12 March 2007
THE GIULIANI MACHINE SPUTTERS A BIT
Last week was a mixed bag for Rudy Giuliani, the frontrunner in the GOP presidential race.
He started the week riding the high of recent polls that showed him putting more and more daylight between himself and John McCain. He was the cover boy on several national magazines and, in the case of Newsweek, was pretty much the entire magazine.
But as the week unfolded Giuliani's good ink began to run a little.
About midweek, the rightosphere - at least the ones who don't think Giuliani is far-right enough to be the right nominee for the GOP - began circulating on You Tube a collection of old clips of Giuliani saying all the wrong things.
For good measure they threw in this oldie (from 1989) about abortion funding for poor women. (That would be the first president Bush he's talking about in the clip).
On the Bill Maher show Friday night, the left-wing talk host and his panel discussed Giuliani's chances in the GOP race despite his problems with social conservatives. And, Maher just happened to have a few pictures of Giuliani in drag to emphasize the point.
Earlier Friday, a national firefighters' union, in a letter that actually was never sent but made it into the press anyway, blasted Giuliani for showing a “disgraceful lack of respect" for firefighters killed on 9/11. The International Association of Firefighters charged, in a letter that never actually made it to union members, that Giuliani sharply cut the number of firefighters allowed to search at Ground Zero when the remains of more than 200 firefighters had yet to be found.
Later in the day a number of reporters received an e-mail from a group called "Firefighters for Rudy." The e-mail contained a letter from a firefighter praising Giuliani, saying the former New York City mayor has been "a steadfast and unrelenting supporter of firefighters and first responders."
In a piece on Talking Points Memo over the weekend, Greg Sargent found that the executive director of Firefighters for Rudy is a Giuliani campaign aide and that the phone number for the group rings in the Giuliani press office.
Still, the Giuliani camp begins the new week on a high note. A new poll shows him well out in from of McCain in Nevada, which is among the earliest states to weigh in. Giuliani is ahead of all Democratic opponents in that poll as well.
In addition, Giuliani today picked up his first endorsement in the Senate, from southern conservative David Vitter of Louisianna who says he's willing to overlook his differences with Giuliani on certain issues because he doesn't think Giuliani will push a liberal social agenda as president.