January 26, 2008


For Giuliani, Missed Greetings -- and Chances (Michael Leahy, 1/26/08, Washington Post)

While it's too early to write Giuliani's campaign obituary, it's not hard to see his weaknesses as a candidate. He seems constitutionally resistant to lengthy sessions of flesh-pressing and to uncontrolled campaign dialogue. He favors long, discursive speeches and generally limits questions to a handful, when he takes questions at all. Contact is across a rope line, generally -- except when he must walk across a room to an exit, where bodyguards keep the curious at bay with deftly placed forearms, if necessary.

In New Hampshire, where Giuliani led in the polls early and then collapsed by December, one of the former mayor's appearances ended when aides asked attendees to remain in their seats so he could quickly leave the building and get to his next stop.

"I couldn't figure out what he was doing," said Andrew Smith, director of the Survey Center at the University of New Hampshire, who was there. "Was there some kind of security consideration? Did he fear that some old Rotarian lady had a butter knife? That kind of thing really hurt him here."

But nothing about Giuliani's campaign style has changed much since his slide became precipitous. He still wears his dark power suits and ties, resisting crew-neck sweaters, windbreakers and fleece. He rides to most campaign stops in his motorcade, led by a black Cadillac Escalade with flashing red lights and, in Florida, trailed by a law enforcement vehicle -- the candidate nestled in a car between many others -- his security people jumping out at stops and pirouetting.

He didn't realize it was an election--he thought he was auditioning to be the head of a junta.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 26, 2008 8:35 AM
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