This time, the crowd nods but doesn’t clap. The London addendum hit a bum note. It’s as if Rudy’s trying to make himself out to be the Zelig of terrorism. For the first time, he might have overplayed 9/11.
By now, however, the 9/11 song is so familiar that Rudy quickly finds his way back to the beat. “They believe their perverted ideas are stronger than our belief in democracy, freedom, decency, and the rule of law.” He pauses and surveys the room full of fourth-generation Japanese farmers, tractor salesmen, and a lone bagpipe player. “And they’re wrong. Absolutely wrong.”
There is a standing ovation.
After his speech, Giuliani is golf-carted to a nearby exhibition to try out some of the new farm gadgets. He even screws in a few screws with a newfangled drill. For no clear reason, a Marine in dress blue is never too far from the mayor’s side.
“You’re gonna run, right?” asks a worried farmer. “Don’t let us down.”
“I won’t,” promises Giuliani.
Then the former mayor of New York, standing in a California farm field surrounded by tractors and a two-story-tall thresher, pulls out a Sharpie, and signs a few more autographs.