Yesterday, Giuliani waved off the growing perception that, during the heady early days of his courtship with Judith Nathan, he misused taxpayer dollars by billing treks to Southampton to obscure city agencies. “This story is five years old,” he told Katie Couric last night. “It’s a typical political hit job.” At the least, Mitt Romney, who has been criticizing Giuliani’s fiscal policies, is chuckling. Since Politico broke the story on Wednesday, Rudes has been shamed by former mayors David Dinkins and Ed Koch as well as current mayor Mike Bloomberg: (“We use credit cards, but not for that,” Bloomberg’s spokesman said.) Said comments caused Giuliani’s deputy mayor Joe Lhota to sheepishly retract an earlier statement that this kind of accounting has “gone on for years,” and predated his boss. “I should only talk about what I know about,” he said. Some have come to Giuliani’s defense, like Fran Reiter, his former deputy mayor who now works for Hillary Clinton, who said that while Rudes’s bookkeeping methods were wonky, his expenses were ultimately legit. “The only political issue is any potential embarrassment because he was going out to Long Island to meet with Judith.” Well, yeah. Today, the Times piles on with a story about how the statistics Rudes uses in campaign speeches are usually “incomplete, exaggerated or just plain wrong.” Such as one he used in Wednesday’s Republican debate: “Under me, spending went down by 7 percent.” (An aide told the Times what he meant to say was that he had proposed a 7 percent reduction in per-capita spending.) They also weigh in on the scandal, running a picture of the motel in which Rudy’s security stayed while presumably waiting for the boss to emerge from his cocoon of SeniorSex and concluding with an excellent quote from voice of truth and reason Bernie Kerik:
“There would be no need for anyone to conceal his detail’s travel expenses,” said Mr. Kerik, who was indicted earlier this month on unrelated federal tax fraud and corruption charges. “And I think it’s ridiculous for anyone to suggest that the mayor or his staff attempted to do so.”
Well, there you go. If Kerik says everything Rudy does is above the board, it must be, right?