The torture primary

The ugly side of Giuliani's toughness comes out as McCain shines.

Published May 16, 2007 2:33AM (EDT)

In response to a Brit Hume hypothetical question, the former New York mayor (on the job, in case you didn't know, on 9/11) cheerfully embraced all means necessary to get information from terrorists. In Rudy World, life is, of course, a replay of Jack Bauer's career. In contrast, John McCain, who personally knows something about harsh interrogation methods, bravely stuck to his guns in denying that torture is an effective way of getting information in an emergency -- and a continuing affront to American values.

As for Mitt Romney -- the only other serious candidate on the stage in South Carolina -- he mostly ducked the question by stressing the undeniable and noncontroversial virtues of preventing terrorist attacks.

By Walter Shapiro

Walter Shapiro, a Fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, is an award-winning political columnist who has covered the last nine presidential campaigns. Along the way, he has worked as Salon's Washington bureau chief, as well as for The Washington Post, Newsweek, Time, Esquire, USA Today and, most recently, Yahoo News. He is also a lecturer in political science at Yale University. He can be reached by email at and followed on Twitter @MrWalterShapiro.

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