Giuliani: A Final Break From the Bravado?Rudy Giuliani has finally cracked and recognized that today’s Florida results could possibly signal the end of his campaign. Asked whether he would drop out after a loss today, the former mayor told reporters yesterday: “When it’s Wednesday morning, we’ll make the decision.” Since much of the press has already decided that Giuliani is dead in the water, speculation has turned to how he will drop out, and when. He’ll definitely participate in tomorrow’s Republican debate, but sources for the New York Sun argue that he won’t risk a major loss in New York State next Tuesday. If it’s proven that he’s not even popular in his home state anymore, where he made his name, it would be a blow to his reputation, would be bad for his business, Giuliani Partners, and would undermine his candidacy for a Cabinet position in the future. It’s all about the Giuliani brand name, which has made him millions as a speaker and as a consultant. As Maureen Dowd pointed out on Sunday, he’s not even likely to put up a tough fight on the way out, in order to preserve the purchase power of his name. He’ll likely last a few extra days, like Fred Thompson did after losing big in South Carolina, and then bow out quietly without drama. To think, it was less than eight years ago that he dropped out of the New York Senate race after battling a tidal wave of negative press after his high-profile split from Donna Hanover. And critics said Giuliani couldn’t change.
RUDY HINTS FLA. HIS LAST STAND [NYP]
it just happened
Fred Thompson Drops Out of Presidential RaceFred Thompson has dropped out of the presidential race. “Today, I have withdrawn my candidacy for president of the United States,” the former Tennessee senator said in a statement that was just released. “I hope that my country and my party have benefited from our having made this effort.” There was no announcement of whether he would be endorsing one of his former Republican rivals for the nomination. Thompson had said that he needed to win this weekend’s South Carolina primary, in which he placed third, in order to continue the campaign. To which we say, good call. The odds of winning are much better on Law & Order, anyway.
Fred Thompson Quits Presidential Race [AP]
Heilemann on Michigan’s Republican Goat Rodeo: Is Rudy a Mad Genius After All?There are three obvious ways to interpret Mitt Romney’s victory in the Republican primary in Michigan. The first is that Romney — whose father, George, was a three-term governor of the state — won on the basis of his favorite-son status, nothing more and nothing less. The second is that Romney, whose campaign for the past year has been an object lesson in the dangers of absolute and abject artifice in national politics, finally, to steal a phrase from Hillary Clinton, found his own voice: the voice of pragmatic, problem-solving managerialism. And the third is that the GOP nominating contest has become a full-fledged goat rodeo: On any given day, any given candidate might just emerge (temporarily) triumphant.
early and often
As Voting Winds Down, Who Is Still Wound Up?While the press has been running ragged up in New Hampshire, we set journalist Peter Keating to work watching the candidates to see which ones were putting in the most effort. Contrary to what the 24-hour news cycle would have you believe, some of them sleep. Some of them skip events. And some of them, well, aren’t really trying. Later tonight, we’ll bring you the results of all the hard work. For now, Keating’s report from the campaign trail begins in a predictable place:
“Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s Visit Here Today At 4:30pm Has Been Cancelled,” reads a sign hanging in the window at John’s Barber Shop, an old-school establishment nestled among the charming shops on Daniel Street in Portsmouth, N.H. Of course it’s been canceled. Rudy had better things to do this afternoon than to keep grubbing for votes in a state where he’s been vying to keep pace with Duncan Hunter in the polls.
early and often
The Final Bid: What the Candidates Had to Say Before Iowa Finally Stopped ListeningToday, Iowa is all about the last word. Encouraged by a recent favorable opinion poll in the state, McCain returned for a brief trip, along with Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Sam Brownback of Kansas. All three were harping on McCain’s foreign-policy experience. “Call me old-fashioned, but I think foreign-policy experience matters,” Graham said. “And if it does matter, then the choice is easy.” “I know Pakistan, I know Israel,” explained McCain at a different event. “I know these countries, I know their leaders.” [NYO]
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton sent out talking points to surrogate speakers drumming up support across the state. They include bullet items like “Change isn’t something you just demand, or hope for, it is something you work for, and [Hillary] has been working for it all her life,” and “Hillary has stood up to the Republicans and beat them twice in landslides.” [Time]
early and often
Republican Debate: All the Sexy HighlightsLast night’s Republican CNN/YouTube debate opened with fireworks: Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney heatedly debating whether Romney was responsible for hiring illegal immigrants to work on his house (and if so, would he recommend them to friends and neighbors). But like an actual fireworks display, it soon grew repetitive and numbing. For those of you who flipped to Kid Nation, here’s a rundown of the evening’s highlights.
Fred Thompson Wants You to Think He Doesn’t Want It
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.
it just happened
Fred Thompson Calls City of New York ‘A Big Bully’
Presidential non-candidate Fred Thompson has finally turned on the city that made him rich and famous. The Law & Order star, who spent years pretending to fight violent crime as district attorney Arthur Branch, lashed out at the Big Apple today in a blog post that decries efforts by Giuliani and Bloomberg to crack down on gun trafficking. He called the moves, wherein the city sought to sue some weapon providers whose wares ended up being used in crimes, an “attack by New York City on the Second Amendment.” “In this case,” he says, “we need Federalism to protect states from a big bully in New York City.” A bully! Well, we never. We don’t know anything about guns, and frankly, we like it that way. But by golly we know a slap in the face when we see one!
I’m in a New York State of Mind [I’mWithFred.com]
Related:: The Actor [NYM]
in the magazine
The Fred Thompson Letters: ‘Looking Forward to the Hamptons!’
When Stephen Rodrick profiled former senator Fred Thompson, also the incumbent New York County district attorney on Law & Order and an all-but- declared presidential candidate in real life, Rodrick took a look at Thompson’s Senate papers, which the then-lapsed politician donated to the University of Tennessee in 2005. Among them was a good deal of his senatorial correspondence, both letters received and those sent. And there were some good ones. After the jump, highlights from a few of our favorites.
in other news
In the American Political System the People Are Represented by Two Separate But Equally Important Groups…
“Former Senator Fred Thompson, who now plays a district attorney on ‘Law & Order,’ told Fox News today that he’ll make a decision in the coming months about whether to jump into the field of Republican candidates vying for the 2008 presidential nomination.” —The Caucus, New York Times, yesterday
Daily Intel tried to contact Thompson for comment on this matter. Unable to reach him, we relied instead on answers in the public record — that is, actual L&O quotes he’s delivered as District Attorney Arthur Branch. The Q&A is after the jump. Duh-DUM.
the morning line
Cops Broke, Case Open
• We’ve lost count of the “milestones” in the Second Avenue Subway saga, so forgive us for not sharing in the MTA’s glee over the news that a construction contract signing is imminent. Key phrase: “The third groundbreaking ceremony will be the charm, MTA officials said.” [amNY]
• Despite eyewitnesses, a sketch, surveillance footage, and tons of tips, Queens cops have been unable to nab an ostensible human being who mugged a 101-year-old (and punched an 85-year-old in the face). [NYP]
• Possibly related: So strapped for cash are NYPD recruits, reports the Daily News (whose new site design is lovely), that the Police Academy is offering them a $500 credit card. As opposed to, say, a $500 pay raise. [NYDN]
• The Roxy, the cavernous disco–skating rink on 18th Street, shut its doors in style Saturday — with a gay bash that attracted 4,000 and lasted until Sunday noon. The building — suddenly a neighbor to Frank Gehry’s NYC debut — will, naturally, be “redeveloped.” [NYT]
• And, Fred Thompson (Manhattan D.A. Arthur Branch on Law & Order) is mulling a presidential run. He spent more time in the Senate than Obama (1994 to 2003). [WNBC]