Some holes in Giuliani's "electability" armor?

Could America's Mayor beat a Clinton-Obama tag team?

Published October 8, 2007 5:35PM (EDT)

Rudy Giuliani is predicting pretty unequivocally that Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic presidential nominee for 2008, and that she'll pick Barack Obama to be her running mate. "He's kind of earned it," Giuliani says. "He brings a kind of enthusiasm to the ticket that everyone desires and likes to have."

As for Giuliani himself? He likes to say that he's the Republican with the best shot at beating Hillary Clinton in 2008. But in a blog post up at the Weekly Standard, Bill Kristol offers a couple of caveats worth remembering.

First, Kristol notes that while Giuliani's right when he says that the polls show he's the Republican who performs best against Clinton, he doesn't mention (1) that the polls have Giuliani, like all Republicans, trailing Clinton at the moment, or (2) that the most recent polls show a Clinton-Giuliani race as being only a little closer than, say, a Clinton-Thompson contest.

Second, Kristol reminds us that there's a better chance that a conservative third-party candidate runs if the Republicans nominate Giuliani rather than someone who'd keep the far-right base happier. If such a third-party candidate peels off even a small percentage of votes from Giuliani, then the "electability" difference between Giuliani and his Republican competitors disappears.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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2008 Elections Barack Obama Hillary Rodham Clinton Rudy Giuliani War Room