Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Giuliani Strategy Going South

America’s Mayor wants to come off as what used to be known in the New York neighborhoods as a stand-up guy. His entire campaign is about character, and Giuliani keeps reminding voters that on 9/11 they saw he has plenty of it.

But as he pursues a “Southern strategy” to make the Hard Right forget he is a multiply married New York liberal who sometimes dresses in drag, Giuliani is finding bumps in the pickup-truck road and has to keep swerving to avoid them.

Yesterday he was backing away from Sen. David Vitter, his Southern chairman and wannabe running mate, just as quickly as the Mayor dumped his South Carolina chairman last month after he was accused of dealing cocaine.

Vitter’s prostitute problem, Giuliani said, was “a personal issue.” So it is. But then again, the candidate has been distancing himself from so many issues of personal preference--from abortion to flying the Confederate flag-—that it may be casting doubt on his don’t-tread-on-me image.

While puckering up to Pat Robertson last month in his leadership lecture at Regent University, Giuliani stressed the importance of optimism. If his new Southern friends keep tripping him up on the run to the White House, he’s going to need it.

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