The Giuliani Factor

By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 6, 2007; 12:30 PM

Okay, Rudy has finally ended the tease.

That means I have to hit the program key on my computer that says, Yes, he's popular, but wait until those Republican primary voters find out he's pro-gay rights, pro-choice on abortion and pro-gun control!

The question is whether 2008 is a very different kind of year, and Giuliani is a very different kind of candidate.

He is, after all, one of the heroes of 9/11. And he did demonstrate that the ungovernable city of New York could in fact be governed. He ticked off a lot of people in the process, and waged a very messy war with his now ex-wife, but his accomplishments are undeniable.

Every once in awhile, a political figure comes along who is so innately appealing that many voters are willing to put aside the fact that they disagree with him on a number of issues. John McCain had some of that in 2000 as plenty of Democrats swooned over him. So maybe the CW is wrong and GOP voters would be willing to overlook Giuliani's social-issue sins.

Of course, Giuliani shares something in common with McCain, and that is strong support for the Iraq war. Yes, he didn't vote for the war--Rudy was out of office and making lots of money by then anyway--but he's been a staunch supporter. With more Republican officeholders turning against the war effort--when they're not filibustering, that is--I wonder if that will be a popular position a year from now.

I never thought a New York mayor of either party could be elected president, because the city's tribal politics is so much different than the rest of the country. But there's always a first time. Could we get the Rudy-Hillary showdown we were denied in the 2000 Senate race?

The NYT doesn't sound too excited:

"Compared with his top rivals in 2008 at this point, Senator John McCain of Arizona and former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, Mr. Giuliani has moved more slowly to hire staff members and build a state-by-state political organization."

But the New York Post finds a more personal angle:

"Sexy Judi Giuliani is keeping a tight lip-lock on her hubby as he moved even closer yesterday to officially announcing his presidential bid.

As his loyal missus bared some of the secrets of her marriage to 'America's Mayor' in a candid new interview, Giuliani had his eyes on another prize."

CONTINUED     1           >

© 2007 Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive