The Plank

Is Rudy Really Such A Tough Guy?

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A thought: Amid all this Hillary Clinton-bashing by Rudy Giuliani, is he ever going to have to explain why, the one time he had a chance to beat her--in the New York Senate race in 2000--he chickened out and quit the race? I'm not sure why he'd get a pass on this in any case. But it's particularly weird given that he's selling himself as the Republican with the best chance of "stopping" her.

Obviously, if Rudy had actually beaten Hillary the one time he had the chance, then Republicans wouldn't have to worry about stopping her in 2008. It seems like such a self-evident point that no one would need reminding of it. But I haven't seen anyone raise it on the GOP side.

Update: I realize Rudy dropped out of the race after being diagnosed with prostate cancer. It must have been an agonizing experience, and I wouldn't wish it on anyone. But, as John Kerry demonstrated in 2003, it's certainly possible to have surgery for prostate cancer, recover, and then quickly return to the campaign trail.

Obviously, just because someone else would have made that decision doesn't make it right for you. Rudy had every right to handle his illness however he needed to. But, given that he dropped out, I find it a little strange that he's so over the top on the Hillary thing. If he were more circumspect, it might be a peripheral issue, but it would be easily explained. By putting his anti-Hillary bona fides at the center of his campaign, I think Rudy invites this line of questioning.

--Noam Scheiber

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