Monday, February 12, 2007

Rudy's Weaknesses

The Smoking Gun posts the 'opposition research' paper that Rudy Giuliani's own campaign team prepared for his New York City mayoral run in 1993. The point was to prepare for the attacks that were likely to be coming from the Dinkins team. All copies were supposed to be destroyed, but apparently one or more survived.

I've not had a chance to look at it closely, but what I have seen makes for interesting reading. I was not aware of the circumstances surrounding Giuliani's first marriage, but they sound... interesting:

The confidential 450-page report, authored by Giuliani's research director and another aide, was the campaign's attempt to identify possible lines of attack against Giuliani and prepare the candidate and his staff to counter "the kinds of no-holes-barred assault" expected in a general election rematch with Democratic incumbent David Dinkins. As he tried to win election in an overwhelmingly Democratic city, Giuliani needed "inoculating against" the "Reagan Republican moniker," the vulnerability study reported. "

The Giuliani campaign should emphasize its candidate's independence from traditional national Republican policies." The final six words of that sentence are underlined in the study.

Additionally, the Giuliani report noted that the candidate needed to make it clear to voters that he was "pretty good on most issues of concern to gay and lesbian New Yorkers" and was pro-choice and supported public funding for abortion. "He will continue city funding for abortions at city hospitals. Nothing more, nothing less." Giuliani's stance on these issues, of course, may leave him vulnerable today with an entirely different electorate.

The campaign study was obtained by The Village Voice's Wayne Barrett in the course of preparing "Rudy!," an investigative biography of Giuliani. In its preface, the study notes that it is "tough and hard-hitting. It pulls no punches." Perhaps that is why Giuliani, as Barrett reported, ordered copies of the vulnerability study destroyed shortly after it was circulated to top campaign aides.

He surely could not have been pleased to read that his "personal life raises questions about a 'weirdness factor.'" That weirdness, aides reported, stemmed from Giuliani's 14-year marriage to his second cousin, a union that he got annulled by claiming to have never received proper dispensation from the Catholic Church for the unorthodox nuptials. "When asked about his personal life, Giuliani gives a wide array of conflicting answers," the campaign report stated. "All of this brings the soundness of his judgement into question--and the veracity of his answers."

Some of this will undoubtedly serve as a useful 'how-to' for primary opponents, so it's in Giuliani's best interest to get it out there early. And while there is some odd stuff in here, it's likely that things like 'He will continue city funding for abortions at city hospitals. Nothing more, nothing less,' will cause more problems than stuff about marrying one's cousin.

Hhmm. Guess there's no way to say that without it sounding strange.

Anyway, I may comment more as I get the chance to look through more of it.

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