Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Romney vs. Giuliani

Having engaged and (seemingly) dispatched of Arizona Senator John McCain from the GOP primary on primarily the immigration issue, Gov. Mitt Romney has now seemingly turned his attention to Rudy Giuliani; and he's going to use the same issue -- immigration -- to hurt the former New York Mayor. (In fairness, McCain put the immigration ball on a tee for Romney; talk radio and the blogosphere did the rest.)

Romney's new radio ad (YouTubed above) cites cities like Newark (NJ), San Francisco, and New York, that are effectively "sanctuary cities" that essentially attract immigrants -- illegal and legal. (Romney's ad fails to cite a more local city -- Cambridge -- that does the same, as the Globe's blog points out; of course, running against The People's Republic may not be bad politics in a GOP primary.)

Giuliani, meanwhile, has emerged as a front-runner in the GOP field, much to the chagrin of those who watched him closely in New York. From this weeks' New Yorker profile by Pete Boyer:

When Giuliani’s tenure as mayor ended, in 2002, he left behind a city that was grateful, and more than a little relieved to see him go. He had achieved much of his program of radical reform, and he performed well on September 11th, but it had felt like an eight-year fistfight. Giuliani had fought with teachers and with Yasir Arafat, with the Brooklyn Museum and with Fidel Castro, with squeegee men, tennis fans, street venders, taxi-drivers, his own police chief, and, of course, his wife. He had repeatedly chastised New Yorkers for their incorrigible jaywalking and careless bicycling. (“All of these things are part of making the city safer. There’s been a lot of ridicule about it, which is unfortunate.”) Many Manhattanites felt that when the rest of the country experienced the Rudy Giuliani they knew—the flashes of pique, the slashing remark—the celebrity glow would quickly fade.

It hasn’t happened yet. The Giuliani whom New Yorkers recall isn’t campaigning. With some exceptions, like the debate dustup with Ron Paul, the Presidential contender is all smiles, and holds his tongue even when confronted by the occasional town-hall needler. He has taken to fence-mending as well, initiating a rapprochement with his former police chief, William Bratton, who is now running the L.A.P.D. A few days after they conferred, Giuliani told me that he could even imagine working with Bratton again some day. “I mean, I don’t know if it’s the effect of having been the mayor for eight years, of going through prostate cancer, or having a personal life that’s much happier, or if it’s September 11th—maybe it’s a combination of all those things, and just getting older and wiser,” he said. “But you sort of look back on some of the things and say, that was an extraordinarily productive relationship. . . . I mean, we took a city that nobody believed could be turned around with regard to crime, and really did turn it around. That’s not like a political slogan. We really did it. Now that I look back on it, I really appreciate the relationship.
Looks like it will be an interesting fall.

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