Rudy Giuliani, Chief of Baghdad?
How do you say "hizzoner" in Arabic? The ever-popular Rudy Giuliani, who is often touted for top Republican posts, was under consideration early in the Iraq war to become mayor of Baghdad, a former Pentagon consultant tells us. The surprising suggestion came up during planning sessions in Kuwait in April 2003, according to Stephen Claypole, an ex-BBC news exec who handled public affairs for retired Army Lt. Gen. Jay Garner, the short-time head of the U.S. occupation in Iraq.
"The idea caused quite a stir among Jay Garner and his immediate advisers," Claypole said, adding that he heard the Rudy-for-mayor proposal directly from Garner and Garner's British deputy, Maj. Gen. Tim Cross, during an after-dinner stroll at a beachfront Hilton south of Kuwait City, where U.S. and British officials and Iraqi exiles mapped out a government-in-waiting before Baghdad's fall.
"Jay, I think, was quite taken aback by my gaping mouth and swinging jaw," Claypole recounted. "I explained that nobody in Baghdad had ever heard of Giuliani. In the aftermath of 9/11, Baghdad TV repeatedly showed images of the collapsing twin towers. There was nothing on the heroism of the New York Fire Department, the New York Police Department or the Churchillian resolve of Mayor Giuliani." (Not to mention, the ex-New York mayor wasn't much of an Iraq expert.)
Claypole said the idea "rattled around" for two days, "then disappeared into the ether."
Garner told us Giuliani's name never came up. "I never heard that," he said yesterday, but added, "Giuliani would have been a great pick for the job, if he'd been foolish enough to take it." Evidently no fan of Dick Cheney, Garner also touted Giuliani for another post: "I think he would have been a great pick for vice president."
Sunny Mindel, a spokeswoman for Giuliani, told us: "I have no knowledge of this at all, and neither does the former mayor." And, she pointed out, "He's been alleged to have been offered every single job except for being manager of the Yankees."
But Claypole, who now heads a global newsphoto agency in New York, stands by his account: "They were thinking of making Giuliani the mayor of Baghdad."
Cutler Reveals Her Political Leanings, and More
* Jessica Cutler, aka the Washingtonienne, is back in cyberspace, but this time she's not blogging about her sex life on Capitol Hill, she's blabbing and posing for Playboy.com. And news flash: "I'm registered as a Republican. That doesn't mean much, though," she tells the Web site. "I'm more of the Giuliani/Pataki-style Republican, which basically means you're against crime."
Back in May, after she was fired from her job with Republican Sen. Mike DeWine, Cutler told us she voted for Hillary Clinton for Senate. Voter records in New York, her home state, shows that she was with the Green Party in 1996 and later registered as a Republican, but that's no longer valid. "I'm not, you know, conservative," the 26-year-old told Playboy. Really?
For Bush's Sister, Second Thoughts
* Even President Bush's sister, Doro Bush Koch, can't evade the security clampdown in New York this week. At a breakfast yesterday with the Maryland delegation, she told how, when she arrived at Madison Square Garden Monday night, "they looked at my credentials and said, 'You don't have the right one.' " To enter, she needed a pass marked with the number 2. She turned to her "handler," sister-in-law Tricia Koch, and said, "Did you pick up my number two?"
"Then I realized," she told the delegates, "that didn't sound so good." Tricia Koch advised: "Doro, you have to be very careful what you say when you're representing the president," reports The Post's Matthew Mosk. But, not to worry, Doro was back on message in a Fox News Channel interview yesterday, saying of her older brother: "He bossed me around when I was younger so I knew he was going to be a leader, a president."
* No bad Bush blood here: Despite the fact that George Dubya and Jeb Bush didn't make brother Neil's March wedding to Maria Andrews, his second wife, the much-talked-about and doting couple were in Laura Bush's convention box last night in Madison Square Garden.
* Will flaming liberal and temporary USA Today columnist Michael Moore set foot inside Madison Square Garden again after the brouhaha Monday night that included a mob of reporters following his every move and a prime-time back-and-forth with Sen. John McCain? "Moore doesn't plan to return to the convention. I think he saw the downside of his attending," USA Today editor Ken Paulson told Editor & Publisher yesterday. Not so fast. "I don't want to say he'll be back," a source close to Moore told us, but "Michael is writing something for USA Today and it only helps to report to be there and see what's going on." And it's not like Moore is known to avoid the spotlight.
* CNN's "American Morning" anchor Soledad O'Brien may be the only cable news employee in New York with things to worry about besides the GOP convention. The 37-year-old mother of two young girls gave birth to twin boys Monday night.
With Anne Schroeder