I spent Sunday on the second day of Mayor Giuliani’s bus tour across New Hampshire. We were in Nashua, Hudson, Salem and Hampton. During one particularly surreal stretch, I was in the back of a pick-up truck riding in Salem’s Christmas Parade. It was odd to drive by kids expecting to see Old St. Nick only to find a bunch of reporters with note-books.
I give a lot of credit to David Broder, who also made the climb into the pick-up. When you see a guy like Broder on the Sunday morning shows, you have to realize there’s much, much more there than a guy who can talk about politics off-the-cuff. He has a deep knowledge of American politics. And he is still working it. All the reporters gave him a tremendous amount of respect. He deserves it.
As for Giuliani, he was energized.But it was a strange day. Like everybody in New Hampshire, he was heavily managed. But this has gone a bit too far. In 2000, Bush was criticized for his inaccessibility to the press, in contrast to John McCain, who gabbed with reporters constantly, but at least the then-Texas governor did at least one set-piece press conference or availability a day. Nowadays, few of the candidates, Democrats or Republicans, even do that.
At one point, the campaign even brought Paul Cellucci onto the bus to answer questions, an act that drew eye-rolls and groans from the press corps. Cellucci called Romney’s earlier anti-Giuliani tirade a “Mitt Fit,” which I found to be a pretty good line.To me, the substance of the day was Giuliani’s attempt to exploit the opening created by one of Mitt Romney’s judges freeing a convicted murder who went on to murder a couple in Washington State. Here’s my piece in the Sun. The spectacle of Giuliani’s campaign bus blaring Christmas music as the mayor ran from sidewalk to sidewalk was the kind of color that makes the New Hampshire primary great. Also great was this quote from a spectator clad in a Veterans of Foreign Wars jacket, David Thompson about the Massachusetts judge. “I’m not in favor of that at all. These judges are too damn liberal.”