Political Capital with John Harwood

Rudy Giuliani's Still A Heavy Hitter Even As Boston Fan


Presidential rivals are having lots of fun with Rudy Giuliani's statement that he's rooting for the Boston Red Sox in the World Series, casting it as a John Kerry-style, "against-'em-before-I-was-for-'em," made-for-New Hampshire flip-flop for a candidate who has been so staunchly identified with the Yankees. But it's not likely to get them very far.

Leave aside whether it's a reasonable stance for a Yankee fan to embrace the Red Sox as the representative of the American League; I think it is, though I confess as a Duke basketball fan it is difficult for me to embrace the University of North Carolina on those freak occasions when they go deeper into the NCAA tournament than we do.

But Giuliani has three other assets in this discussion:

--Giuliani has repeatedly needled New Hampshire voters about the Red Sox and promoted. When I was with him at New Hampshire appearances this summer, he delighted in Yankee talk. That was the opposite of pandering--when the pennant race was hot

--Unlike Kerry, Giuliani carries a reputation for strength and stubbornness. For a candidate like that, the flip-flop charge doesn't carry nearly as much weight.

--Giuliani's principal New Hampshire opponent, Romney, has a lot to answer for in the way of flip-flops on issue quite important to conservative Republicans, such as abortion and gay rights. So opening a flip-flop discussion with Giuliani--or anyone else for that matter--would not serve Romney well even if he CAN unequivocally claim the Red Sox as his home team.

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