Rudy, Rudy, Rudy
Monday February 23, 2015
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I have long been a fan of Rudy Giuliani. As a fellow New Yorker, I have liked and admired his no-holds-barred straight talk, and his grace under enormous pressure.
But the other day, Giuliani leapt through the political looking glass and ended up in the Fire Swamp of Cable TV.
He chose to use a private dinner in New York City last week to announce his opinion on the depth - or lack thereof - of President Barack Obama's love of America.
For those of you who spent last week in the Pit of Despair, (I promise that will be my last The Princess Bride or Alice in Wonderland reference) here's what the former Mayor said:
"I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America."
The only five of those 48 words I agree with are: "this is a horrible thing to say."
Giuliani hasn't been a candidate for public office since 2008 when he led the early polling for the GOP Presidential nomination for a while. With him at the dinner was Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin who has become the darling of Conservatives.
Giuliani put Walker in an impossible position. On the one hand Walker could have denounced Giuliani in front of Rudy's home crowd. On the other he could have simply stated he believed Obama does love America.
In the event, Walker punted. Also a bad choice.
Not only that, but as the expected breathless reporting rocketed across Twitter, Walker went on to say, in response to a question by the Washington Post's Dan Balz and Robert Costa as to whether he believed the President is a Christian: "I don't know."
Why Balz or Costa chose to ask that question is another issue, but if Walker wants to be in prime time he has got to be ready to answer that kind of sneak attack.
Here's a good idea for the staff of every candidate running for President: Before your boss (R or D) goes out in public go through a list of questions they might be asked. Not only things like "Where is Kharkiv?" (Ukraine), but also things like "Do you think Obama is a Christian?" - or anything remotely approaching that.
In the case of the Washington Post reporters, I would have advised Walker to pivot to "Will you be asking Mrs. Clinton that same question?
"He doesn't love you. And he doesn't love me. He wasn't brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.
In the deep, dark days of 2008, Hillary Clinton was asked by 60 Minutes' Steve Kroft if she thought Sen. Obama was a Muslim. This, via the DailyCaller.com:
"You said you'd take Senator Obama at his word that he's not a Muslim. You don't believe that he's a Muslim?" Kroft asked.
"No. No, there is nothing to base that on," Clinton said, adding, "As far as I know." [emphasis, mine]
If the Post reporters said they would ask her, I would have coached Walker to say, "Good. When you do, get back to me and we'll talk."
Then they should ask Hillary she thinks Elizabeth Warren is an American Indian.
Here's a tip: No reporter will be asking Hillary either one of those things.
I have no doubt that Barack Obama loves America. I'm not as certain that he loves being President, but that isn't the issue.
What Rudy Giuliani did was to create an atmosphere in which every Republican has to respond to what he said.
Rather than talking about ISIS threatening the Mall of America over the weekend, or whether new Defense Secretary Ash Carter's decision to slow U.S. troop withdrawals from Afghanistan was a good idea or not, the Sunday show hosts were falling all over one another trying to trap their GOP guests into making the slightest misstep on the Obama love of country and Christianity questions.
Never one to back down from a fight, Giuliani said to Megyn Kelly on the Fox News Channel "I'm right about this. I have no doubt about it, I do not withdraw my words."
One more from The Princess Bride: As Vizzini said time and time again, "Inconceivable."
On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to the AP, to the Washington Post, and to the Daily Caller.
Also a Mullfoto of the signage I had to deal with in downtown Washington, DC on Sunday
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