February 14, 2007

The Giuliani Papers, Redux

Confidential campaign documents have again surfaced from the Rudy Giuliani campaign that will embarrass the candidate and provide fodder for his opponents. A month after a recent campaign strategy book fell into the hands of the New York Observer, a private evaluation of Giuliani by his mayoral campaign in 1993 wound up on The Smoking Gun yesterday:

Sometimes in politics, the most damaging accusations come from your own staff.

Rudolph W. Giuliani learned that lesson again yesterday when a "vulnerability study," including warnings about his "weirdness factor" and other perceived liabilities, surfaced from his second campaign for New York mayor, 14 years ago.

Last month, the New York Daily News obtained a secret blueprint for Giuliani's expected Republican presidential bid that detailed concerns such as his liberal views on social issues and his messy divorce from his second wife, Donna Hanover.

The 1993 report by two aides in Giuliani's mayoral campaign was obtained by Village Voice reporter Wayne Barrett for a book on Giuliani and was posted on the Smoking Gun Web site. Giuliani went on to defeat incumbent David N. Dinkins (D) in a rematch that year and won a second term four years later.

Candidates routinely map out real and perceived liabilities in order to have strategies in place if and when opponents attempt to exploit them. It keeps candidates from getting broadsided on the stump, which can be more damaging than the revelation itself. Just recall Dan Quayle's reaction when Lloyd Bentsen sprang that silly criticism of not being JFK on Quayle during the VP debate; it defines Quayle to this day.

Some of this material is pretty tawdry, though, and it will cause Giuliani some discomfort over the next year, and longer if he wins the nomination. Most of the damage comes from the evaluation of his personal life, which contains data not widely known outside of New York City. Giuliani's divorces have been discussed among conservatives as a potential issue for family-values voters, but the issue of his attempt to annul one of the marriages on the basis of consanguinuity -- and hence the "weirdness factor" -- will be an unpleasant underscoring of this concern.

There's also another potential draft-dodging issue in his deferment on medical and occupational deferments in 1969. That seems somewhat less problematic, since the Air Force apparently initiated the termination of his ROTC program based on his hearing deficiencies. In a general election against Hillary Clinton, that will not be much of an issue anyway; she'll hardly be anxious to bring up draft dodging, considering that her main qualification for the Presidency comes from her time as First Lady to a real draft dodger.

The two leaks should have Giuliani campaigners wondering whether they have a spy in their midst. Both leaks reveal some pretty sensitive strategic evaluations, and both have reinforced some of Giuliani's more sensitive personal vulnerabilities. Giuliani may need to do a bit of mole-hunting to ensure that more of his confidential documents don't wind up on the front pages of the nation's newspapers.


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» Rudy Giuliani Watch: Vulnerabilities Part 2 from FullosseousFlap's Dental Blog
A couple of days ago, Flap mentioned this piece in The Smoking Gun. Now, Captain Ed talks about the issues addressed as vulnerabilities and raises the question of an inside sabotage job. Some of this material is pretty tawdry, though, and it will caus... [Read More]