Rudy Giuliani fired his chief campaign fund-raiser today, reports the Daily News. It's probably an expression of dissatisfaction with how the fund-raising has gone this quarter, as Sunday is the filing deadline for presidential candidates, and all of the totals are being added up this week. But with his lead shortening in national polls, now is clearly not the time to have limitations on how much he can get his message out. Giuliani is replacing the (amicably) ousted Anne Dunsmore with Jim Lee, "a Texas moneyman and Bush ally" who is already on the Giuliani finance team. During the last quarter Dunsmore raised $17 million for Giuliani, which is a lot, but not nearly as much as the $27 million Hillary raised in the same period. As Hillary continues to try to define the race as a competition between only her and Giuliani, he'll need all the money he can get to fight back and get Republican voters to start forgetting the other GOP candidates, too. Hillary is expected to announce that she raised about $20 million this quarter (she's catching up with Obama; he's expected to announce the same amount), so we're betting Rudy's falling short of that. Hmm. Forgot what it was like to be poor, didn't we, Rudy?
Rudy Giuliani Fires Chief Fundraiser [NYDN]
Only just yesterday morning, Columbia University president Lee Bollinger was about as popular as Alger Hiss during the Red Scare. His decision to invite Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speak during the annual World Leaders Forum was criticized everywhere: In newspaper editorials, by presidential hopefuls, not to mention all the students and protesters who hung around Morningside Heights, handing out flyers saying things like, "Bollinger, too bad bin Laden is not available."
But since he laid his verbal smackdown on Ahmadinejad, boy has he bounced back! Immediately after the debate ended yesterday afternoon, Columbia's student newspaper, the Spectator reported the university was being "flooded with calls to congratulate Columbia on the Ahmadinejad invitation talk about a change of heart." Seriously! It continued this morning.
Today the Post tells us about the "love notes" between Rudy Giuliani and Bill Clinton that the pair exchanged while Clinton was president and Giuliani was mayor of New York City. The missives were sent after Giuliani supported national legislation that was also backed by Clinton, and boy are they steamy. "You can be proud of your efforts to promote this bill," cooed Clinton, who send Giuliani a signed photograph. "Thank you for the signing pen," gushed Giuliani. "I greatly appreciate your thoughtfulness." It's practically pornographic! The Post dug up the correspondence after Giuliani hinted that he had flattering letters from Clinton that he might use against Hillary if the race got tight. It was a good, funny piece of investigative work on their part, but we can't help but wonder why they failed to make the obvious point.
Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s request to lay a wreath at ground zero was the unlikeliest wish in a week of ambitious schemes. Hillary Clinton took a second swing at universal health care, laying out a $110 billion program. Rudy Giuliani crossed the pond to London to rub shoulders with Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair, and Gordon Brown, then suggested that Israel join nato. Dan Rather sued CBS for $70 million.
After all the lengthy stories we’ve read about Rudy Giuliani in the Times lately, we felt they had us pretty well versed in his flaws. But now the Caucus blog has revealed a new side to the man who would be president: He's an unapologetic cell-phone menace. During his speech to members of the NRA this morning, Rudy took a call from none other than Mrs. Schmoopy. “Hello dear. I’m talking to the members of the NRA right now,” he said, according to reporter Michael Falcone. “Would you like to say hello? I’ll give you a call as soon as I’m done. Have a safe trip. Bye-bye.” Cute! Except not really. The Times notes this is not the first time Giuliani has answered his phone during a campaign speech — he did it back in June, in Hialeah, Florida — and indicates that the NRA members did not seem amused. No doubt this had something to do with the personalized ringtone Rudes has for Judi, which we have heard is a remix of Sisqo’s “Thong Song.”
Giuliani: Excuse Me While I Take This Call [NYT]
Last night, Tom Vilsack made a few small statements about Rudy Giuliani that could signal some big upcoming moves for the Hillary Clinton campaign. Vilsack, who is a co-chairman on Hillary's team, warned that in a national campaign against Rudy, things will get personal. "There's a lot that the rest of the country is going to get to know about Mayor Giuliani that the folks in New York City know," the former Iowa governor said, stifling a maniacal cackle. "I can't even get into the number of marriages and the fact that his children — the relationships he has with his children — and what kind of circumstances New York was in before September 11." Vilsack, by suggesting that the race is going to get ugly between Hillary and Rudy, is broaching a new tactic for the campaign: framing the election as a choice between the two. By subtly encouraging voters to imagine what will happen between Hillary and Rudy, she's helping to anoint herself as the de facto Democratic nominee. Gadzooks!
Huffington Post's FundRace 2008 feature, which lets you track individual campaign contributions by name or address, continues to be a reliable source of stalkerish joy. Today we decided to check up on how 740 Park Avenue, with its plentiful dollar, votes. What we found might shock you.
Yesterday, when we gleefully listed Michael Mukasey's homeboy specifications (born in the Bronx, went to an UES yeshiva, etc.), we glossed over the most intriguing part: the current A.G. nominee's extensive ties to Rudy Giuliani. The connections between the two deserve their own list. Not only did Mukasey swear in the mayor in both 1994 and 1998, he donated heavily to his presidential campaign; Mukasey's son Marc works at Bracewell & Giuliani, Rudy's boutique law firm; and both Marc and Michael are the Giuliani campaign's judicial advisers. In fact, as a federal judge in the Giuliani era, Mukasey had to recuse himself from some City Hall–related cases because of his friendship with the mayor. Today's Times even describes a less-than-hilarious prank Mukasey played on Giuliani in the seventies (it involved Rudy getting a job at a law firm).
The sixth anniversary of 9/11 came and went, with what has come to pass for normality on the city’s darkest date: a walk-through at ground zero for victims’ families, and Rudy Giuliani observing a rare moment of silence. Just like old times, a suspicious powder turned up in the mail room at the Standard & Poor’s offices. Census data found that blacks appear to be leaving the city — an exodus that may increase after 704 code violations were found at a single Harlem apartment building. The toxic oil spill under Greenpoint was discovered to be bigger than anyone had imagined. HIV infections were once again on the rise.
Usually, when politicians get in little catfights — like Reagan and Tip O’Neill — you can sort of tell that behind the vitriol, they’re secretly buddies and afterward will probably, you know, retire to some to damask-covered room where they’ll drink cognac and smoke cigars and chuckle about how awesome it is to be in power. But with Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani, it’s so not like that.
The notoriously protective Judi Giuliani's hackles were raised at Tuesday’s 9/11 ceremony, when her lovemunchkin, Rudy, was heckled by members of the crowd for...oh, we dunno, perhaps his relentless milking of tragedy for personal gain? "Rudy kind of took it and just kept walking," a witness told the Daily News of the meanies' taunts. “But [Judi] turned on them and started saying ‘How dare you!’" Interesting! We're not going say we endorse the Giuliani candidacy, but wouldn't it be kind of cool to have a First Lady who wouldn't hesitate to cut a bitch?
Tales From the Pit [The Street]
Buried on page ten of the Post today is the news that Fran Reiter, one of Rudy Giuliani's mayoral campaign managers (and later his deputy mayor) has switched allegiances and now supports Hillary Clinton. "[Rudy] took a political turn to the right — clearly. It's a much more ideological agenda," said Reiter, who adds that back when he was mayor, he was "terrific to work for." But, she says, he's recently backed away from "the progressive views he took" back then. Confronted with such obvious human evidence of Rudy's political flip-flops, his current spokesperson retorted, "we'll trade Fran Reiter for Louis Freeh any time." Oh, snap! Freeh was Bill Clinton's FBI director, who now supports Giuliani. The statement was deft enough to evade examination by the Post, but we have to wonder about the false parallel. Freeh worked for Bill Clinton, not Hillary. Hill has been making some clear departures from his legacy lately — making it clear she doesn't mean to be the same president. But Fran Reiter's point is that Rudy now is a different person from Rudy ten years ago — a much more sticky issue. One that the campaign has been trying to ignore. (Then again, we do sort of see the Giuliani spokesman's point. We'd probably rather have Freeh too — he's a total DILF!)
Former Giuliani Aide Flips to Team Clinton [NYP]
Alice + Olivia designer Stacey Bendet took offense to Molly Sims's comment that the label was "lower end" by claiming that Sims begged for free pants and a plane ticket to the show when she modeled for her last February. Tennis stars Novak Djokovic and Maria Sharapova claim to be just friends, but they were out singing karaoke together till 5 a.m. the night after Djokovic lost in the finals. In other tennis news: Some designers were annoyed that Anna Wintour spent more time with Roger Federer at the U.S. Open than at Fashion Week shows. Details editor Dan Peres is expecting his first child with Aussie wife Sarah Wynter. Walmart competitor the Wholesale Department Store Union bought out a showing of Off Broadway show Walmartopia. Chef Todd English, of Olives fame, may open up a new place on 98 Kenmare Street. Liz Smith's sources tell her that Rudy Giuliani is "a bad man and an erratic personality" but would make a good chief executive.
Nicole Kidman may be playing Vanity Fair–style arbiter Amy Fine Collins in the film adaptation of her memoir. Rupert Murdoch may be trying to lure CNBC "Money Honey" Maria Bartiromo to his new Fox Business Channel, though the Post isn't making matters easy by writing negative items about her. The Suffolk County D.A. has seized over 45,000 pages of legal papers in its investigation of the Fire Island double voting scandal. Mischa Barton may or may not have had a wardrobe malfunction at a Save the Children event at Lincoln Center. Andy Roddick referred to Roger Federer as a "robot." Authors of a book about Doris Duke are claiming that Bob Balaban, director of an upcoming movie about the tobacco heiress, may have committed copyright infringement. Rudy Giuliani played golf — though presumably not well — sans Secret Service at the Noyac Golf Club in Sag Harbor.
As a halfhearted cabbie strike made it easier to flag down a school bus than a yellow taxi during rush hour last week, the Big Apple did its best to keep moving forward. Hillary out-earned rivals Barack Obama and Rudy Giuliani in the city during the second quarter — and bested Rudy in a poll asking which candidate people would most like to have riding shotgun on a long road trip — but hit a speed bump trying to maintain her distance from former six-figure fund-raiser and felon Norman Hsu, who skipped out on bail.
Normally, we find Giuliani's all-9/11-all-the-time chest beating hard to stomach: The city's most painful recent memory happens to be his "comfort zone," as Stephen Rodrick wrote in his New York piece on Rudy back in March. But when the man runs on his actual record of reducing crime and such, oddly enough, we mind it a little less. At least that rhetoric has more meat on it than, say, Fred Thompson's bizarre mix of real and fictional gravitas. And then comes the rare precious moment when we actually feel bad for the guy; for instance, last night, when the rest of the GOP contenders piled on Rudy during a debate for one thing he's handled very well as mayor: New York's unspoken dependence on illegal-immigrant labor. "I think saying, as he did — if you happen to be an undocumented alien, we want you in New York, we’ll protect you in New York — I think that contributed to 3 million illegals in this country becoming 12 million illegals coming into this country,” Mitt Romney snapped. That's some logic — are there 9 million illegals in New York, then? To his credit, Giuliani calmly parried, "I didn’t have the luxury of, you know, political rhetoric; I had the safety and security of the people of New York City on my shoulders." If only he didn't avail himself of this luxury so readily on that other topic.
Thompson a Target at G.O.P. Debate [NYT]
Tonight, coyer-than-thou Fred Dalton Thompson finally steps into the Republican race with ads on the always-friendly Fox News, a Leno appearance, a Webcast going live at midnight, and then a multi-state fly-around where he might actually talk with real people.
At the moment, it's unclear whether Thompson is the new Ronald Reagan or another Chauncey Gardner. He was right about one thing: He skipped the first half of Republican Death March to '08, and it so did not matter. Thompson didn't pay hard cash to grassroots get-a-lifers communing with the same seventeen Ames, Iowa, activists. There were no clandestine meetings with the South Carolina black ops guys who did in McCain back in 2000. Instead, Thompson smoked cigars at his Virginia home, played with his kids, and watched the field self-implode.
Fewer Hollywood stars than usual are expected at Fashion Week when it starts September 5, because the Emmys and the MTV Video Music Awards are the same week. Dan Rather was confused by the "Thriller" dance stunt performed by Katie Couric's staff last week, though he thinks her job is safe. Arianna Huffington may be dating Newark mayor Cory Booker. Cuba Gooding Jr., who is married with three kids, recently made out with five girls in one night at Tenjune. Jeremy Piven got into a heated argument with his mother at Nobu Malibu, though it's unclear about what. Gwyneth Paltrow has been trekking around Spain with Mario Batali for a PBS cooking show (and hubby Chris Martin almost didn't get into the premiere of her brother's new movie). Cameron Diaz had a romantic dinner with John Mayer at Mai House in Tribeca. Residents of Martha's Vineyard are happy that Larry David and Laurie are broken up and that Larry is dating again.
We've been reading a lot about Rudy Giuliani lately. There was that Voice piece yesterday on why his kids are right to hate him. There's the New Yorker profile we finally got around to reading last night (and which seemed only to provide a Steinbergian New Yorker's View of Rudy to the rest of the country — was there anything in it, other than that his father, in addition to being a small-time gangster, was also a mean disciplinarian, that you didn't already know?). And there's the Harper's cover we've been looking at on our coffee table for a week or so now, though we can't quite bring ourselves to crack it.