Rudy loses his talking points again

By Eric Boehlert
Published November 3, 2004 12:03AM (UTC)
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What goes up must come down, and Rudy Giuliani's star inside the Republican Party -- which peaked following his Bush-worshiping GOP Convention address in August -- may be declining in the wake of some key recent flubs on the TV punditry circuit.

Last week Giuliani made a colossal blunder when appearing on NBC's "Today." He was there to defend President Bush against charges that the U.S. military had let the al Qaqaa weapons dump south of Baghdad go unguarded and that 400 tons of high-end explosives had gone missing. Giuliani's unique spin that morning was that it wasn't Bush's fault; it was the troops' fault for not searching the dump carefully enough.

"No matter how you try to blame it on the president, the actual responsibility for it really would be for the troops that were there. Did they search carefully enough -- didn't they search carefully enough?'' Bush-Cheney officials did wind sprints away from that comment.

Then, appearing on CNN around noon EST today, Giuliani made another talking-point error. On a day when complete party-line confidence is a must, he allowed the discussion to veer into a hypothetical about what a Kerry administration would look like. The CNN host asked the former mayor, "If John Kerry wins the presidency, what is your biggest concern?" And like a doctor's tap on the kneecap, Giuliani should have automatically insisted that he wasn't worried about that because he was certain Bush would be reelected.

If pressed, Giuliani, having stipulated Kerry wouldn't win, could have outlined his concerns. Instead, Giuliani fell for the bait, quickly responding and going on at some length about a possible Kerry administration, thereby lending an air of Republican inevitability to the scenario.

Eric Boehlert

Eric Boehlert, a former senior writer for Salon, is the author of "Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush."

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