- The Washington Times - Friday, January 18, 2008

Rudy gets his shot

“Former New York MayorRudolph W. Giuliani has taken quite a hit recently both in the national media and in national polls,” Stuart Rothenberg notes in Roll Call.

“Journalists have noted that his crowds during the first two weeks of January were small, leading some to conclude that the mayor’s presidential race may be over even before it has begun,” Mr. Rothenberg said.

“But as we’ve already seen a number of times during this presidential campaign, it’s wise not to jump to conclusions, and Giuliani’s strategy has not yet been tested. There’s no need for you to be the first on your block to write off the New Yorker.

Giuliani’s fading strength in the national polls, his eroded standing in Quinnipiac University’s Florida polling and his poor crowds recently stem from the same factor: He didn’t compete in the early contests, where most of the attention and all of the initial excitement was located.

“For many months, I’ve said that I thought Giuliani’s Florida/Feb. 5 strategy was both silly and plausible, and there is no reason to change that assessment at this point. . . .

“The crucial point is this: Giuliani didn’t fall in the national polls because Republican voters decided he doesn’t have the stuff to be president. He didn’t see his crowds thin because rank-and-file Republicans finally turned thumbs down on his more moderate social views (on abortion, gay rights or gun control). And he didn’t fall off the media’s national radar because Republicans remembered his friendship with Bernie Kerik or his messy personal life when he was still serving as mayor.

Giuliani’s star dimmed during the first half of January, not because he committed a gaffe but because he made himself irrelevant. When he becomes relevant at the end of January, both voters and the national media will once again turn to Rudy, and that’s when he’ll have his shot.”

Hillary’s coup

“At approximately 6 p.m. on Jan. 15, three hours before a Kumbaya interlude at the Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas, I saw Al Sharpton defending Sen. Barack Obama from charges of youthful drug abuse,” Margaret Carlson writes at www.bloomberg.com.

“As we all know by now, the accusation arises from Obama’s own admission in his modern Horatio Alger tale, ‘Dreams From My Father,’ published long before he became a presidential candidate, that he tried cocaine as a teenager,” Miss Carlson said.

“The hoopla over this has validated the judgment ofGeorge W. Bush eight years ago to refuse to answer questions about his own alleged drug use, which many believe continued well beyond his teen years. This is why honesty isn’t considered the best policy by political consultants. But I digress.

“Sharpton has done things to redeem himself in recent years, but his presence is a one-way ticket back to Tawana Brawley, boycotts, shakedowns and good old-fashioned, in-your-face confrontational race-based politics. Seeing him in that box on TV, I realized that the Clintons had done what they needed to do to stop Obama’s historic surge in its tracks.

“From the start of his career, Obama wanted, and needed, to remove the race card from the political deck. …

“A cease-fire initiated by Obama was formalized into a peace agreement during a love fest at the debate. And why not? For Clinton’s campaign, it was Mission Accomplished, intentional or not. Obama was now the black candidate.”

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