Tuesday, May 24, 2011


I knew he was making trips to states with early contests, and it seemed clear that he was interested, but for some reason I'm still surprised to see Rudy Giuliani possibly on the verge of getting in the race, and I won't be surprised if he doesn't:

Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, whose presidential campaign fizzled in 2008, is leaning toward another race for the White House, according to a close associate. New York Republican Rep. Peter King, who has known Giuliani for more than 40 years, says the former mayor "is very close to saying he's going to run."

"If he were to make the decision today, he would run," says King.

Speaking at a dinner with reporters in Washington, King, who was an enthusiastic Giuliani supporter in 2008, said the former mayor has been quietly lining up support and exploring strategy....

I'm not saying he can win -- his unchanged positions on abortion and gay rights make that next to impossible. But I can see why he thinks it's no crazier for him to get in than for a lot of these other clowns to do so:

In a new poll of New Hampshire Republicans released Monday by television station WMUR, Giuliani tied for third, well behind frontrunner Mitt Romney but ahead of Tim Pawlenty, Sarah Palin, Daniels, Jon Huntsman, Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, and Herman Cain.

He also has the second-highest favorable-unfavorable spread among the candidates, according to New Hampshire Republican voters:

Giuliani had the second highest [net favorability] at +30 percent (favorability ratings are determined by subtracting the percentage of people who have an unfavorable opinion of the candidate from the percentage who have a favorable opinion). Romney had the highest favorability rating at +49 percent.

He also may be counting on a couple of personal relationships: with Roger Ailes, who likes him so much he allegedly asked Judith Regan to lie about her relationship with Bernie Kerik to protect him, and with Sarah Palin, with whom he clearly has a mutual admiration society (when she was about to quit the governorship in Alaska, she called him). Would she decline to join the race and endorse him, or at least tout him? I don't think it's impossible.

And he has a distinct advantage over the likes of Pawlenty, Huntsman, and even Romney in that he clearly, unquestionably hates people -- political enemies, liberals, terrorists, Muslims who don't defer to their Western betters, non-white criminals, the current president of the United States. With the GOP base, that counts for a lot.

No, he still can't overcome his gay rights and abortion stances in Bible Belt states. He also used to be very pro-immigrant, though he's since flip-flopped. He gets away with some of this stuff because of his jingoism and because he radiates hate -- but he can take that only so far.

If he runs, he's going to be an also-ran, but he could be one of the more successful also-rans. The real significance of a Giuliani race would be that he might be one more candidate who chips away at Romney, especially in New Hampshire (where, U.S. News is telling us, he's reportedly planning to focus his efforts). If Romney can't get a big win there, then whoever wins Iowa and South Carolina -- possibly the same Bible-belting extremist -- could be off to the races.

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