996 to 2000. The two men eventually had a public falling-out, and in 2001, Mr. Hauer endorsed Mark Green, a Democrat, in Mr. Green’s unsuccessful bid to succeed Mr. Giuliani, a Republican.
On Sunday, Mr. Giuliani told Fox News Channel that the decision to house the Office of Emergency Management’s command center at 7 World Trade Center was based largely on the recommendation of Mr. Hauer.
Today, Lloyd Grove of Daily Intelligencer reported that Mr. Hauer had written a memo in February 1996 to Peter J. Powers, then the first deputy mayor, recommending the MetroTech Center in Downtown Brooklyn as the best site for the command center. Mr. Hauer said that he had been told by Dennison Young Jr., a top aide to Mr. Giuliani, that the mayor would not accept a Brooklyn location.
A copy of the Feb. 14, 1996, memo [pdf] obtained by The Times lists 8 “pros” and 6 “cons” for the MetroTech Center. No. 3 on the list of pros is: “The building is secure and not as visible a target as buildings in Lower Manhattan.”
You'll want to read that there memo. It shows that Hauer clearly favored the Metrotech site, which I know well, having lived not too far from it. It's within eyeshot of the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges, near downtown Brooklyn. But again, Rudy didn't have much fondness for going to Brooklyn. And Rudy's current attempt to blame Hauer for his own poor decisions is as gutless as it is slimey -- classic Rudy. As Hauer told Lloyd Grove:
"Rudy's getting a lot of heat for the decision," Hauer said. "He's trying to run on his homeland-security and national-security background, and if you start peeling back the skin on the errors he made when he was mayor, you take away a lot of the basis for his candidacy." Hauer added: "I feel sad that he would betray somebody that had served him loyally in the past, and I'm angry, too. But when you get to know Rudy, you know that this is the kind of thing he does. That's just his personality."
Amen. Think Hauer will cut a commercial for one of Rudy's opponents? Count on it.
The Washington Times says evangelicals are coalescing around Fred Thompson. Says one unnamed leader:
"It's the moment of truth for conservatives ... Either social conservatives rally to stop a Giuliani nomination and victory for him in November 2008 or our issues -- abortion, same-sex marriage, the preservation of the family -- are permanently off the Republican Party agenda."
That about sums it up. And besides, do you really want the guy who allowed firefighters and other workers to breathe the polluted air post-9/11 to run our country? Signs among New Yorkers point to "no."
Rudy Giuliani and Bernard Kerik, crimeys to the end
What do you do with the good will of the world, after you've done your duty as mayor of New York City, comforting a shaken public after the terror attacks of September 11, 2001? If you're Rudy Giuliani, you use your newfound fame to make yourself rich:
In Private Sector, Giuliani Parlayed Fame Into Wealth Candidate's Firm Has Taken On Controversial Executives, Clients
By John Solomon and Matthew Mosk Washington Post Staff Writers Sunday, May 13, 2007; Page A01
On Dec. 7, 2001, nearly three months after the terrorist attack that had made him a national hero and a little over three weeks before he would leave office, New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani took the first official step toward making himself rich.
The letter he dispatched to the city Conflicts of Interest Board that day asked permission to begin forming a consulting firm with three members of his outgoing administration. The company, Giuliani said, would provide "management consulting service to governments and business" and would seek out partners for a "wide-range of possible business, management and financial services" projects.
Over the next five years, Giuliani Partners earned more than $100 million, according to a knowledgeable source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the firm's financial information is private. And that success helped transform the Republican considered the front-runner for his party's 2008 presidential nomination from a moderately well-off public servant into a globe-trotting consultant whose net worth is estimated to be in the tens of millions of dollars. ...
Rudy soon hired his pal Bernie Kerik, who would later be convicted on corruption charges, along with two other friends: Pasquale J. D'Amuro, a former high ranking FBI executive and counterterrorism expert, who would later "retire" after it was disclosed that he looted "mementos" from Ground Zero, and then there's this guy:
... Alan Placa, an old friend who resigned as vice chancellor of the Diocese of Rockville Centre on Long Island a week after being confronted by Newsday with allegations that former parishioners had been abused. The newspaper published portions of a 2003 Suffolk County grand jury report in which accusers said he used his position to stifle complaints of abuse by clergy.
And who were some of Rudy's secret clients? Why, they included:
Giuliani Partners was hired in December 2002 by Florida-based Seisint, Inc. to help market its data-mining product called Matrix. The product got a high-level airing in the White House in January 2003 at a meeting attended by Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, FBI Director Robert Mueller and Vice President Dick Cheney. At that meeting, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, the president's brother, gave a presentation in favor of the product. But by late 2003, reports surfaced that Seisint chief Hank Asher, a Giuliani friend, had smuggled cocaine into the United States earlier in his life. The Matrix project eventually fizzled and questions were then raised inside Seisint about the size of the firm's compensation.
Connecticut drug manufacturer Purdue Pharma hired Giuliani Partners in May 2002 as the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Food and Drug Administration began investigating a wave of overdose deaths attributed to the firm's powerful and lucrative painkiller, OxyContin. The agencies had started looking into the pain product's illicit use as a recreational drug, and probing lax security at the company's manufacturing plants in New Jersey and North Carolina. A week before the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, the former mayor joined then-DEA Administrator Asa Hutchinson and then-Attorney General John Ashcroft for the opening of new exhibit at the DEA's traveling museum and lent his star power to luncheon that day that raised about $20,000 for the DEA Foundation. In June 2004 U.S. prosecutors announced that the Purdue Pharma affiliate that ran the Totowa, New Jersey plant would pay $2 million to settle the investigation and the drugmaker would not have to admit wrongdoing or take its product off the shelf.
In January 2003, Giuliani Partners landed a $4.3 million contract to tackle Mexico City's vexing crime problems. His firm delivered a 146-point plan that the city's public security secretary, Marcelo Ebrard, trumpeted as an antidote to the city's longstanding crime scourge. Ebrard, now the city's mayor, said in a recent local television interview that many of the recommendations have in fact been implemented. Other Mexican leaders have described the contract with Giuliani as a "$4 million publicity stunt."
Sounds like a nice way to make a living, if you can get away with it.
Rudolph Giuliani and his consulting company, Giuliani Partners, have served as key advisors for the last five years to the pharmaceutical company that pled guilty today to charges it misled doctors and patients about the addiction risks of the powerful narcotic painkiller OxyContin.
Federal officials say the company, Purdue Frederick, helped to trigger a nationwide epidemic of addiction to the time-release painkiller by failing to give early warnings that it could be abused.
Prosecutors say "in the process scores died."
Drug Enforcement Administration officials tell the Blotter on ABCNews.com Giuliani personally met with the head of the DEA when the DEA's drug diversion office began a criminal investigation into the company.
According to the book "Painkiller," by New York Times reporter Barry Meier, both Giuliani and his then-partner Bernard Kerik "were in direct contact with Asa Hutchinson, the administrator of DEA."
And then, according to ABC News' "The Blotter", led by the exceptional Brian Ross, it gets worse:
Hutchinson told the Blotter on ABCNews.com today that Giuliani asked for a meeting, "and we gave him a meeting." Hutchinson says he was aware the company was under investigation at the time, and "any time a company is under investigation I like to give them a chance to make their case."
Kerik told New York Magazine at the time that Giuliani had raised $15,000 in donations for a "traveling museum operated by the DEA."
Some officials told ABC News there were questions inside the agency of whether the donations were an attempt to influence the DEA.
Meier wrote that "with Giuliani now in the mix, the pace of DEA's investigation into Purdue's OxyContin plant in New Jersey slowed as Hutchinson repeatedly summoned division officials to his office to explain themselves and their reasons for continuing the inquiry."
Giuliani publicly praised the company, Purdue Frederick, when it hired him in May 2002 for an undisclosed amount. "Purdue has demonstrated its commitment to fighting this problem," he said, referring to the issue of drug addiction.
According to Giuliani Partners, Kerik, a New York City police commissioner under Giuliani, was in charge of helping Purdue improve security at the New Jersey plant.
Nice. Just the kind of guy you want in the White House.
Rudy Giuliani says George W. Bush will go down in history as a great president. Unfortunately, Rudy is very much alone in that belief. But for a few stalwarts, most Americans believe Mr. Bush to be an abject failure. In fact, only 28 percent of Americans int he latest Newsweek poll approve of the job Bush is doing as president. In the same poll, any of the top Democratic contenders would beat any of the Republicans, Rudy included, if the presidential election were held today. No surprise there. (One possible surprise, Barack Obama, who is becoming the darling not only of the media, but also of some prominent former Bush Republicans, does the best of the top tier Dems against the GOP's top guns.)
With the dawning of another day, the completeness of Rudy Giuliani's screw-up in last night's debate becomes more and more clear. Giuliani, asked a round robin question about whether the overturning of Roe v. Wade would be a good day for America, chose to elaborate on his flippant answer of "it would by okay..." and then did so to disastrous effect. Said Giuliani, who was ninth in line to answer the question, and preceded by a string of "yesses" (meaning it would be a great day), told his red meat craving Republican audience of Reaganites:
"It would be OK to repeal it. It would be OK also if a strict constructionist viewed it as precedent."
He then went on to publicly support public funding of abortions, but only in New York, and despite the fact that he "hates" them (abortions). Well, as a pro-life Democrat, I suppose that's just fine, if a bit all over the place. But, and here's the key part: I'M NOT RUNNING FOR THE REPUBLICAN NOMINATION FOR PRESIDENT WITH A BASE OF RIGHT WING CHRISTIAN CONSERVATIVES.
Reactions from the wingersphere?
Redstate ponders the vicissitudes of Rudy's thoughts on abortion.
Wizbang has a decent roundup of winger reax, and Auntie Kim has not a word about Rudy therein. Here's something on which Kim and I actually agree
I was amazed at how inane the questions were. What's with "do you believe in evolution?" With all the turmoil going on in the world, that's a question Matthews chose to use? Or "would it be good for America for Bill Clinton to be back in the White House?" What kinds of question is that? Although I loved Romney's reaction: "You've got to be kidding."
As to the scoring, I think it was a clear win for Romney, with the only possible dent being his rather egregious flip floppery on abortion. I'm told righties really liked Mike Huckabee, too. However, it appears the punditocracy is congealing around my conventional wisdom.
According to our poll, Drudge’s poll, and many bloggers, Romney won the debate. I’ve got to say, I’m not a Romney guy, but he came off as the winner to me. However, he also won the “invoke Reagan as much as you can” award. It would be interesting to see Fred Thompson debate this “incomplete crowd.”
What's interesting is that Rudy's performance last night has actually earned him some stripes with Democrat and probably with Independent political watchers. Maybe that's his strategy -- catapult over the GOP primary and into the general election debate. Maybe he was running for California. The problem, though, is that in order to get to California you have to go through South Carolina first. Perhaps Rudy is figuring that he can afford to lose the early contests, with a look toward winning the more moderate Super Duper Tuesday States on February 5th, including Nevada and California. We'll see...
Meanwhile, Ms. Malkin has a good roundup of conservablog reax. Best line so far:
A HA commenter on Rudy's NYC talking points: "I love you Rudy and I want to vote for you, but if I hear you rewind that 'Rudy Crime Statistics' tape one more time I’m going to go hang myself."
As Chris "Clinton Obsessive" Mathews would say, Ha!
Rudy Giuliani dropped the ball on abortion on at least three occasions, but on one of his answers, he also raised a question. Giuliani said that regarding public funding of abortion, he supports the Hyde Amendment, and that the states should make the decision on public funding. He also said he supported public funding of abortion in New York (after a few "ums" and "uhs") but that other states "can come to a different conclusion." So what is the Hyde Amendment? Let's ask the ACLU:
Passed by Congress in 1976, the Hyde Amendment excludes abortion from the comprehensive health care services provided to low-income people by the federal government through Medicaid. Congress has made some exceptions to the funding ban, which have varied over the years. At present, the federal Medicaid program mandates abortion funding in cases of rape or incest, as well as when a pregnant woman's life is endangered by a physical disorder, illness, or injury.
Most states have followed the federal government's lead in restricting public funding for abortion. Currently only seventeen states fund abortions for low-income women on the same or similar terms as other pregnancy-related and general health services. (See map.) Four of these states provide funding voluntarily (HI, MD, NY,1 and WA); in thirteen, courts interpreting their state constitutions have declared broad and independent protection for reproductive choice and have ordered nondiscriminatory public funding of abortion (AK, AZ, CA, CT, IL, MA, MN, MT, NJ, NM, OR, VT, and WV).2 Thirty-two of the remaining states pay for abortions for low-income women in cases of life-endangering circumstances, rape, or incest, as mandated by federal Medicaid law.3 (A handful of these states pay as well in cases of fetal impairment or when the pregnancy threatens "severe" health problems, but none provides reimbursement for all medically necessary abortions for low-income women.) Finally, one state (SD) fails even to comply with the Hyde Amendment, instead providing coverage only for lifesaving abortions.
So Rudy supports the idea of restricting government funding of abortions for low income women through Medicaid, except in New York? Color me confused.
And here are Rudy's headlines for tomorrow, which I'm sure his campaign won't enjoy:
You get the picture. The trouble for Rudy is that by tomorrow, that soundbite -- that it would be "just ok for him" to use a Randy Jacksonism, if Roe v. Wade was overturned, will be a Youtube video, then an anti-Rudy campaign commercial in the Bible Belt (Romney has the cash to do it) and a soundbite heard round the religious right world. In other words: it was a major mistake on the part of the purported frontrunner. He's been Youtubed on this before, and to his credit, he has never run from his position (I suppose the campaign has decided its better to be principled than a Romneyesque flip flopper.) But I'd guess that in the case of abortion, Romney is the one who has made the right moves. His only test will be to convince the righties that his conversion is sincere. Giuliani must convince them to accept a man who will not convert at all. Much higher bar.
I think it's hard to come away from tonight's GOP debate with any other conclusion but that Mitt Romney emerged as the strongest, most articulate and confident candidate on the stage. Coupled with his impressive fundraising (with the caveat that most of it was from Utah, so he'll have to broaden that out), I think Romney should, all other things being equal, get the biggest bounce from the debate. (Gilmore did well, too, but he lacks the charisma that Romney has.)
I think it's also clear that Rudy Giuliani failed to live up to expectations. He was flat, emphasized at least three times his pro-choice stance on abortion, repeated his New York City record so many times it became annoying, and made a point of tagging himself as the guy who can work with Democrats -- not a good look in a primary fueled by people who loathe Democrats.
Going into tonight, Giuliani was already losing momentum in the polls. I wouldn't be suprised if he continues to drift downward. Going in, Quinnipiac had his lead down significantly:
27% said they support Giuliani, down from 40% who said than in early February.
14% said they support Thompson, who wasn't included in the February survey.
19% said they support Sen. John McCain, vs. 18% in February.
Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich were tied for third. Each had the support of 8%.
McCain came off a bit desperate for me, like an old man trying really, really hard to sound young and tough. I don't think he hurt himself, but I don't think he helped himself either.
Outside the top tier, I think the most interesting person on stage was clearly Ron Paul. He'll probably enjoy a brief love affair with Democrats who will then be let down terribly when they find out exactly what a Libertarian thinks. Next to Paul, who upheld good old fashioned Goldwater Republican values quite well, I think Governor Jim Gilmore came off as the most impressive, from a policy standpoint. He will probably get a serious look as a secretary of state, no matter who wins the White House. Gilmore is now in the spin room saying that to his mind, neither Giuliani nor McCain are true conservatives, and Rudy, says Gilmore, hasn't represented himself as such.
Chris is now justifying his Hillary and Bill question, saying he thinks it would be the unifying principle of the GOP in the presidential campaign. But the answer elevated Hillary on the Democratic side, which has to piss of her Democratic rivals. None of the respondents took Chris' bait and attacked Bill. They all went after Hillary. I'll repeat my statement that the question was a waste of time, and an indulgence of Chris' Clinton hating fetish at the expense of serious voters who wanted to hear about issues tonight.
No surprise, Chris began by pitching Rudy a softball, asking how we get this country back to Reagan's "morning in America." Rudy stuffed in as much conservative boilerplate as he could.
McCain came out of the blocks charging on Iraq, taking on Harry Reid on his statement that the war is lost.
Tommy Thompson says the Iraqis should be required to vote if they want us in their countries, and if they vote no, we get out. He also suggests dividing Iraq into the 50 states of Iraq, split the oil reserves between federal, state and individual Iraqis.
Hunter: Bush boilerplate: "the key to winning in Iraq is standing up the Iraqi military."
To Romney, Politico's reporter asks why Americans shouldn't have a president who'll listen to them on Iraq. Romney says if we want a president who governs by polls, "we can just plug in the TVs and have them govern the country." Romney says he wants to get the troops out, but in a way that's not precipitous, and doesn't cause larger chaos. Initial impression: Romney seems very prepared, very polished, very smooth. That he has going for him.
Brownback: Chris asks him about polls showing increasing hostility in the Arab world against the U.S. Brownback: "I think we win the war by standing up for our values." Then he goes into how many people are really with us. Okay, tuning him out now... This guy is Bush lite...
Update 1: Least presidential so far: Tom Tancredo. He just hummed and hawed his way through an answer about what he would do if Israel said it would be attacking Iran soon.
Giuliani, meanwhile, has used the words Ronald Reagan in each of his answers.
Ron Paul is making the most sense, having said that non-intervention is both an American and a traditional Republican principle. Note he didn't say "practice," because that isn't true.
Most coherent so far: Jim Gilmore. He has made the point twice now that America must re-exert leadership around the world, by working with our allies. He just said "we can't allow a situation where people from Morocco to the Phillippines don't believe America has their best interests at heart. ... We have to represent the aspirations of people of good faith."
Most blow-dried: Romney.
Least interesting so far: Giuliani.
That's the end of the first round.
Now, the interactive round. McCain is asked if he would be comfortable with Tom Tancredo as the head of the INS. McCain's answer: "in a word, no." Then he zigged back to tracking Bin Laden, saying "I'd follow him to the gates of hell..."
McCain now asks a patented pander question. Should we change the Constitution to allow foreign born citizens like Arnold Schwarzenegger the chance to run for president. So far, it's all no's. Tommy Thompson says yes, after he serves his eight years. McCain said he'd consider it if Ahnold endorses him. Giuliani gave an odd answer about being afraid to say no to him, so yes.
Giuliani is asked if he learned or regretted anything about his tenure in NYC regarding race. So far, Giuliani says he learned much and regretted much, but that he worked hard to reduce crime, move people out of welfare, etc. Says "moved 660,000 people off welfare and that's the reason crime is down."
Romney is asked what he dislikes most about America. Romney played it like a job candidate, turning it around to how great America is. And he got in a kiss up to Nancy Reagan. I'm telling you, this guy is a used car salesman.
Huckabee gets a question from Boca about global warming. I find myself looking at the way Huckabee's suit fits ... sorry, back to his answer. He says God says we must be good stewards of the earth. Didn't really answer the question though.
Tancredo is asked about selling organs for transplants. Huh?
Duncan Hunter just answered a question about whether he's a compassionate conservative like George W. Bush with a yes, and a call for the U.S. to take military action against Iran.
Ron Paul says if he was president, he would abolish the IRS,
Next up: values.
Update 2: Would repeal of Roe be a good day for America? Yesses all the way around, except for Rudy, who says "it would be okay." He adds that "if a court ruled that it was precedent, that would be okay too." Tancredo goes one further, saying it would be "the greatest day." Gilmore says that his convictions on abortion 'have never changed throughout his public life. He then adds his record in VA about passing parental notification and 24 hour waiting period."
Thompson says Roe should be up to the states. First impression: Thompson is very, very boring.
Romney is called on the carpet for being "always for life" and "always pro-choice." Romney says he ran on a platform of upholding the law as is, though he is "personally pro life" and that he changed his mind on the road to Damascus ... er, stem cell research. Politically convenient, Mitt? He says cloning convinced him that "we have gone too far."
Brownback: could you support a nominee who is not pro-life? Brownback says yes, because the GOP is a 'big coalition party.' That might not have been the right answer for his base.
Giuliani gets a second shot, courtesy of his friend kiss, I mean Chris. Why do you support the use of public funds for abortion? Giuliani says "I don't. I support the Hyde amendment." In other words, it's up to each state. Chris gets out of him that he supported public funding for abortions in New York. I think that's Giuliani's second mistake tonight. His drawn out answer on abortion was mistake 1.
McCain's line of the night: "I may not be the youngest candidate up here, but I'm the most prepared." The question was about every cab driver knowing what Reagan stood for. "I don't want to be president of a failed nation, or a sad nation or a nation that thinks our best years are behind us. I want to be president of a proud nation."
Hunter jumps in saying me too on having and armed services background. You know what Duncan Hunter reminds me of? A mean school principal.
Huckabee has given us our second "city on a hill" reference. "We are a great nation because we are a culture of life. We celebrate life." We go search for people lost on Mount Hood, etc.
How to reconcile this moral leadership role of conservatism with libertarian, Goldwater conservatism, Ron Paul? "if the goal of government is to be the policeman of the world, you lose liberty. If the goal of government is liberty you unite people." ... "the moral principle is that of protecting liberty."
Thompson is asked whther an employer should be allowed to fire a gay worker. Thompson says it should be up to the employer. In other words, yes.
Romney is asked what he'd say to Roman Catholic bishops who would deny communion to a politician who supports abortion rights. Romney: "I wouldn't say anything to a Catholic bishop. They can do anything they want." This was Romney's opening to say we don't choose leaders based on their faith, and he seized it. Again, very smooth.
Huckabee is called on whether he criticizes Romney's saying his faith wouldn't affect his decision making. Huckabee says his faith does inform his politics.
Update 3: Governor Gilmore is asked by Chris if he would employ Karl Rove, whom he knows. Gilmore's answer was a good one: "what's important is not Karl Rove. What's important is how this government is run." Gilmore gets in the line that he's a "consistent conservative." Tancredo says Karl Rove would certainly not be in his White House, mainly because of their differences on immigration.
Chris asks Rudy if the influx of Christian conservatives has been good for the GOP. He says yes, then parries to say that neither party has a lock on virtue or vice, and that we have to bring in Democrats and Independents. He's reading his record again. Is saying we need to reach out to Democrats a good move in a primary debate? I think not. If it is in a mistake, Thompson just made it too. And he added that Republicans went wrong by going to Wahington to change it, but being changed by it. And he just gave us another Reagan big-up.
Brownback is asked about corruption and goes right to the one Democrat involved. Now he's saying we need to build stronger families and a stronger culture. Oh, here comes the conservative nanny state. Brownback just played the Imus card and said we've got music being sold with the same words. Sound like he's running for vice cop.
Tancredo on the same questions says the corruption thing is about individuals, not the party. Now he's going off track. He says regarding whether a centrist is the only way to go in order to win, Tancredo reminds that Reagan was no centrist and won California twice.
McCain is asked about the shots he took at Giuliani regarding incompetence and first responders. McCain says he was talking about special interests, not New York City. He immediately left that topic to say the GOP went off track by spending too much. Interesting that he didn't want to take that bait.
Jim Vandehei asks McCain what specific programs he'd cut. McCain says yes to the line item veto, yes to reducing costs for military spending cost overruns. No programs yet, but he says each unnamed program should justify its existence every year.
Huckabee asked to give the Bush administration a grade on its handling of the war. He says it's too early to give a grade.
Giuliani is put back in the spotlight on abortion. He says he "hates" abortion, encouraged adoption as mayor of New York City, but says "since it's an issue of conscience," he would "support a woman's right to make a different choice."
Thompson is asked if racism is still a problem in our society and can a president do anything about it. Thompson says a president has to unite, Ronald Reagan was a uniter...
Tancredo is asked beside himself, who should be the nominee. Tancredo says if he thought there should be another one, he wouldn't be there. Tancredo is stumbling around verbally, but he's sticking to his talking points on illegal immigration, plugging them into all of his answers.
McCain is now defending he and the president's plan on immigration, saying we must secure our borders but we also need a guest worker program and a plan to sort out the 12 million illegal immigrants in the country.
Duncan Hunter says he hasn't seen "An Inconvenient Truth" but he sees the issue of global warming as an opportunity and challenge to remove energy dependence on the Middle East and create new technologies. Good answer.
Gilmore was asked about mothers behind bars. He says the law must be applied, but he got in a plug for himself as governor during the 9/11 attacks.
Down the line: Nancy Reagan wants the government to expand embryonic stem cell research. Are you for it? Romney says no, Browanback: only adult stem cells. Gilmore: no. Huckabee: no. Hunter: no. Thompson: can't answer yes or no, there's so much research that will allow adult stem cells to do. McCain thanks Nancy Reagan for her kindness to him and other POWs. He says we need to fund this research, because these embryos will be discarded or perpetual funding. That's a yes. Paul: programs like this are not authorized under the Constitution. Let the markets and states handle it. Giuliani: if no creation of embryos created for that purpose, then yes. Tancredo: no.
Romney called on not touting his version of Hillary care. His answer: "I love it! It's affordable and portable. We won it 198 to 2. It's bipartisan!" I'm telling you, this guy should sell cars.
To all: name a tax you'd like to cut Romney - zero tax on capital gains Brownbax - alternative flat tax Gilmore - I eliminated the car tax in VA. Current tax: the AMT Huckabee - pass the "Fair Tax", get rid of the IRS, all capital gains taxes, etc. Hunter - trade deals suck. we need to eliminate all taxes on manufacturing Thompson - Alternative Minimum Tax. let's have a flat tax choice McCain - give the president the line item veto, repeal the AMT. Give tax credit to purchase health insurance (sounds like Bush), flatter Fair Tax Paul - get rid of the IRS, dump these entitlement programs and foreign adventures. Get rid of the "inflation tax" with sound money Giuliani - get rid of the AMT, the "death tax", and make the Bush tax cuts permanent. "Regularize the rates" whatever that means Tancredo - Repeal the 16th Amendment. And you can veto all the spending you want and you won't touch the deficit until you deal with mandatory spending.
McCain is asked what Democrats he's appoint, besides Joe Lieberman. He can't name one that's elected. Okay, he just named a businessman named John Chambers. McCain is running in the general election already, not the primary.
Update 4 - lightning round: Hunter is asked what the government does
McCain: believes in evolution. Anyone who doesn't? Tancredo, Brownback and Huckabee raised their hands (though Tancredo seemed to be looking to see who else would first.)
Romney wouldn't carry any of Bush's cabinet over.
Giuliani is quizzed on Sunni vs. Shia Islam. He looked like he was trying to remember it from his debate prep.
Gilmore declines to uphold his previous statement about being the only conservative in the pack.
Ron Paul trusts the Internet more than the mainstream media.
Giuliani is asked what is his biggest weakness is. His quip that it's "the fact that they're not all endorsing me" fell absolutely flat. Instead of answering the question, he reracked his New York City record yet again, and threw in a gratuitous Reagan.
Sidebar: I'm struck at how much alike these guys look. Very different from the multiethnic, multi-sex Democrat debate...
Thompson is asked how many Americans have been killed and injured in Iraq. His answer was "over three thousand killed and several thousand injured." Not too specific.
Giuliani says he's for a "tamper proof national I.D. card" -- oh, lord, he's back to talking about crime in New York again. He wants every American in a database. Please, God, let Ron Paul answer that. Romney is for the national I.D. card, too. He just got in a USOC plug. Brownback is against a national I.D. card. He says secure the border with a fence, and make the Social Security number mean something. "We don't need a new system." McCain says he's for a national I.D. card. Dr. Paul finally gets his chance. "This a total contradiction of what a free society is all about. The purpose of government is to protect the secrecy and privacy of Americans." Tancredo agrees. Clarification: Romney and Giuliani say their card is only for immigrants.
To all: Pardon Scooter Libby? Romney: candidates shouldn't make that decision, but outrageous for prosecutor to go after Libby knowing he wasn't the leaker. Brownback: it's up to the president. Gilmore: president should go to the American people to make the case if he wants to do it. Anyone for pardoning Libby? Tancredo says yes, but pardon Ramos and Campeon, the two border patrolmen (he gets the Lou Dobbs vote.) Paul points out that Libby was part of the misinformation that got us into the war. Good going, Ron.
Now, to the Schiavo case. Should Congress have acted or let the family make the decision? Romney: Congress' intervention was a mistake. Leave it at the state level. Brownback: Congress was right. Stand for life. McCain: difficult issue, all of us were moved, but in retrospect, we were too hasty. Giuliani: that's what we have courts for. Not a good answer for a GOP primary, where they distrust the courts...
Would it be good for America to have Bill Clinton back in the White House.
Romney: "You've got to be kidding..." Brownback says "no" because Hillary's not pro-life. Gilmore: no. McCain got in a shot about activist judges. Matthews couldn't resist the opportunity to give these guys a chance to Clinton bash. What an asshole.
I have half a mind to turn this off at this point.
Anyway, the next question from the GOP lackey from MSNBC is how the candidates would differ from Dubya. Romney says he respects Bush but would change the way we operate at home and abroad. McCain would manage the war better and cut spending. Gilmore: we need to be vigorous on the GWOT, draw the world in, improve homeland security, and energy independence. Huckabee: more power to the states. Hunter: bring back our industrial base, enforce trade laws. Brownback: break up Iraq, push a political solution there. Tancredo: Bush has done many good things, but on No Child Left Behind and prescription drugs, he overreached, and on Iraq... he ran out of time. Thompson: change healthcare system, settle Iraq, better foreign relations. Giuliani: oh, lord, remind ourselves every day about 9/11. Paul: change foreign policy, protect privacy of Americans, caution on warrantless searches and never abuse habeas corpus.
Overall score: C. Not much excitement. No headlines. Romney looked good, and smooth. I can see why the establishment favors him. He'll either be received as a liberator, or written off as far too slick -- the candidate you build from a kit. If Gilmore was smoother, he'd probably have won the debate on substance. McCain came off very forced. Tommy Thompson looked like he should be working on his papers and research in a basement somewhere -rumpled fellow, that. Giuliani didn't come off well, in my opinion, and he didn't appear strong or presidential, and he fumbled the ball on the abortion question. Ron Paul impressed me, I have to say. Too bad he has no shot at getting further media coverage. Duncan Hunter wasn't as nutty as I expected, and Tancredo seemed nervous and a bit shaky. Huckabee made very little impression on me, and Brownback came off as a religious nutter.
Was it just me, or was it kind of weird the way Politico's John Harris kept rolling up on the candidaes when he asked them a question...? Sorry, total sidebar...
So who was the winner? I think it's clear: Ronald Reagan. He got the most props tonight, along with his wife, and he was the man everyone up there wanted to be (sorry, George.)
The big loser? Chris Matthews. His chopping off of the second tier candidates and largesse toward his favorites was embarassing. And the fact that he wasted the audience's time on questions about Bill Clinton -- as if anyone on the stage would dispute that his wife shouldn't be president -- was a disservice to the voters who care about this race. Next time, MSNBC should give the job to Brian Williams, or even Tim Russert. Chris really was a let down tonight.
Throw out the conventional wisdom (and Chris Matthews' amorous obsession with him) ... Giuliani has not won the Republican nomination for president. The race is still up in the air. Two pieces of evidence:
Word to Matthews (and my morning show co-host, whom I suspect is a closet Giuliani fan, or maybe not so closet...) nationwide polls, particularly a year before the primaries, are pretty meaningless. It's the state by state polls that matter, if any polls at this stage matter at all. And guess who's leading those, in three of the first, key primary states?
Contrary to Matthews' patently false statement on Hardball tonight, Giuliani does NOT continue to "go up in the polls." His numbers are trending steadily down. Especially when Fred Thompson is thrown into the mix.
Thompson, who's not yet in but whom I suspect will get in, has become the official candidate of Ronald Reagan's friends. That's not a good look for Rudy. As Thompson said of Rudy: "His popularity may be a mile wide and an inch deep. I'm sure that lead will shrink." Oh, and Thompson, unlike Giuliani, really could put California in play. Of course, Thompson has his issues, too, and a formidable hill to climb to get to the White House...
Rudy still has many nasty negatives for the media to uncover. Oh, here's one now!
Giuliani is way too close to Bush, whether the media chooses to tell you or not. Eventually, they'll have to tell, and then he'll continue to slide.
Miami-Dade's housing crisis continues, with a little shantytown having become a central pivot point. That shantytown burned down this week. Now the activists involved are planning their next move. We talked with Max Rameau, the lead activist, this morning.
That drag thing? Living with that gay couple when Donna Hanover kicked him out for cheating? Forget all that. Rudy Giuliani is totally opposed to gay civil unions. No, really. Seriously. I mean, like, really opposed...
During the Democratic debates last night, the issue of South Carolina's continued use of the Confederate flag came up. It was handled deftly by both Barack Obama and Joe Biden, who pointed out that the reason the debate was being held at South Carolina State was that James Clyburn, and alumnus of the historically Black college invited them, despite the NAACP's flag-orignated tourism ban. Obama, for his point, said the flag belongs in a museum, not the capitol.
Well now, we've got ourselves a presidential race.
John McCain is taking off the gloves, dinging Giuliani, distancing himself ever so gently from the president and the war, and even calling for the head of Alberto Gonzales (guaranteeing that he stays in the first tier of the news cycle going into the Sunday Shows. Smart.) As badly as McCain is doing right now in the polls and the "money primary," don't count this guy out just yet. Baghdad John wants to be president probably more than anyone in this race on either side, and he has surrounded himself with the worst attack dogs from Bush-Cheney 2000 and the Swiftboat cause. He will scratch out the eyes of every other Republican and crawl through broken glass before he gives up the ghost. Hell, he has to fight. He's as old as sin, and this is his last shot.
By the way, the new NBC/WSJ poll is out of doors, and get a load of Fred Thompson! He's not even running and he's already within 5 points of McCain...
Meanwhile, on the other side of the ledger, Hils and Barack are squeezing closer together in the same poll, but Obama continues to have the big mo. His newest devotees? Bush pioneers.
Back to that poll for a minute. It shows just 22 percent of Americans believing the country is headed in the right direction, and a clear majority (nearly 6 in 10) wanting the Dems to set a timetable for U.S. withdrawal from Iraq.
Oh, you little surrender monkeys, you American people...
The Dems debate tonight in South Carolina. It's their first go, and hopefully won't be too deadly boring.
"Rudy's arrogance has gotten the best of him," said Karen Finney, communications director for the Democratic National Committee.
"How can the man who failed to prepare NYC for a second attack after the first one, quit the 9/11 commission because he was too busy raking in money from sketchy business deals, can't assess if the surge is working or if Iran and North Korea have nuclear weapons claim that he will keep America safe?"
Dusting off his best FReeper imitation, Giuliani told an enthralled crowd of fear-addled, rage addicted New Hampshire GOPers:
"This war ends when they stop coming here to kill us!" Giuliani said in his speech. "Never, ever again will this country ever be on defense waiting for (terrorists) to attack us if I have anything to say about it. And make no mistake, the Democrats want to put us back on defense!"
Is this a political campaign, or an audition to be a fill in host for Michael Savage? Moving right along:
"Rudy Giuliani today has taken the politics of fear to a new low and I believe Americans are ready to reject those kind of politics," said Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) "America's mayor should know that when it comes to 9/11 and fighting terrorists, America is united."
"There are people right now in the world, not just wishing us harm but actively planning and plotting to cause us harm," said New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.
"If the last six years of the Bush Administration have taught us anything, it's that political rhetoric won't do anything to quell those threats. And that America is ready for a change."
I give Barack a B+ for his response. Hillary's, with the me-too-FReeper opening? I give a C, with the caveat that she has to play Margaret Thatcher in this movie in order for it to get green lighted.
"Rudy Giuliani's suggestion that there is some superior 'Republican' way to fight terrorism is both divisive and plain wrong. He knows better. That's not the kind of leadership he offered in the days immediately after 9/11, and it's not the kind of leadership any American should be offering now.
"As far as the facts are concerned, the current Republican administration led us into a war in Iraq that has made us less safe and undermined the fight against al Qaeda. If that's the 'Republican' way to fight terror, Giuliani should know that the American people are looking for a better plan. That's just one more reason why this election is so important; we need to elect a Democratic president who will end the disastrous diversion of the war in Iraq."
Meanwhile, John McCain did his big announce today, complete with a nice little dig at Rudy:
[The American people] ...won't accept that firemen and policemen are unable to communicate with each other in an emergency because they don't have the same radio frequency.
And the latest NBC News poll reads as follows:
Just before Thursday’s Democratic presidential debate in South Carolina, a new poll by NBC affiliate WIS-TV shows Clinton and Obama virtually tied (24%-23%), with Edwards (who won the state in 2004) in third at 16%. On the GOP side, meanwhile, a new Zogby poll has McCain leading Giuliani in South Carolina (22%-19%), with Fred Thompson in third and Romney in fourth.
There's also an NBC News poll that comes out this evening that will show Giuliani losing support, down from 38% to 33%, McCain losing two points, down frmo 24% a month ago to 22% and Fred Thompson going to zero to 17%.
At some point, the media is going to have to start evaluating the incoherent, ephemoral nature of Rudy Giuliani's foreign policy ideas. Witness these quotes from an interview he gave about a subject he should be very well versed in, considering he wants to become the next president:
"I don't know the answer to that," the former New York City mayor told reporters after speaking with a group of business leaders in the first-in-the-nation primary state.
Giuliani did, however, have an opinion on what he said is necessary for victory in Iraq -- an emphasis on helping Iraqis rebuild their country.
"By build I mean, re-establish the infrastructure, both physical and political, and the emphasis on that is going to be key to whether it does work or not," he said in response to a question about whether Bush's troop boost that was aimed at pacifying violence-plagued Baghdad was achieving results.
"We have had success in stabilizing certain parts of Iraq," Giuliani allowed. "The real question is whether we can hold it and use it as an opportunity to build."
He also said couldn't assess whether the Bush administration was focusing on the rebuilding aspect enough or at all. "That part of it is the part that I would emphasize dramatically, and I can't tell you how that's going," Giuliani said.
The ex-mayor made his remarks a week after insurgents penetrated Baghdad with four bomb attacks that killed 183 people in the bloodiest day since the U.S.-Iraqi security crackdown began Feb. 14 with additional troops. On Monday, northeast of Baghdad, a suicide truck bombing killed nine U.S. paratroopers and wounded 20 in the worst attack on U.S. ground forces in Iraq in more than a year.
Giuliani also sidestepped a question about the circumstances in which he would withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq.
"The minute you start listing the circumstances under which you're going to pull out you start talking about defeat," Giuliani said. "What we have to achieve in Iraq is a government and a situation that acts as a bulwark against terrorism rather than as an encouragement for them -- and then you've got to figure out the strategies to get you there and make them work."
Again ... HUH????? This guy hasn't got the qualifications to be New York City mayor again, let alone the president of the United States. ... Damn, I'm glad I'm not a Republican voter.
Meanwhile, Republicans in New Hampshire confront a testy Rudy...
Rudy plays the fear card, Wolfie plays the Bennett card
Rudy Giuliani played the uniter about as long as he can stand it. Now, he's showing himself for what he is, (as one Politico commenter put it) a "bald George W. Bush". Giuliani told an appreciative GOPer crowd that ... surprise! If Democrats win the White House in 2008, there will be another 9/11 ... I wonder if Rudy remembers who was mayor of New York City the first and the second time the World Trade Center was attacked -- and whose stupid idea it was to move the nerve center for emergency response into the WTC after the 1993 attack...
It was a given that Hillary was going to raise more money than God ... but who knew Mitt Romney was such a pistol? Romney didn't just win the GOP money primary, he whipped its tail, raising a surprise $23 million -- just $3 million shy of Hillary's mark -- to demolish the Republican field. Rudy "Third Time's the Charm" Giuliani took in around $15 million (he's out there boasting that he can raise $100 million -- and he's telling the media to "lay off his third / hussy/dog-harming wife!", and poor, addled John McCain, who has self-immolated over Iraq, took in just $12.5 million. Meanwhile, a new poll shows that a non-candidate/television actor/former Senator, Fred Thompson, goes from zero to third place among Republican voters, sucking most of his 12% polling numbers from Rudy, who's now down in the 30s, after hovering around 44 percent in USAT/Gallup. The caveat with Romney is that he was an investment banker at one point in his life, and made a lot of big money contacts as head of the U.S. Olympic Committee, and as Chris Matthews just pointed out on Hardball, when you marry Romney's fundraising to his low poll numbers, you get one hell of a high per capita rate (meaning Romney is the candidate of the very rich, and not much more...)
There clearly is no Republican front runner right now, and a lot of dissatisfaction is in evidence on the right side of the dial. That leads me to believe that Thompson, despite a stunning lack of substance that even some RedStaters have noticed, as evidenced in this surprisingly lucid post (once you look past the strained attempt not to call Dubya a failed president), could still emerge as a front runner in this rather pitiable field.
On the Dem side, Bill Richardson did better than expected at $6 million, Chris Dodd and Joe Biden should just hang it up, and Edwards did pretty well. The big question is how much did Barack Obama raise, which we'll find out probably tomorrow. The Hillary people are already trying to raise expectations, putting out the buzz that Barack's haul could be as much as $21 million. We'll see.
Meanwhile, here are the latest poll numbers from Florida:
THE NUMBERS - DEMOCRATS
Hillary Clinton 36 percent Al Gore, 16 percent Barack Obama 13 percent John Edwards 11 percent (all other candidates below 5 percent)
Hillary and Giuliani are in roughly the same position, while poor Baghdad John is in the shitter, with Newt Gingrich, of all people, trailing him by just 4 percentage points. The Al Gore number is interesting, as Dems still haven't let go of their Gore nostalgia. I maintain that if he ran, he couldn't win, but that's just me. Once Dem voters finally get over it (rent his climate change movie and call it a day, folks...) I think Hillary will put some distance between herself and her competitors, with Obama ticking up a little, too.
America's Authoritarian Mayor, Rudy "Third Time's The Charm" Giuliani tells a softball tossing Barbwa Walters that if he's president, his husband stealing, three man marrying whore wife will make a darned fine advisor, who'll even be welcome at cabinet meetings! Maybe she could hire Angelina Jolie as her chief of staff...!
Rudy Giuliani -- thrice married (to a thrice married, man stealing hussy who, if God truly hates America and he is elected persident, could be running policy from an office in the West Wing), liberal on issues dear to the religious right and GOP gun nuts, and running on 9/11. But here's the problem: firefighters hate him, and the real story of his incompetence before and his callousness after the terror attacks on the Twin Towers is now coming to light, anecdotally today, in "Swift Boat" style TV and radio ads, inevitably. From this week's TIME:
"If Rudolph Giuliani was running on anything but 9/11, I would not speak out," said Sally Regenhard, whose firefighter son was among the 343 FDNY members killed in the terrorist attack. "If he ran on cleaning up Times Square, getting rid of squeegee men, lowering crime — that's indisputable.
"But when he runs on 9/11, I want the American people to know he was part of the problem."
Such comments contradict Giuliani's post-Sept. 11 profile as a hero and symbol of the city's resilience — the steadfast leader who calmed the nerves of a rattled nation. But as the presidential campaign intensifies, criticisms of his 2001 performance are resurfacing.
Giuliani, the leader in polls of Republican voters for his party's nomination, has been faulted on two major issues:
— His administration's failure to provide the World Trade Center's first responders with adequate radios, a long-standing complaint from relatives of the firefighters killed when the twin towers collapsed. The Sept. 11 Commission noted the firefighters at the World Trade Center were using the same ineffective radios employed by the first responders to the 1993 terrorist attack on the trade center.
Regenhard, at a 2004 commission hearing in Manhattan, screamed at Giuliani, "My son was murdered because of your incompetence!" The hearing was a perfect example of the 9/11 duality: Commission members universally praised Giuliani at the same event.
— A November 2001 decision to step up removal of the massive rubble pile at ground zero. The firefighters were angered when the then-mayor reduced their numbers among the group searching for remains of their lost "brothers," focusing instead on what they derided as a "scoop and dump" approach. Giuliani agreed to increase the number of firefighters at ground zero just days after ordering the cutback.
More than 5 1/2 years later, body parts are still turning up in the World Trade Center site.
"We want America to know what this guy meant to New York City firefighters," said Peter Gorman, head of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association. "In our experiences with this man, he disrespected us in the most horrific way."
The two-term mayor, in his appearance before the Sept. 11 Commission, said the blame for the death and destruction of Sept. 11 belonged solely with the terrorists. "There was not a problem of coordination on Sept. 11," he testified. ...
Sounds a bit like Baghdad Bob.
Newt Gingrich -- dumped his wife while she was in a hospital bed recovering from cancer, so he could marry his mistress, left Congress in disgrace, but hey, he's conservative!
And then there are the wee also-rans, Mike Huckabee, Duncan Hunter, Tom Tancredo, libertarian Ron Paul and such-like, but really, is it worth the blogspace to do more than mention their names?
So at this point, I'm thinking the GOPers had better lean hard on Fred Thompson to run. He may not have the "fire in the belly," but damnit, at least he's a celebrity. And to my knowledge, he never egregiously left a wife, botched the response to a terror attack, or pissed off the Cubans in Miami.
Rudy Giuliani's wife, Judith, made a shocking revelation yesterday that stunned even those close to the White House hopeful - he isn't her second husband, but her third.
"Something I will share with you is that, since I haven't done [many] interviews . . . Rudy and I have both been married three times," Judith told The Post.
It was the first time she has publicly disclosed the bombshell information.
Several longtime Giuliani supporters said they had thought he was her second husband, and profiles about Judith Giuliani - who has revealed little about herself publicly before - have always referred to her as twice-married.
"We both married young," she told The Post yesterday in an interview. "And then we were both married again. And it took us until this stage in life to realize and find the person that we eventually wanted to grow old with." ...
John McCain will be there, as will Hillary Rodham Clinton, John Edwards and half a dozen other presidential candidates. But when firefighters hold a candidates' forum today in Washington, Rudolph W. Giuliani, the contender most closely identified with their profession, will not attend.
In the past several days, a private tussle over Giuliani's participation — he was out, then in, then out again — has turned into a public spat with the International Association of Fire Fighters. That, in turn, has highlighted an uncomfortable paradox of Giuliani's campaign.
Since the Sept. 11 attacks, when he was mayor of New York City, he has been linked in the public mind to firefighters and police officers, whom he regularly hails as heroes as he campaigns around the country.
Yet the firefighters and police officers who know Giuliani best, those in New York City, have mixed views of him, ranging from admiration to outright hostility.
That has filtered through to leaders of their national associations accusing Giuliani of trying to cut short the effort to find victims' remains in the trade center wreckage.
They also contend that his administration mishandled the development of a radio system that could have saved lives on 9/11, and that he blundered in putting the city's emergency command center in the trade center.
Is it just about abortion, gay marriage, and conservative economics (and membership in the GOP)? Or would Jesus have commanded true Christians to care for the poor, for the environmetn, and for the victims of war? The debate is on.
Meanwhile, other Christian conservatives are asking whether the lionization of men who not only leave their wives, but who also humiliate them, is a bridge too far.
''He's probably the most famous, least known candidate for president we've had in a long time,'' said Warfield. ''This exposes a side of Giuliani most voters would have no idea about.''
Southern Baptist Convention leader Richard Land, for example, described Giuliani's breakup with Hanover as ''divorce on steroids.'' Hanover learned her husband was seeking a divorce from television after he announced the decision at a press conference.
''To publicly humiliate your wife in that way, and your children -- that's rough,'' said Land. ''I think that's going to be an awfully hard sell, even if he weren't pro-choice and pro-gun control.'' Marital history and family values have been bubbling just below the surface of the Republican campaign for months.
At a GOP dinner in Missouri last month, Ann Romney said the biggest difference between her husband, Mitt, and his rivals was that ''he's had only one wife.''
As I've said numerous times before, once these people get to know Rudy Giuliani, I predict his popularity won't last.
But let's not give Romney a free pass yet. Evangelicals may also have to ask themselves whether they feel comfortable with a new convert to conservatism who for the last few years has been buying his way into respectability in their circles.
And that's not even to mention that cheating, lying, rank hypocrite, Newt Gingrich.
With all of that, and the corruption and scandals of both the administration and the formerly GOP-led congress, it's baffling to me why evangelicals can still credibly argue that being a Republican is a basic requirement for being a good Christian.
After Giuliani pulled out of a planned appearance at an International Association of Firefighters presidential forum next week, the group released a stinging draft letter indicating that it almost didn't invite him at all because of continuing anger at his "despicable" role in pulling firefighters off the Twin Towers' debris pile in 2001 before all hope of finding their dead comrades' remains was exhausted.
"The disrespect that he exhibited to our 343 fallen FDNY brothers, their families, and our New York leadership in the wake of that tragic day has not been forgiven or forgotten," said the three-page letter, drafted by union leaders in late February and first disclosed on Newsday's Web site Thursday.
The union eventually decided to invite Giuliani because the forum is supposed to be open to all candidates. But, said IAFF spokesman Jeff Zack, "To the extent firefighters know or learn about that story, the letter will absolutely represent the view of firefighters across this country."
In a letter to its members Friday, the International Association of Fire Fighters, excoriated Giuliani for his November 2001 decision to cut back the number of firefighters searching the rubble of Ground Zero for the remains of some 300 fallen comrades.
The 280,000-member union accused him of carelessly expediting the cleanup process with a "scoop-and-dump" operation after the recovery of millions of dollars in gold, silver and other assets from the Bank of Nova Scotia that had been buried. ...
... The union's latest broadside initially was included in a scathing letter dated Feb. 28. Union officials say that letter was drafted as leaders were weighing whether to invite Giuliani to a presidential candidate forum but never was distributed to members because the union ultimately invited Giuliani. Giuliani, however, declined the invitation to next week's forum, citing scheduling conflicts.
"We decided to fall on the side of taking the high road and extend an invitation to him," said Harold Schaitberger, the union's general president. "That letter was never intended to be released."
Nevertheless, the letter showed up on Web sites this week. After it surfaced, the union decided to send a revised letter with the same criticisms to its members on Friday and posted it on the union's Web site.
"Mayor Giuliani's actions meant that firefighters and citizens who perished would either remain buried at Ground Zero forever, with no closure for families, or be removed like so much garbage and deposited at the Fresh Kills landfill," the letter said, adding: "Hundreds remained entombed in Ground Zero when Giuliani gave up on them."
"What Giuliani showed is a disgraceful lack of respect for the fallen and those brothers still searching for them," it added.
Well, I guess there's always the possibility of getting endorsements from the women in your life, eh Rudy ... perhaps not...
Hey, I'm sure you can count on your kids, right? Not so much...
Rudy Giuliani dumped his second wife, Donna Hanover, via press conference. Before that, he cheated on her brazenly with Judy Nathan, the woman who would become his third wife (after Donna and Rudy's second cousin, who was also his first wife) -- even getting taxpayer-funded security for Judy when he wasn't whisking her around town to fetes and Broadway shows while Donna sat home and stewed. All of this took place as Rudy's then- 12-year-old son was forced to watch the spectacle from inside Gracie Mansion, where Rudy would bring Judy -- in full view of his little boy.
Is this the hero conservatives and Chris Matthews have been pining away for? Hm?
Campaigning in Southern California, Giuliani faced questions about his family after his son, Andrew, publicly said their relationship had become distant after Giuliani's messy divorce from Andrew's mother, Donna Hanover, and his later marriage to Judith Nathan.
"My wife Judith is a very loving and caring … mother and stepmother. She has done everything she can. The responsibility is mine," the former New York mayor told reporters gathered outside the Los Angeles County Sheriff's headquarters.
"I believe that these problems with blended families, you know, are challenges sometimes they are," he said. "The more privacy I can have for my family, the better we are going to be able to deal with all these difficulties."
The New York Times reported Saturday that Andrew Giuliani and his father have recently tried to reconcile after not speaking "for a decent amount of time." In the Times article, Andrew said, "There's obviously a little problem that exists between me and his wife."
He told the newspaper he would not participate in his father's campaign, saying he intended to concentrate on becoming a professional golfer. The 21-year-old Duke University student told ABC News' "Good Morning America," "I got my values from my mother. She's a strong influence in my life. She's a strong woman. I have problems with my father, but that doesn't mean he won't make a good president."
On to that NYT Saturday article... in it, we learned that Rudy isn't exactly chummy with his daughter Caroline, either.
The latest revelations about Rudy G are ... well ... down right prissified...
Move over, J.Lo. There's a new diva on the scene - and his name is Rudy Giuliani. At least that's the impression given by a copy of the basic contract the former mayor and now presidential hopeful requires before giving a speech, a copy of which was posted yesterday on the SmokingGun.com Web site.
In addition to his $100,000 speaking fee, the former mayor insists that he be shuttled to and from any event by a private plane - and not just any plane, mind you!
"Please note that the private aircraft MUST BE a Gulfstream IV or bigger," notes the contract, referring to a $30 million jet that can clock 600 mph.
Once there, Hizzoner demands that he be met by "one sedan and one large SUV," and booked into a hotel room "with a king-size bed, on an upper floor, with a balcony and view," plus four more rooms on the same floor for his entourage.
And, oh, yeah, America's Mayor doesn't like "candid photo opportunities," but he will stand for posed pictures provided they are taken in a room "with sufficient light" and "without direct, on-camera flash bulbs." ...
Aides to the former mayor declined to comment yesterday on his list of demands. But it comes as Giuliani has asked the Federal Elections Commission for advice on how best to handle his private speech-giving. ...
Oh, wait, there's more!
Giuliani's contract notes that he "reserves the right" to hold political events in the same city, but otherwise it is focused mostly on minutiae - right down to who sits next to him at a dinner (his wife, Judith, or a staffer), and how his fans will be kept at a safe distance.
"There must be rope and stanchions to assist with attendee control," the contract states, "as well as staff appointed to push and pull."
... well, at least he doesn't demand that the green M&Ms be carefully culled from the candy herd... Read more of Rudy's exploits at The Smoking Gun
What are Giuliani's credentials? Everybody knows the basics. On Sept. 11, 2001, he rolled up his shirt sleeves and gave reassuring speeches. He has a tough guy persona. He expresses extremely strong disapproval for enemies of the United States. (For instance, Giuliani has bragged about asking President Bush to let him personally execute Osama bin Laden.) ...
... If having a macho swagger and talking tough about bad guys were enough to make a good commander in chief, we wouldn't have the worst foreign policy disaster in U.S. history on our hands right now in Iraq. And, need I remind anybody, one of the reasons Giuliani hasn't been able to fulfill his Bin Laden execution fantasy is that Bush allowed the Al Qaeda leader to escape at Tora Bora by using Afghan proxies instead of U.S. ground troops.
As I noted in this space last week, conservative foreign policy consists increasingly of abstract notions divorced from reality. In preparing for last week's House debate over the Iraq troop surge, the Republican leadership instructed its members in a memo: "The debate should not be about the surge or its details. This debate should not even be about the Iraq war to date, mistakes that have been made or whether we can, or cannot, win militarily. If we let Democrats force us into a debate on the surge or the current situation in Iraq, we lose."
So they're strong on foreign policy, except insofar as it involves actual policy. They tend to be much better, however, at comparing themselves to figures such as Winston Churchill or Abraham Lincoln. They make such comparisons incessantly. Last week, Giuliani said that Lincoln had "that ability that a leader has — a leader like George Bush, a leader like Ronald Reagan — to look into the future."
A few days later, the New York Times revealed that the 2002 postwar plan for Iraq envisioned a broadly representative Iraqi government, an intact Iraqi army and just a handful of U.S. troops remaining. I would say this is not a good job of looking into the future.
I'm sure Giuliani and his fans would dismiss such slip-ups, and there have been many, as mere detail. The important thing to them is leadership — Bush has it; Giuliani has it.
Giuliani raked in millions after 9/11, appearing at motivational seminars, where anybody with $49 could listen to him recount his 9/11 heroics and also take in speeches by such foreign policy titans as Zig Ziglar and Goldie Hawn. Giuliani also wrote a book promising to show "how the leadership skills he practices can be employed successfully by anyone who has to run anything."
But if anybody who buys his book can acquire the same leadership skills, why do we need Giuliani?
Thank you, Johnathan Chait. Now if a few more folks could cough up the Kool-Aid, that'd be lovely. ... Chris Matthews ...
The new USAT/Gallup poll is out ... Chicago Trib's The Swamp has the horserace, which shows Giuliani doing better than McCain against Obama, and Hillary virtually tied with both McCain and Giuliani in a head to head match-up (she slightly beats McCain, 50-47, and slightly loses to Giuliani, 48-50. As for Obama, he ties 47-47 with McCain but loses by 9 points to Rudy (52-43).
The poll also finds that Big Bill, who's set to host a big fundraiser for the wifey in NYC this weekend, is as hot as ever, with a favorable rating just off his presidential high of 66 percent (he's at 63 percent now). Go Bill!
BTW Giuliani will skip this weekend's right wing religious panderfest (something Jerry Falwell's new best friend John "Desperado" McCain wouldn't dare do.) Maybe Rudy is afraid the saints will ask him about that marriage to his cousin...
In hypothetical match-ups, registered voters picked Giuliani over Clinton, 50% to 48%, while Clinton trumped McCain, 50%-47% — all within the poll's margin of error of 3 percentage points. ...
...Age may work against the Arizona senator, a Vietnam War veteran. More than 40% of those polled said they would not vote for a "generally well-qualified person" for president who was 72 years old, which McCain will hit before the November 2008 election. And three times might not be a charm for Giuliani when it comes to his marriages: Nearly 30% won't punch their presidential ticket for someone who has hit the nuptials trifecta.
By contrast, only 5% said they would not vote for a candidates who was black. Gender, however, is a bigger barrier to the White House among some voters: 11% said they would not vote for a woman for president.
One thing is clear: John McCain is sinking, but fast. Giuliani is being set up as the front runner, but I still believe he will begin to crumble once McCain unleashes the dirty dogs of opposition research and attack advertising he hired from Dubya's 2000 campaign. Mitt Romney is in no position to save the GOP, and nobody knowss who Mike Hukabee and that other guy are.
Sorry, Chris Matthews. Rudy Giuliani is never, ever going to be president. Ever. Read on:
FEBRUARY 12--As he campaigns for the Republican presidential nomination, Rudolph Giuliani will have to contend with political and personal baggage unknown to prospective supporters whose knowledge of the former New York mayor is limited to his post-September 11 exploits. So, in a bid to educate the electorate, we're offering excerpts from a remarkable "vulnerability study" that was commissioned by Giuliani's campaign prior to his successful 1993 City Hall run. The confidential 450-page report, authored by Giuliani's research director and another aide, was the campaign's attempt to identify possible lines of attack against Giuliani and prepare the candidate and his staff to counter "the kinds of no-holes-barred assault" expected in a general election rematch with Democratic incumbent David Dinkins. As he tried to win election in an overwhelmingly Democratic city, Giuliani needed "inoculating against" the "Reagan Republican moniker," the vulnerability study reported. "The Giuliani campaign should emphasize its candidate's independence from traditional national Republican policies." The final six words of that sentence are underlined in the study.
Additionally, the Giuliani report noted that the candidate needed to make it clear to voters that he was "pretty good on most issues of concern to gay and lesbian New Yorkers" and was pro-choice and supported public funding for abortion. "He will continue city funding for abortions at city hospitals. Nothing more, nothing less." Giuliani's stance on these issues, of course, may leave him vulnerable today with an entirely different electorate. The campaign study was obtained by The Village Voice's Wayne Barrett in the course of preparing "Rudy!," an investigative biography of Giuliani. In its preface, the study notes that it is "tough and hard-hitting. It pulls no punches."
Perhaps that is why Giuliani, as Barrett reported, ordered copies of the vulnerability study destroyed shortly after it was circulated to top campaign aides. He surely could not have been pleased to read that his "personal life raises questions about a 'weirdness factor.'" That weirdness, aides reported, stemmed from Giuliani's 14-year marriage to his second cousin, a union that he got annulled by claiming to have never received proper dispensation from the Catholic Church for the unorthodox nuptials. ...
Oh hell no... he was married to his second cousin??? Sorry Smoking Gun, please do go on...
"When asked about his personal life, Giuliani gives a wide array of conflicting answers," the campaign report stated. "All of this brings the soundness of his judgement into question--and the veracity of his answers." The internal study also addresses prospective charges that Giuliani dodged the Vietnam draft and was a "man without convictions" because of his transformation from George McGovern voter to a Reagan-era Justice Department appointee. "In many ways Rudy Giuliani is a political contradiction...He doesn't really fit with the Republicans. Too liberal. Giuliani has troubles with the Democrats, too."
Is Rudy Giuliani the Howard Dean of the 2008 presidential campaign ... or the Ross Perot? Meaning, will he burn bright in the GOP primary, only to flame out when voters get a load of his wife-swapping, negro-hating, pro-abortion, gay friendly, gun-not-so-friendly makeup? Or ... will he burn bright in the early going, only to drop out like a punk-ass beeyatch.
To the headlines!
From RawStory, proof that Rudy don't know diddly about foreign policy, specifically in Iraq. Giuliani stumbled on the softest of all possible interviews, outside of a tete a tete with the Bushbots at Fox "News" Channel: the velvet gloves of the Today Show. He fumbled a question on his support for Bush's "troop augmentation" (it will make Iraq perky!!!) and called Anbar province "Anwar" (maybe he's got crude oil on the brain ... mmmmmm... crude oillll.......) And then he added this:
GIULIANI: ... We can measure that. We can measure -- I think, it's nine sectors in Baghdad -- how much violence is there now? How much violence is there the week after, the next month, the month after. You know, I'm kind of familiar with that using the Comstat program in New York.
HOST: I was going to say to you, sir, what does a mayor know about what's going on in Iraq? On foreign policy?
GUILLIANI: I've spent a great deal of time talking to people about it. I've been on 91 foreign troops in the last five years. I've been in 35 different countries. Right before the speech on Iraq, I met with, maybe, ten or twelve people with differing viewpoints. People who wanted to pullout, generals who helped craft the strategy. So, you know, you try to learn as much as you can about these issues.
Yes... you do try, don't you...
How many months shall we guess before we're faced with video of the Giuliani scream...?
Meanwhile, the folks at Political have a piece up about the doubts being expressed by Giuliani friends about whether Uncle Rudy possesses the necessary seriousness to run for president:
Failed 2000 N.Y. Campaign Casts Shadow Over Giuliani's 2008 Ambition
By: Jonathan Martin and Ben Smith January 24, 2007 02:27 PM EST
Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani is finally scrambling to beat back a crippling perception that his bid for president isn't quite serious. But even as he begins to hire aides and consultants, many of his New York supporters and critics, as well as neutral observers, see a repeat of his half-hearted, unfinished 2000 campaign for Senate.
"At this moment in history I do not believe he's running for president; I just don't believe it," said Mike Long, chairman of the Conservative Party of New York State. "I don't know of anyone who's gotten a call saying, 'I'm running, I need you to get behind me,' same as happened before."
"I'm having a real hard time believing the guy is taking it seriously," said a former Guiliani aide, who said that he would love to see him become president. "In 2000 there was this feeling that he didn't have to play by all the rules that little people have to play by, and I see that even more strongly now."
The question for this year's Republican primary is whether voters can expect the Giuliani of his first winning campaign in 1993 -- a studious, disciplined, hard-working candidate -- or the indecisive, disorganized, reluctant candidate of 2000, carried by spectacular public polling and national Republican hopes toward a confrontation with Hillary Rodham Clinton until he flamed out in May.
"Here's a dossier of confidential Giuliani campaign documents of which the campaign lost possession in early November. The documents appear to have been prepared by Giuliani's chief fundraiser, Anne Dickerson. Some personal information, largely cellular phone numbers, was redacted. To download the document, right click here and select Save Target As... See Ben Smith's blog for a guide to the document."
To many in New York, it's starting to look like 2000 all over again with Giuliani drawing the biggest headlines of late when an aide lost possession of a binder containing detailed fund-raising plans and worries that his personal and business life could scuttle his campaign; that 140-page dossier, first published in the New York Daily News, is available online today at Politico.com.
His aides declined to make him available for comment.
The Giuliani fame clock appears to be in full tick.