Vintage Rudy Showing His Stripes

If Rudy Giuliani has to hide out in New York City, how is his presidential campaign going to make it through the long haul? According to the New York Daily News Rudy gets followed to every campaign stop there by parents and widows of 9/11 firefighters, who hold signs that say things like "Rudy for President? Not in My Son's Name!" and "America's Night Mayor." The group, including union members and FDNY veterans, claim Giuliani failed for years to provide adequate radios to fire departments and that it cost many of their lives on Sept. 11, 2001. As Rudy slips in the back door of the events it can't look good to attendees who walk in the front.

But Rudy snapped at a voter in a New Hampshire town hall meeting this week as well. When one questioner suggested that the war on terror had led to an erosion of civil rights, Giuliani told him he had "an extremely exaggerated presentation of things and you didn't point out the other fact — and that is that we haven't been attacked, and that we've been safe." Marty Capodice, 64, said in reply, "So no rights?" And according to the Daily News, "That's hardly no rights!" was Giuliani's loud response.

After talking to people who know Rudy well, even his strong supporters, I have wondered whether his candidacy would go down this winter in a church basement in Iowa with the vintage Rudy blasting some passionate voter who asked the wrong question. Maybe it will happen sooner. Rudy better hope those 9/11 protesters don't start buying airplane tickets to come and join him and the faithful in New Hampshire.