Sunday, November 04, 2007

Giuliani Poised to Launch His Own Version Of The "Southern Strategy"

November 4, 2007 12:01 PM

Strategists for Rudy Giuliani are quietly preparing a significantly race-based campaign strategy to strengthen support among socially conservative white voters, in the South as well as in the North.

The former Mayor carries the burden of three marriages and a Brooklyn accent, but he has more race cards to play than any of his opponents, and his success in the fight for the nomination - according to close observers of the campaign -- may depend on how aggressively he plays his hand.

The themes the campaign are lining up for renewed emphasis are those reflecting Giuliani's confrontational stance towards black New Yorkers and their white liberal allies, as well as his record of siding decisively with the police against minorities who launched protests alleging police brutality during the years he was mayor from 1994-2001.

Giuliani's eight years as New York's chief executive exemplified a Northern adaptation of the GOP's politically successful "Southern strategy" - the strategy playing on white resistance to and resentment of federal legislation passed in the 1960s mandating desegregation - resistance that produced a realignment in the South and fractured the Democratic loyalties of white working class voters in the urban North from 1968 to 2004.

"Race is at the heart of Rudy's story," according to Wayne Barrett, one of Giuliani's preeminent biographers. Giuliani ended race and gender preferences in New York's city contracting. He eliminated open admissions at City University and re-instituted testing requirements for the school -- requirements which disadvantaged black and Latino applicants seeking to complete the four-year curriculum. Also angering black leaders, Giuliani instituted tough law and order policies that were consistently cited by his administration as the driving force pushing crime rates down over 60 percent during his tenure as Mayor.

Equally important in courting a racially conservative Republican primary electorate in the current presidential election, Giuliani brought to a halt the black and minority domination of New York city politics.

In 1993, Giuliani defeated New York's first black mayor, David Dinkins, by 53,367 votes, 49.3 to 46.4, after calling Dinkins a "Jesse Jackson Democrat." In 1997, Giuliani used the mayoral bid of Al Sharpton as a wedge issue against the other Democratic primary candidates, describing their refusal to renounce the controversial black leader as an insult to New Yorkers. In effect, Rudy stood up to and beat three icons of the black community - Dinkins, Sharpton and Jackson - all figures recognizable to white Republican primary voters.

In addition, Giuliani has begun an attempt to appeal to voters who disagree with him on such issues as gay marriage and abortion by citing his record as an authoritarian defender of the traditional social order against the assault of cultural liberalism - a record dovetailing with his stands on racial issues.

He closed the Brooklyn Museum after it put on display a painting of the Virgin Mary covered with Elephant dung. He presided over the clean-up and revitalization of a sex-dominated Times Square, the most notorious red-light district of a city considered a den of iniquity.

"Giuliani made it a priority to clean up the smut from Times Square in New York. Pre-Giuliani and post Giuliani are worlds apart when it comes to pornography in that area," Christian Broadcasting Network correspondent David Brody recently wrote on his blog. "Giuliani gets bashed as the pro-choice, pro-gay rights social liberal. But on this issue of pornography will social conservatives admit that Giuliani was solid?"

Uncommitted conservative Republicans contend that Giuliani should move quickly to capitalize on his mayoral successes, independent of his widely heralded performance in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

"He should be showcasing those things where he took on the politically correct forces, the Manhattan liberal establishment," said conservative operative Craig Shirley.

Giuliani leads in virtually every national poll by an average of 12 points. But former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney currently holds a very strong 13.5 point lead in Iowa and a solid 8 point lead in New Hampshire.

As a result, Romney is currently favored to win the two "first in the nation" contests. Doing so would push Romney to a dominant position in the GOP primary.

The third key Republican test is the South Carolina primary with a GOP electorate that is overwhelmingly white and disproportionately conservative on social and racial issues.

For the first seven months of this year, Giuliani led in 15 out of 16 polls of South Carolina voters. In August and September, however, Former Tennessee Senator Fred Thomson moved slightly ahead of Giuliani. In the most recent surveys, Romney has taken a razor-thin lead.

If Giuliani were to lose the first three contests to Romney, his chances of winning the nomination would sharply diminish and perhaps disappear. For that reason, South Carolina is becoming crucial to Giuliani's survival, and hizzoner needs to regain his early advantage there, wresting sympathetic voters away from encroaching competitors.

"We will make sure voters understand what he did as mayor of New York, over and above 9/11," concurred a key source in the Giuliani campaign. "I sure would if I were him," said Republican pollster Glen Bolger who notes the appeal of Giuliani's record to conservative voters.

Honor Veterans, read History

Reg Weaver Goes Bananas

This one is definitely going to be Quote of the Week in Monday's communiqué, but I just had to put it here before someone else scooped me on it.

During a keynote speech in Tulsa, Oklahoma, yesterday, National Education Association President Reg Weaver took a swipe at the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence. That's not news, but this might be:

"There's a group out there that thinks all you need to be a teacher is a bachelor's degree, a background check and to pass a computerized test, but you know they're not going to send them to teach where the wealthy folks are. They're going to send them to teach where Ray-Ray, Little Willie, Little Man, Too-Sweet, and Chiquita are in the classroom."

I'm confused, Reg.

Ray Ray is at Clemson University.

Little Willie is in the Bovington Tank Museum.

Little Man is a genius.

Too Sweet is in the Penitentiary.

And Chiquita is in Cincinnati.

So what were you getting at?

Giuliani, Romney wrestle for 'fiscal conservative' mantle

Posted 12h 16m ago | Comments3 | Recommend E-mail | Save | Print | Subscribe to stories like this
Republican presidential candidate and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, left, makes a point as former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, right,  listens during the Republican Party of Florida and Fox News Channel debate in Orlando, Fla. Oct. 21.
By Carlos Barria, Reuters
Republican presidential candidate and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, left, makes a point as former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, right, listens during the Republican Party of Florida and Fox News Channel debate in Orlando, Fla. Oct. 21.
WASHINGTON — Republican presidential hopefuls Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney are tussling for the title of "strongest fiscal conservative" as they seek to portray themselves as tax-cutting, bureaucracy-slaying champions of small government.

The candidate who wins the moniker could get a big boost from voters in the GOP primary battle, political observers say.

"It's a unifying issue among Republicans," said Jack Pitney, a political science professor at Claremont McKenna College in Southern California. "Republicans disagree on social issues, but you'll get a lot less of a family feud when it comes to basic economic principles. The social conservatives like it, the libertarians like it, and your old-fashioned Main Street Republicans like it. It's one of the safest things you can do."

Despite being attacked by Romney as "a big spender from the big city," Giuliani, the former New York City mayor, appears to have a stronger claim to the fiscal conservative label than the ex-governor of Massachusetts, pundits and interest groups say.

"I think both Romney and Giuliani are singing off the same song sheet by advocating less federal spending, lower taxes and less regulation of the economy," said Patrick Toomey, president of The Club for Growth, which endorses fiscally conservative GOP candidates. "But if you look just at the bottom line and say who accomplished more, I think you have to give the edge to Mayor Giuliani."

As New York's mayor for eight years, Giuliani eliminated more than a dozen taxes, held spending to less than the rate of inflation and population growth, and cut the workforce of most city departments while adding uniformed police officers and teachers.

"He was dealing with a lot deeper problems and a lot less power (than Romney)," Pitney said. "That makes his accomplishments all the more impressive."

Romney, who served one four-year term as governor, tried to reduce the Massachusetts state income tax rate from 5.3% to 5% but was thwarted by the Democrat-controlled state Legislature. He vetoed more than 800 spending measures he considered excessive, but lawmakers overturned more than 700 of them. Like Giuliani, he held spending to less than the rate of inflation and eliminated many government jobs.

"I think both of them have a strong case to make, but that means that each of them are going to spend a lot of time trying to poke holes in the other one's record," said Dan Schnur, a California political analyst and veteran Republican campaign strategist.

The two rivals spent the last Republican debate and half of their news releases in recent weeks taking potshots at one another on the issue, releasing a slew of contradictory, often exaggerated claims about their records. Giuliani has proclaimed that, "I led, he lagged," when comparing his tax-cutting record to Romney's. The former governor, in turn, has compared Giuliani to liberal Democrats in Congress for his opposition to giving the president a line-item veto over the federal budget.

The brawl may end up helping both candidates by taking attention away from social issues such as abortion, gay rights and gun control, political analysts say. Social conservatives generally view Giuliani as too liberal on those issues, and some are skeptical of Romney's recent move to the right and his conversion to the anti-abortion cause.

"Both Romney and Giuliani have some liability with social conservatives for different reasons," Toomey said. "So it's all the more important that they be considered economic conservatives."

It's also an issue that, unlike abortion or Iraq, won't cause either candidate any real grief in the general election against the Democratic candidate.

"Heck, even Democrats claim to be fiscal conservatives," Pitney said. "It's not going to be the biggest issue in the general election, but it's not going to hurt them. It might even help."

Obama Criticizes Clinton's Drive to Win

Sunday, November 4, 2007; Page A05 Sen. Barack Obama leveled a fresh round of criticism at Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton yesterday, accusing his rival for the Democratic nomination of following a campaign plan that prizes calculation over candor and that is aimed more at winning the election than uniting the country. Obama used a speech in Spartanburg, S.C., to sharpen his differences with the Democratic front-runner and to frame the choices before voters a year ahead of the 2008 election. Calling the senator from New York "a colleague and a friend," Obama nonetheless cast Clinton as representative of a style of politics that has been better for the politicians than the country.

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An Eye on the Prize Is Not on the Issues of Ordinary Americans, He Asserts By Dan Balz Washington Post Staff Writer

Dodd: Nation needs a leader who already knows Congress

By HOLLY RAMER |Associated Press Writer5:10 PM EDT, November 3, 2007 CONCORD, N.H. - Casting his long tenure in the U.S. Senate as an asset, Democrat Christopher Dodd said Saturday he would be an effective president because he won't have to waste time getting to know members of Congress.

Dodd, who has represented Connecticut for 26 years, was asked at a senior citizens' home how he would heal a divided nation weary of partisan bickering.

He listed half a dozen major bills he co-sponsored with conservative Republicans _ including the Family and Medical Leave Act _ and said he would host a dinner soon after his inauguration that would include prominent Republicans and Democrats as guests.

"I'm not going spend a couple of years getting to know these people," he said. "We trust each other, we disagree, we agree, we've argued, we've fought with each other on things. But we've also come to terms, and I think that's the kind of leadership we need right now.

"We can't afford a few more years devoted to getting to know each other," he said.

Dodd said he has spent decades reaching across the aisle to get things done, but suggested that resumes like his don't get the attention they deserve in a presidential campaign.

"This is the only job I know of in America where you don't have to have any references. If someone's going to remodel your bath or your kitchen, you want to know, 'Have they ever done this before?' before you allow them into your house to do the job," he said. "But when it comes to the presidency, we just kind of listen to speeches about the future and no one ever asks, 'Have you ever done any of this before?"'

He made a similar argument earlier at an outdoor rally calling attention to global warming. Similar rallies, organized by a group called Step it Up, were held around the country to mark one year before the 2008 presidential election.

"I bring people together. It's what I do. It's what my skill sets are," he said. "I don't think it's just about fighting people. We've got a lot of wonderful fighters. How about getting something done for the country here? Bringing people together to get something done."

Dodd also promoted his plan to tax corporations for their carbon dioxide emissions. He also is seeking a steep increase in auto fuel economy standards to 50 miles per gallon by 2017 and requiring the government to use clean-energy vehicles.

"We tax cigarettes, why not tax carbon as well?" he said. "The only way we're going to change this is by insisting that we produce cleaner technologies, cleaner forms of energy, and the leadership to get us there to make it happen."

Dodd, who often describes how President John F. Kennedy inspired him to join the Peace Corps, was joined on the campaign trail by Ted Kennedy Jr., son of Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts.

"One of the things I really admire about Chris Dodd is his sense of public service," Kennedy said. "When my uncle Jack asked people in the country in 1960, 'Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,' Senator Dodd answered that call ... and that's exactly the kind of inspiration that is needed in this country today."

Giuliani Aide Aware of Kerik Involvement With Company, NYT Says

By Dan Hart

Nov. 3 (Bloomberg) -- An aide to former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani was aware of Bernard Kerik's involvement with a company doing business with the city while serving as corrections commissioner, the New York Times reported, citing notes.

Edward Kuriansky, the city investigations commissioner, met with one of Giuliani's closest aides, Dennison Young Jr., and briefed Young on Kerik's relationship with Interstate Industrial and a man Kerik recommended for a job at that company, the newspaper said, citing Kuriansky's diaries and notes.

Giuliani, who was criticized for not having better scrutinized Kerik's background before recommending him as a candidate to head the Department of Homeland Security in 2004, has said he wasn't aware of Kerik's ties to the company, the newspaper said. Guiliani declined to comment to the Times. Guiliani's press office wasn't immediately available to respond to a call by Bloomberg News seeking comment.

Kerik faces possible U.S. criminal charges for tax fraud and bribery for allegedly accepting thousands of dollars in gifts while serving as the mayor's corrections commissioner, the newspaper said. Kerik, through his lawyer, has denied the charges.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dan Hart in Washington at .

Last Updated: November 3, 2007 11:01 EDT

John McCain, Rudy Giuliani dispute over waterboarding

Sen. John McCain (r.) at memorial service a Marine killed in Iraq.

Sen. John McCain (r.) at memorial service a Marine killed in Iraq.

WASHINGTON - Rudy Giuliani said Friday his 9/11 credentials trumped John McCain's personal experience with torture in judging whether waterboarding goes overboard.

McCain hit back, coming close to pinning the draft-dodger label on Giuliani, along with GOP rivals Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson, for avoiding Vietnam.

The McCain-Giuliani sniping grew out of the dispute over the interrogation technique known as waterboarding that has stalled attorney general nominee Michael Mukasey.

Giuliani told Bloomberg Television that he "can't say" he knows more about torture than McCain, who suffered severe beatings as a POW in Hanoi, "but I do know a lot about intensive questioning and intensive questioning techniques."

McCain "has never run a city, never run a state, never run a government," Giuliani added. "He has never been responsible as a mayor for the safety and security of millions of people, and he has never run a law enforcement agency, which I have done."

Without endorsing waterboarding, Giuliani said "intensive questioning works. If I didn't use intensive questioning, there would be a lot of Mafia guys running around New York right now, and crime would be a lot higher in New York than it is."

His campaign did not immediately explain Giuliani's experience with intensive questioning.

"Comparing a mock execution by drowning to 'intensive questioning' only serves to highlight Rudy Giuliani's disturbing lack of experience on matters of foreign policy," scoffed McCain spokeswoman Jill Hazelbaker.

McCain insisted waterboarding - during which bound prisoners' faces are doused with water to simulate drowning - is torture.

"There's a clear division between those who have a military background and experience in these issues and people like Giuliani, Romney and Thompson who don't - who chose to do other things when this nation was fighting its wars," McCain said.

Giuliani, Romney and Thompson all had draft deferments during Vietnam. McCain said "anybody who has experience in warfare knows that waterboarding is by any definition torture and cannot be condoned."

A feisty Giuliani earlier called Democratic hopeful Barack Obama "naive and sad" for pledging to "engage in personal diplomacy" with Iran.

"This may be one of the few areas in which I agree with Hillary Clinton," he quipped.

Spokesman Bill Burton said Obama didn't need lectures from a man "who was naive and irresponsible enough to recommend someone [disgraced former Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik] with ties to convicted felons for Secretary of Homeland Security."

With News Wire Services

Giuliani: a Pugilist From Birth

WASHINGTON (AP) — Rudy Giuliani minces no words and suffers no fools. He eats peanuts with the shells still on.

"I don't wink and nod," he says. "I am a very direct person."

It is a statement of the obvious — an understatement, really — to any New Yorker who lived through Giuliani's years as mayor, and one that the rest of the nation still is coming to understand.

The boy from Brooklyn who got his first boxing gloves as a toddler and developed a passion for opera at age 6 is a man of contradictions.

He is the leader whose steadiness and compassion helped bring calm after 9/11, and whose volcanic eruptions of pique have come to be known as the "full Rudy."

He is the man of a thousand insults who imposed a civility campaign on in-your-face New Yorkers.

He is the man who dreamed of becoming a priest and has worked his way up to three marriages.

There is an operatic quality to Giuliani's story, with its twisting plot lines, heroes and villains, optimism and despair. And, there is plenty of passion and conflict.

Giuliani, it seems, wakes up every morning looking to pick a fight that he can win, a welcome quality when the bad guys are clear-cut, less admirable when they're not.

Targets have ranged from the windshield squeegee men who intimidated New York motorists to the police chief who helped to tame the city's crime problem (and got too much of the credit, in Giuliani's view).

Now, Giuliani is in his biggest fight ever — the race for the presidency — and at age 63, a new scene is unfolding.

The story so far: An only child is born to doting yet demanding parents. The boy is smart and hardworking and thrives in the moral exactitude of a Catholic education. The JFK Democrat restyles himself as a Reagan Republican. His pursuit of the law is a natural fit. His career in politics is a more hard-fought endeavor that brings him both acclaim and contempt.

All this is largely forgotten when the Twin Towers fall.

Asked to predict the death toll, Giuliani answers with his heart rather than his head:

"The number of casualties will be more than any of us can bear ultimately."

In those dark moments, Giuliani draws on the best that is in him.

But that is to leap ahead in the story.


Rudolph William Louis Giuliani's first memories involve combat, of sorts. He was born May 28, 1944, in Brooklyn, within earshot of Ebbets Field, undisputedly Dodgers territory. Rudy's father Harold dressed him in a Yankees uniform, a dangerous anomaly in that part of town. "That experience has something to do with my character and personality," Giuliani said years later. "I had to physically defend myself from neighborhood kids."

Giuliani's father, a plumber turned bartender, gave his son boxing gloves. His mother's gift, no less challenging, was her high expectations.

"If you came home with a 90, she'd say, 'How come it's not 95?'" Giuliani recalled.

Giuliani still recalls how his father drilled into him the importance of doing right. He didn't learn until decades later that before his father preached rectitude, he had served time in Sing-Sing in the 1930s for robbing a milkman.

In 1961, Giuliani graduated from Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School, an all-scholarship school that took only the brightest from New York's parishes. He signed up to become a priest, but decided he liked girls more than piety. He enrolled in premed, but decided he liked ideas more than biology.

It would be the law, then.

Giuliani landed as an assistant in the U.S. Attorney's office for the Southern District of New York, a premier office for a young prosecutor. He distinguished himself as demanding but fair.

Bob Leuci, a detective who spent years helping the prosecutors to uncover police corruption, developed a friendship with Giuliani but saw a "hardening" set in.

Nuances gave way to black and white. Giuliani was so sure of himself he seemed to listen with one ear shut, Leuci recalls.

"As time went on, he had less patience for people who made mistakes in their lives," said Leuci.


Giuliani landed as the No. 3 man at the Justice Department when Ronald Reagan took office, then headed back to New York to become U.S. attorney. His mother saw it as a demotion. Giuliani turned it into the launching pad for a run at the mayor's job.

On his second try, Giuliani convinced New Yorkers he was the cure for a city so sick that Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan had described it as "defining deviancy down."

His achievements are the stuff of lore — crime down 56 percent, welfare rolls slashed nearly 60 percent, taxes cut 23 times. So are his domineering style and petulance.

Things were getting done, but vexations grew. Giuliani's relations with minorities, strained at the beginning, only got worse. He refused even to meet with top black officials; his tight circle of advisers came to be regarded as a super-loyal coterie of "yes-Rudys;" his enemies list grew longer by the day.

Mark Green, a liberal Democrat who served as the city's public advocate when Giuliani was mayor, captures both sides of the Giuliani coin:

"He was unusually hardworking, smart, competent," Green begins, finishing the list with a different tone: "authoritarian, divisive and interpersonally imperialistic."

Giuliani shrugs off criticism of his operating style, pointing to the results.

"Life can get rancorous," Giuliani wrote in his book. "This is not always a bad thing."

But even New Yorkers grew tired of Giuliani's schtick.


By 2000, his second mayoral term was running out of gas. Giuliani set his sights on the U.S. Senate but then was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

In an only-in-New York news conference, Giuliani discussed his cancer diagnosis, spoke publicly of his "very good friend" (and future wife) Judith Nathan and left open the door to pulling out of the Senate race.

And, for good measure, he tossed out the news that he was seeking a legal separation from Donna Hanover — in effect informing his second wife via news conference that their marriage was over.

Giuliani pulled out of the Senate race and tackled his disease with the same outta-here attitude he had used to muscle mobsters and squeegee guys.

He was still mayor, and "having to perform — being needed — got me through," he recalled.

On Sept. 11, 2001, when first word came that a plane had struck the World Trade Center, Giuliani sped to the scene.

Fire Commissioner Tom Von Essen remembers Giuliani, his face caked with dust, advising passers-by to "keep walking north" and coaching them to "take it easy, just keep walking."

In the hours and days that followed, the righteous certainty that had grated on New Yorkers in earlier days was exactly what they now wanted.

Oprah dubbed him America's Mayor. Queen Elizabeth knighted him. Time named him Person of the Year.

Exit stage left, Giuliani the political pariah; enter stage right, Giuliani the stuff of presidential speculation.

Gradually, though, questions grew about Giuliani's leadership, related to events before and after 9/11:

Had he done enough to equip firefighters for such a crisis? Why didn't he do more to protect the health of workers at Ground Zero? Should he have known better than to put the city's command center in the World Trade Center complex?

The questions linger, but Giuliani's performance during the ordeal remains the cornerstone of his presidential persona.