January 30, 2008


Giuliani looks to be out of the race: He is widely expected to endorse McCain after finishing a distant third in Florida. His unconventional strategy appears to have been his undoing. (Mark Z. Barabak and Louise Roug, 1/30/08, Los Angeles Times)

Giuliani became a national hero -- "America's mayor" -- after his stout-hearted performance on that day.

For a time, with seemingly little effort, he sat atop national opinion polls for the GOP presidential nod.

But Giuliani had the unfortunate effect of growing less popular the more he campaigned -- even though he managed to keep his famously combustible personality under control throughout most of the contest.

For Giuliani, a dizzying free-fall (Michael Powell and Michael Cooper, January 30, 2008, NY Times)
Rudolph Giuliani's campaign for the Republican nomination for president took impressive wing last year, as the former mayor wove the pain experienced by his city on Sept. 11, 2001, and his leadership that followed into national celebrity. Like a best-selling author, he basked in praise for his narrative and issued ominous and often-repeated warnings about the terror strike next time.

Voters seemed to embrace a man so comfortable wielding power, and his poll numbers edged higher to where he held a broad lead over his opponents last summer. Just three months ago, Anthony Carbonetti, Giuliani's affable senior policy adviser, surveyed that field and told The New York Observer: "I don't believe this can be taken from us. Now that I have that locked up, I can go do battle elsewhere."

In fact, Giuliani's campaign was about to begin a free-fall so precipitous as to be breathtaking. Giuliani finished third in the Florida primary on Tuesday night; only a few months earlier, he had talked about the state as his leaping-off point to winning the nomination.

As Giuliani ponders his political mortality, many advisers and political observers point to the hubris and strategic miscalculations that plagued his campaign. He allowed a tight coterie of New York aides, none with national political experience, to run much of his campaign.

...his leading position was never more than a function of name recognition and a neocon and liberal dominated Washington media that could care less about abortion, homosexuality and guns so assumed the flyover country doesn't really care either. There was never any chance that once actual Republican voters found out that he opposed the Party's entire social agenda he could be a viable candidate. When a candidate can not afford the political damage that will be incurred by straightforward press coverage--can't allow people to find out what his positions are--he's not a contender. The only folks who ever took him seriously were those who don't even begin to comprehend the GOP.

The End of Rudy: In the oddest of settings, Giuliani faces defeat (Byron York, 1/30/08, National Review)

When he takes to the stage, shortly after John McCain has been declared the winner, Giuliani doesn’t precisely say he is dropping out of the race. But it’s obvious to everyone, and he begins to talk about his presidential run in the past tense. “We ran a campaign that was uplifting,” Giuliani tells the crowd. “The responsibility of leadership doesn’t end with a single campaign, it goes on and you continue to fight for it.”

“I’m proud that we chose to stay positive and to run a campaign of ideas in an era of personal attacks, negative ads and cynical spin,” Giuliani adds. “You don’t always win, but you can always try to do it right, and you did.”

Those are the words of a man who is out of the race. It’s something everybody saw coming — how could they not? — but no one wants to accept. “I guess I’m praying for — for something,” a woman named Debbie, who drove in from Palm Coast, tells me. She’s originally from Seaford, Long Island and helped run Giuliani’s campaign in Flagler County. “We really don’t know until all the votes are counted,” she says, not believing her own words.

Nearby, five friends — four are ex-New Yorkers — are standing around a table drinking wine. “To Rudy,” one of them says, raising a glass. On the other side of the room, a lifelong Republican named Mary Jane shows me the two-sided sign she made to take to her polling place this morning. DO YOUR DUTY — VOTE FOR RUDY reads one side, which Mary Jane flips over to reveal the other: OMIT MITT. She has been going to Giuliani events, urging him to fix the “notch years” problem with Social Security, in which some people born between 1917 and 1921 receive slightly lower benefits then other seniors. (That includes Mary Jane, who will turn 89 in a couple of months.) I ask her if she supports Giuliani for any other reasons beyond Social Security.

“You’re not going to hate me?” she asks.

“No,” I say.

“Pro-choice,” she confides.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 30, 2008 7:29 AM
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