J Walking

Rudy has had a bad, bad week. There was the story alleging misuse of expenses while he was mayor. There was the unfortunate exchange with Romney to begin the debate. There was the campaign’s rather week rebuttal to the Politico story. And now there is this story out today:

In almost every appearance as he campaigns for the Republican presidential nomination, Rudolph W. Giuliani cites a fusillade of statistics and facts to make his arguments about his successes in running New York City and the merits of his views.Discussing his crime-fighting success as mayor, Mr. Giuliani told a television interviewer that New York was “the only city in America that has reduced crime every single year since 1994.” In New Hampshire this week, he told a public forum that when he became mayor in 1994, New York “had been averaging like 1,800, 1,900 murders for almost 30 years.” When a recent Republican debate turned to the question of fiscal responsibility, he boasted that “under me, spending went down by 7 percent.”All of these statements are incomplete, exaggerated or just plain wrong. And while, to be sure, all candidates use misleading statistics from time to time, Mr. Giuliani has made statistics a central part of his candidacy as he campaigns on his record.

Ooops. The next week will tell us a lot about Giuliani. Will he come through this period as a statesman – as the man the world admired after 9/11? Will he have his own Howard Dean moment? I think Giuliani is unraveling. I think details of his affair with Judith Nathan while he was mayor will emerge and a lot of Republicans will begin to wonder how, exactly, his behavior differed from Bill Clinton’s when he was in office. Huckabee’s rise puts Giuliani’s character into even sharper focus because Huckabee is seen as a straight shooter. And to the degree that he isn’t, he knows the Christian language of forgiveness and repentance and he will use it – with great efficacy. We’ll see.

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