RUDY: MORE PHONE CALL INTERRUPTIONS THAN YOU EVER IMAGINED
We all assumed that Rudy Giuliani, for some bizarre reason, staged the phone call from wife Judi in the middle of his speech to the NRA -- and that theory seemed to be confirmed shortly after the incident happened, when Mitt Romney's campaign spread the word about a video of an earlier Rudy-Judi phone call interruption.
But John Fund of The Wall Street Journal's editorial page thinks the call was real ... because Rudy's done this dozens of times.
...The estimate from those in a position to know is that he has taken such calls more than 40 times in the middle of speeches, conferences and presentations to large donors. "If it's a stunt, it's not one coming from him," says one Giuliani staffer. "It's an ongoing problem that he won't take advice on."
Er, forty? He's done this more than forty times? And his own staffers are leaking this?
Fund says he once did it twice in a day:
...Mr. Giuliani spoke twice at the Oklahoma History Center, first at a small private roundtable for $2,300 donors and then to 150 people who donated $500 apiece. Ten minutes into the roundtable, Mr. Giuliani's phone rang. He left the room to take the call, apparently from Mrs. Giuliani, and never returned. The snubbed donors received no explanation....
An hour or so later, Mr. Giuliani was speaking to the bigger group of donors when his phone rang again. While he spoke with his wife, he invited her to say hello to the assembled crowd....
I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I think Giuliani is the scariest of all the people who can become president, and the Republican most likely to win, so I'm glad he's under fire. And I agree -- it is weird. On the other hand, this is your press corps being trivial again -- the phone calls are like Hillary's laugh, a silly thing to be focusing on when real problems and disasters like Iraq need to be taken seriously. (I suppose it could be a sign that the press has decided it doesn't want Rudy to be president, and it may be treating him the way it treated Al Gore.)
What's striking is where this story appears -- they don't like Rudy on The Wall Street Journal's editorial page? That's very interesting. And note that this is the second piece about the calls on the Journal editorial page in less than a week -- somebody there has decided to keep this story alive, long after it started to fade from most people's memory. Why? Whose candidacy are these guys favoring?
I think this is a more ominous sign for him than any idle threats from aging Christian conservative leaders.
And it's all very odd -- after all, isn't the right's biggest presidential hero a guy who called his wife "Mommy" and couldn't bear to be apart from her for more than a day? (Not to mention the fact that he didn't go to church.)
(That "Mommy" link, by the way, is a screen shot from this transcript.)