Hizzoner Sees the GOP Facing A Clinton-Obama Ticket
Rudy Giuliani is a politician, not a prognosticator, but that doesn't stop Hizzoner from throwing out a guess or two about the Democratic presidential field.
"Absolutely," the former New York mayor responded when asked during an interview late last week whether he believed that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton would be the Democratic standard-bearer. "I believe she will be the nominee, and Senator Obama will be the vice presidential nominee."
It's no surprise that Giuliani thinks his fellow New Yorker will be the party's pick -- every Republican operative The Fix can find agrees -- but his choice for veep is more intriguing.
Why Barack Obama? "He's kind of earned it," Giuliani said. "He brings a kind of enthusiasm to the ticket that everyone desires and likes to have."
While Giuliani derided Clinton as "going more socialist" of late in her policy proposals, he admitted a healthy respect for her political operation as well as the potential strengths of a Clinton-Obama ticket in '08. "That's the candidacy we are going to be facing, and that is a very formidable candidacy," he said.
The remedy, of course, is to make sure that he is the Republican nominee, Giuliani said. He called Republicans "underdogs" in the race for the White House and added that the party should not be guided by the "old playbook" in picking its nominee. That playbook, explained Giuliani, is the decision to "rule out" 15 to 20 states, "concentrate on the base and then hope that you win Ohio, hope that you win Florida." Adhering to that strategy means "sure defeat," he added.
Giuliani has long used the electability argument as part of his appeal to Republicans desperate to hold on to the White House -- or, more accurately, to keep Clinton out of the Oval Office. He alone among the Republican candidates can expand the electoral map beyond the 15 or so targeted states in each of the past two elections, he insists.
That seems a bit too ambitious, but polling does show that states such as New Jersey and Pennsylvania are potentially in play for Republicans if Giuliani heads the ticket but would not be if he doesn't.
"We have to have a candidate that can run in all 50 states," Giuliani said, adding that by nominating him the party would also improve its chances of winning back Congress. "We should give ourselves the best chance to win."
Pick a Side Already
Hillary Clinton has a lot going for her these days: that big lead in national polls, a whopping fundraising quarter, all those coveted endorsements.
But, this being the baseball postseason, The Fix prefers to turns its attention to Clinton's curious disclosure during the Sept. 26 Democratic debate in New Hampshire that she would "alternate sides" if both the Chicago Cubs and the New York Yankees make it to the World Series this year. (A big "if" as of this writing, but so be it.)
Clinton, who grew up in suburban Chicago, describes herself as a lifelong Cubs supporter who developed an affection for the Yankees as a young girl. Fair enough. But for sports fans, that's the baseball equivalent of yin and yang. Clinton's dual Cubs-Yankees citizenship may be one of the most compelling facts known about the Democratic presidential front-runner.