Wednesday, Sep. 03, 2008

Rudy Giuliani

America's mayor brandished his rhetorical strengths — security, anti-terrorism, taxes, and his genuine friendship with and admiration for John McCain. Boosted Palin with his mayoral credibility (New York is really just a bigger Wasilla). He poked some sly fun at his own presidential aspirations, but then openly laughed at Barack Obama, whose resume he related with withering spin — to the hearty chants of "Zero!" from the delighted audience. Giuliani continued to amuse himself and the hall as he played up Obama's celebrity and purported elitism, knocked down the senator's professional story, and saucily flung back the negative words of Biden and "Hillary." To more applause, Giuliani announced, "Change is not a strategy," then turned to the McCain agenda ("drill, baby, drill!" shouted the crowd when he cited the energy issue). He highlighted the terrorist threat and safety at home — Giuliani's defining issue. He praised McCain's character for sticking with the surge and choosing Sarah Palin as running mate, and thrashed Obama for flip-flopping on public financing and foreign policy positions. Decried sexism in the Palin media coverage (the Palin family rose to its feet to applaud). Went for the cheer and jeer, but ended on a positive note. Mean, funny, relentless, in command — classic Rudy.

by Mark Halperin