Archive for the ‘Rudolph Giuliani’ Category

Personal Memories of Campaign 2008

November 6, 2008
I first met Barack Obama at a sparsely attended press conference for Deval Patrick in October 2006. I saw him electrify an audience at the JFK Library and witnessed his first big appearance in New Hampshire in early December. I was there in Concord when Obama stood by his vow to meet the president of Iran during his first year in office. “We don’t need Bush-Cheney Lite,” he said as the crowd erupted in cheers. Even when this became an issue in the debates with McCain, nobody told McCain Obama ever said that.
I heard him implore Massachusetts to vote for him with Caroline Kennedy and Ted Kennedy at his side the night before the primary. He lost but he did not lose his cool.
I saw his last appearance with foreign policy aide Samantha Power. Obama seemed to love her energy but his staffers kept reeling her in.
I was one of the few writers to spend an extended period of time with Joe Biden, who gave me time after a book talk at Borders in downtown Boston. In an odd juxtaposition from four years earlier, I waited for Biden with the BPPA’s leadership team.
I attended scores of Hillary Clinton speeches and watched her campaign of inevitability devolve into desperation. I saw her fight back as the NH primary approached. I was in the room when two goons got up during one of her speeches shouting “Iron My Shirt! Iron My Shirt!”
I covered the Pennsylvania primary before Obama had figured out how to capture the votes of blue collar whites (or before the economy entirely went south.) I saw a Bill Clinton, reduced to giving 25 minute speeches in out-of-the-way venues, rev up the crowd in Millvale, PA. I interviewed Senator Casey of Pennsylvania who assured me Obama would win over enough Catholic voters to become president.
On the Republican side, I began by following Mitt Romney around New Hampshire. I saw Rudy Giuliani take brief interest and lose it in the Granite State. While he started to resonate in July, his big tour across Southern New Hampshire was a bust. The lasting image is of his gaggle of stilettoed press aides shoeing away the media, including David Broder who subsequently slammed Giuliani in the Washington Post.
McCain began his presidential campaign in Portsmouth at a highly orchestrated event right on the river with just one problem. The t.v. cameras could not shoot over the big speakers McCain’s people had set up. I called around NH when McCain hit his low point. McCain would win NH on his own, his supporters said. And they were right. I was with McCain the night he won NH and killed the campaign of Mitt Romney. The campaign blared Chuck Berry’s “Go Johnny Go!” How is this guy going to compete with Obama and his U2 “City of Blinding Light?” I thought.
I was there in Denver when Obama made everything in his campaign bigger and pulled it off.

Giuliani Concedes Florida and …

January 30, 2008

Mayor Giuliani

Rudy Giuliani just conceded Florida. He was sweating. The bright lights reflected off of his eye-glasses. This was in contrast to Giuliani’s campaign appearances where he would appear composed and wearing contact lenses.

Now that Giuliani is on the verge of making his departure from the race public, it’s a good time to look at the odd campaign he ran. The main problem wasn’t merely his strategy — although his strategy was certainly wrong-headed. Remember Patrick Buchanan telling me if Giuliani was his strategist, he’d be “sleeping with the fishes.”His campaign, quite simply, was mystifying. When I traveled with Giuliani in New Hampshire’s lake region during the summer, he seemed energized. Polls indicated he might develop some traction. He schmoozed with locals and spoke energetically at town meetings. He was on the rise when John McCain seemed dead.

But his campaign never really bought into the importance of campaigning in the Granite State, a place with moderate Republicans and Independents with whom he should have been able to do well.

By the time I went with Giuliani on a bus tour across the state’s southern tier, things had soured. The campaign laden with press staffers, whose job seemed to be to shoe reporters away from New York’s mayor, was highly managed and little time was permitted for real encounters with New Hampshire voters, a must in that state of retail politics.

My sense of Giuliani, and it goes all the way back to his bizarre appearance with his wife and Barbara Walters, is that somehow Giuliani wasn’t fully invested in the race. Something was holding Giuliani back.

As Giuliani’s campaign faltered, his advocates, such as former Massachusetts governor Paul Cellucci, argued that his campaign strategy was devised to win a front-loaded primary race. That may be the case. But, to me, it seemed to reflect a certain reluctance to pay the physical and emotional price necessary in running for president of the United States. Maybe he wasn’t ready for the constant questions of reporters. Perhaps he wasn’t ready to devote his life to it. It’s possible there was some internal issue we’ll learn about over time. I don’t know. But it is one of the great political mysteries of our time.

WMUR-ABC Republican Debate

January 6, 2008

Thirty minutes into the Republican debate from St. Anselm College, I have the following observations:

• They all look tired. I am surprised by how fatigued Mitt Romney looks.

• The question on whether each candidate would follow President Bush’s foreign policy seemed to put the candidates on their heels. So did the use of video and sound from President Bush. The last things these guys want is to be lumped in with Bush.

• On the substance, I thought the responses of Giuliani, McCain, Thompson and Romney on the danger of terrorism were all solid. It was interesting to see Romney reach for some foreign policy substance by invoking specific Islamist clerics. Politically, however, Huckabee had the best comment, saying he’s “not running for George Bush’s third term.”

• Given the level of scrutiny on Huckabee’s past critiques of Bush’s foreign policy, I have to note that I was the first columnist to examine his statements in this area. I wrote: “Quick to personify nations while talking about international relations, at times he sounds like he is channeling a European member of the Green Party.”

Iowa Caucus Day

January 3, 2008

While my expertise is New Hampshire, I’ve been doing this long enough to make a couple of observations about Iowa. Given the vagaries of the caucus process, my sense is still that John Edwards will perform better than expectations. Remember he came in second last time and his organization has worked hard to make itself the second choice of the supporters of the lesser candidates.

The Biden Campaign is denying that it has made any deals with other candidates. Says Biden’s Iowa State Director, Danny O’Brien: “There are no discussions underway and there will be no deal with any campaign. We believe Sen. Biden is strong enough on his own. Everyone knows that Sen. Biden is a popular second choice for the supporters of all the other campaigns. We remain confident that Sen. Biden will surprise folks this evening.”

As for Hillary Clinton, her success hinges on the size of the electorate. If there are many new participants in the caucus process, she loses. But if the excitement around Barack Obama is great enough and if the energy coming from the far left is as strong as it seems, tonight could be a very long night for her. My guess is that her team has identified most of the die-hard participants, the people you need to win a caucus in a normal year. The big question is, is this a normal year?

I’m less interested in the Republican side in Iowa. The uptick in support for Mike Huckabee baffles me as did the margin of victory for George W. Bush in 2004. Both cases seem to reflect the strength of religious and values voters within the GOP — at the expense of other concerns. With John McCain and Rudy Giuliani both having opted out of Iowa and Huckabee — to me — not having legs, I just can’t see this contest being as determinative on the Republican side. That said, if Mitt Romney can win big there, I do expect him to benefit from a slingshot effect into New Hampshire.

A final thought: a string of Massachusetts politicians have profited thanks to their proximity to New Hampshire — Michael Dukakis, Paul Tsongas, John Kerry. In Romney’s case, the phenomena appears to be working in reverse. The more New Hampshire voters get exposed to Romney, the less they like him. I believe this is directly linked to the fact that the persona Romney has forged as a presidential candidate is so different to the one he demonstrated as a governor. In most cases, this wouldn’t matter. But New Hampshire voters got a close look at Romney in 1994 when he ran against Ted Kennedy and again from 2002 until 2006. So for him, the usual proximity advantage is actually a disadvantage.

I’ll post again later tonight.

“I’ll Be Home For Christmas”

December 28, 2007

The Album

Monday morning I saw Tony Bennett singing “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” on the CBS Early Show. It struck a chord with me, a day after I saw Rudy Giuliani talking about the song while campaigning in New Hampshire.  

Here’s what Giuliani had to say about the song: “It’s hard to listen to that song on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day and not get teary-eyed,” Mr. Giuliani told a crowd of some 200 jammed into the Bean Towne Coffee House. “I believe it was written during the Second World War. And it was written about, the ultimate end of the song, is that he’s not going to be home for Christmas. Because he’s far away fighting for liberty, fighting for freedom, fighting for the things that were critical in that period of time.”

Read the rest of the column here.

Giuliani In New Hampshire — December 23

December 24, 2007

Giuliani In the Galley Hatch

I saw Mayor Giuliani at two events today in New Hampshire — Hampton and Hamstead. At both events, Giuliani appeared far more energetic and lively than his prior visit, which directly preceded his hospitalization.

At the Galley Hatch in Hampton, he broke up the crowd with a quip about John McCain. Asked about McCain who is surging in the Granite State, Giuliani said “John would be a really good adviser.” He contrasted his experience, running New York City, with McCain’s, being a legislator. “People look to people who have run large things.”

He drew large gatherings that seemed big in both places — at least a couple hundred people — but I did have the sense that these were crowds that were jammed into small settings, a common political tactic to make a crowd appear larger than it is.

Incidentally, Jeff Grappone, a spokesman for Giuliani in New Hampshire, said his mother was planning to celebrate her 62nd birthday today — at the Galley Hatch.

More Kennedy on Rudy

December 19, 2007

Dan’s got more here on our day with Giuliani. He writes: “The media were kept at a distance. Giuliani was scheduled to speak at 12:45 p.m., but he didn’t arrive until about 1:15. What appeared to be several hundred Goss employees had filled the room, leading to a quip or two about whether they’d be allowed to extend their lunch break so that Rudy wouldn’t be speaking to an empty room. There were also a few jokes among reporters about the irony of covering an event at a company that manufactures printing presses, not exactly a growth industry these days.”

Also, he publishes this photo.
By Dan Kennedy

I also like his photo of The Boston Globe’s Brian Mooney, a newsman’s newsman.
By Dan Kennedy

McCain’s Surge in NH

December 19, 2007

Another Photo of Jim Cole

A relaxed Senator McCain, campaigning Barack Obama-style without a necktie, is offering New Hampshire voters a recipe that combines a morsel of the maverick, a bit of the bipartisan, a hint of the hawk, and a tablespoon of the tax-cutter.

 Mr. McCain added to his campaign today a call to eliminate the alternative minimum tax and to make the research and development tax credit permanent along with a ban on taxes on the Internet and cell phones.

Aiming to outdo Mitt Romney, who as the former governor of neighboring Massachusetts is ahead in polls to win the Granite State’s January 8 primary, Mr. McCain announced his economic proposals at the offices of the Andover Corporation, a manufacturer of optical devices that employs 47 people here.Many political analysts had written Mr. McCain, who was once the front-runner for the Republican nomination, off for dead when he fired his campaign manager and lost much of his staff back in July.

At that time, his supporters in New Hampshire, such as John Lyons, told me Mr. McCain would win the primary through “continued personal campaigning here.”By doing exactly that, the Arizonan has fought his way back to relevance, overtaking Mayor Giuliani and trailing Mr. Romney by an average of 13.5 percentage points according to Real Clear Politics. “John McCain has more traction and is looking to make a run at Romney,” a professor at the University of New Hampshire, Dante Scala, said.

Also, note the photo of McCain above by Jim Cole. That’s McCain doing something relatively rare for a presidential candidate but routine for him: he’s having an availability. Much of the media was converging on Missouri today because a rare event was taking place: Rudy Giuliani was planning to hold a press conference. Read more. 

More on Rudy: Video

December 18, 2007

I’m quoted as a political analyst in this Brad Puffer NECN report on Giuliani’s day in New Hampshire yesterday (after the ad.) You can also read about the encounter in Dan Kennedy’s column for the Guardian.

Giuliani Loses Swagger in Durham, New Hampshire

December 18, 2007

Mayor Giuliani is trying to demonstrate that he has not lost the “Eye of the Tiger.”

His campaign warmed up the crowd here in the sedate dining room of Goss International yesterday with such rousing tunes as “The Rocky Theme” and “Eye of the Tiger” from the “Rocky” film series starring Sylvester Stallone as a championship boxer.

But like a boxer in the late rounds of a match, Mr. Giuliani’s team appeared to be slowed from a series of blows in recent weeks. The mayor spoke for a little more than 35 minutes to an audience made up largely of workers at Goss International, which manufactures much of America’s printing press equipment. His demeanor seemed sober and somewhat subdued. Gone was the swagger he demonstrated at a series of weekend events in New Hampshire just after Thanksgiving.

And even as aides acknowledged that he was cutting back on advertising in New Hampshire to focus on Florida and other major races on February 5, Mr. Giuliani stressed the importance of New Hampshire to his campaign. “I’ll be spending some of my Christmas holiday in New Hampshire,” Mr. Giuliani said. “We’ll be working hard to get your vote. This is a very, very important primary. It always has been. It always will be. It’s the first in the nation, and … we want to do everything we can to win the vote here now, of course.”

Last night on Fox News’s “Hannity and Colmes,” Mr. Giuliani called his decision to spend less money in New Hampshire a “proportionate strategy” aimed at winning 29 primaries before February 5.

“We do see it as a nine-inning game, so you’re going to see money moving around,” he said.

Following the speech, the chairman of Mr. Giuliani’s campaign in New Hampshire, Wayne Semprini, said the mayor was committed to campaigning in New Hampshire. “He and I were just in the car talking about our plans for the next weeks in New Hampshire,” Mr. Semprini said. “Rudy Giuliani is not pulling out of New Hampshire.”

Mr. Semprini, who acknowledged that the campaign was “weighing how we use our resources right now,” seemed to take aim at Mitt Romney — who served as the governor of neighboring Massachusetts and has been consistently advertising in the Granite State — when he said, “I would be worried if he were up on TV since April and 55 to 60% of the people were still undecided.”

Read more here.