- The Washington Times - Friday, November 2, 2001

Virginia Republican candidate Mark L. Earley hasn't been able to wrangle a television endorsement ad out of President Bush, but now he has one from arguably the nation's second-most-popular politician, New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani.
In the ad Mr. Giuliani tells viewers he met Mr. Earley on Sept. 10, the day before the terrorist attacks, and is convinced the former attorney general is the best man to lead the state.
"Neither one of us could have known what was going to happen over the next seven weeks," he said. "But now, more than ever, Virginia and America needs real leadership and you've got a candidate for governor in Mark Earley who can provide exactly that kind of leadership."
Mr. Earley is trailing Democrat Mark R. Warner in the polls by anywhere from 6 to 10 points, and with the election just days away Republicans describe the ad as their "Hail Mary" play.
With Mr. Giuliani's enormous popularity after his handling of New York City's recovery efforts, the campaign is counting on the ad to grab voters' attention. As of today, the Earley camp has pulled its other ads off the air and plans to run only the Giuliani spot through Election Day on Tuesday.
"This is the exclamation point at the end of the sentence that we've been saying all along Virginians want experienced leadership that has been steady and tested in these uncertain times. Who better personifies courage in uncertain times than Rudy Giuliani and Mark Earley?" said David Botkins, a spokesman for Mr. Earley.
Mr. Botkins said the ad shows that Mr. Giuliani speaking to the camera, as well as Mr. Earley talking with police officers and children.
"If I were a Virginian, I would vote for Mark Earley." Mr. Giuliani concludes.
Earley staffers said the two men hit it off when Mr. Earley met Mr. Giuliani in September. Mr. Earley was in New York for a fund-raiser with current Virginia Gov. James S. Gilmore III, who is chairman of the Republican National Committee.
It is a dramatic turnaround from three years ago, when Mr. Gilmore and Mr. Giuliani engaged in a long-distance verbal dust-up over the amount of New York trash being trucked to Virginia landfills.
Even though Republicans dominate Virginia politics and there's a Republican in the White House, Mr. Earley has had to turn to Mr. Giuliani this year.
Mr. Bush had been scheduled to hold a fund-raiser in Virginia in September, but that was canceled after the September 11 attacks. The president, wanting to keep clean bipartisan credentials while fighting the war on terrorism, hasn't personally campaigned, but did send a letter this week endorsing Mr. Earley's candidacy.
Yesterday, Mr. Earley campaigned in Northern Virginia, stopping at Metro stations and senior centers.
Mr. Warner, meanwhile, was in the state's southeastern region yesterday attending several rallies.
"We all have a tremendous amount of respect for Mayor Giuliani, but in the end this election will be decided by Virginia voters on Virginia issues," said Mo Elleithee, a spokesman for Mr. Warner. "On issues like the budget, public safety and education, Virginians are siding with Mark Warner."
Also yesterday Mr. Warner received the support, though not the endorsement, of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, formerly Handgun Control Inc., which sent an e-mail to its several thousand Virginia members calling Mr. Warner the better candidate.
The National Rifle Association did something similar, refusing to endorse Mr. Earley but sending its 115,000 Virginia members a letter calling Mr. Earley the clearly better candidate.


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