Bernie Kerik's "9/11 aura"

Published December 15, 2004 2:53PM (EST)

On the Bernie beat, James Wolcott is onto something here with his observation that Kerik's hard-ass persona would attract a poseur like George W. Bush, who takes to parading around in costumes to achieve the tough-guy effect. On his wickedly funny and insightful blog, Wolcott describes encountering Kerik and Ed Koch in the green room of a cable show during the summer.

"Kerik exuded too much quiet authority and dramatic effect, trying a shade too hard to convey that he knew things he couldn't speak of and was working from the deep inside, privy to secrets that he carried locked inside the bank vault of his barrel chest. I could see how this tough-guy shtick -- which obviously wasn't entirely shtick, but a tough streak that had been refined into an urban lawman persona -- would impress fake swaggarts like, well, George Bush, who likes to play dress-up as a range hand and fighter pilot to show what a Hungry man entree he is."

"Going Republican has been very good for Koch and Kerik, and Kerik seemed to earn his reward for lending Bush a little extra 9/11 aura on the campaign trail when he was picked to succeed Tom Ridge as head of that corporate boondoggle known as Homeland Security."

And about that "9/11 aura," which is why, we're told, Bush chose Kerik for Homeland Security in the first place, have you heard the one about Kerik's "love nest" overlooking the Ground Zero pit? Oh, it's good.

"It is unclear exactly who used the apartment and for how long, but after the cleanup of the site settled into a routine, the executive said Mr. Kerik 'said he wanted to rent the apartment.' Mr. Bergamo rented it to him. Mr. Kerik paid for use of the apartment, but the amount was not clear. Many apartments that were available in Battery Park City after the attack on the trade center were rented at well below market rates for months afterward.

"After taking the apartment, Mr. Kerik, who is married with two children and lived at the time in Riverdale, the Bronx, began to meet there with Ms. Regan, said the person who spoke to Mr. Kerik about the matter. That person said that one bedroom faced the pit of ground zero, and that Ms. Regan visited it while Mr. Kerik was police commissioner, meaning between Sept. 11 and Dec. 31, 2001. Mr. Kerik refused to answer any questions yesterday regarding the apartment.

"Ms. Regan, like Mr. Bergamo, received an honorary badge on Dec. 31, 2001, this one from Mr. Kerik himself. It was Mr. Kerik's last day as police commissioner."

By Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at

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