1. Rudy Giuliani
As New York City's pathologically combative mayor, the ex-prosecutor picked fights with jaywalkers, street artists, politicians and his own wife — all while calling for a Decency Commission. Then Sept. 11 refocused his bountiful energy on a tragedy the likes of which no American mayor had ever faced. Clearly in charge, exhausted but never flagging, he became a symbol of strength, comforting a traumatized city (and nation) by being himself — proud, fallible, exceedingly decent and, above all else, a New Yorker.

2. Nkosi Johnson
As South Africa's President, Thabo Mbeki responded to his...

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