The hunt for Rudy Giuliani’s weak spot is on. Hillary Clinton — who’s leading the mayor 51 to 43 percent in the latest poll (people! They haven’t been nominated yet!) — goes right after Giuliani’s handling of 9/11. He may have had all the photo ops, her new ad reminds us without naming the opponent, but she was the one who stood by ailing first responders. It ties in nicely with her health-care initiative and delivers an oblique slap. Today’s Times takes a different tack. In what might prove a genius move, the paper has begun combing through the trove of Rudy’s radio archives. Back in the late nineties, the mayor had his own show, and it was not, as you may imagine, the docile fireside chat we get from Bloomberg.
Radio Rudy was, in fact, much like the rest of talk radio: whiny, combative, and opinionated. The Times hasn’t produced a candidacy-killing Imus moment (yet), but it does catch Giuliani in a couple of priceless back-and-forths. Here he is chewing out an NRA member for opposing an assault-rifle ban (“Now the reason why the NRA has lost all credibility is statements like that”). Elsewhere, Hizzoner trumpets “humane treatment” for illegal immigrants, finds nice words for the Clinton health-care plan, and harangues an angry black caller long after the latter had hung up. The one thing notably missing from the article is the infamous Ferret Skit — the Slate video inspired by the 1999 call where Rudy went all shock-jock on a poor ferret enthusiast, yelling that his love of “little weasels” amounts to mental illness. Slate’s hilarious animated rendition of the exchange, from this past spring, remains, arguably, the high point in that magazine’s multimedia dabblings (especially compared to this week’s howlingly unfunny, Vulture-derided 24 spoof). We’re not sure if it helps or hurts in the polls, but the Ferret Skit should, by all rights, be an Internet meme on par with, say, Alec Baldwin’s phone rant.