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McCain Backers: Giuliani Blows Smoke on Iraq

John McCain For McCain's grandfather and father, see John S. McCain, Sr. and John S. McCain, Jr., respectively
John Sidney McCain III (born August 29, 1936 in Panama Canal Zone) is an American politician, war veteran, and currently the Republican Senior U.S. Senator from Arizona.
’s supporters are frustrated.

They’ve watched in recent weeks as their candidate has paid a heavy price in the polls for his unflagging, outspoken support for the war in Iraq. They’ve also watched with dismay as Rudy Giuliani Rudolph William Louis "Rudy" Giuliani (born May 28, 1944) is an American lawyer, businessman, and politician from the state of New York. Formerly Mayor of New York City, Giuliani is currently seeking the Republican nomination in the 2008 United States presidential election. —Mr. McCain’s chief rival for the G.O.P. Presidential nomination in 2008—has profited by essentially sidestepping the entire matter.

“Rudy doesn’t have an Iraq policy,” said Jim Nicholson James Nicholson or Jim Nicholson could be
  • James Nicholson (naval officer), an United States navy captain
  • Jim Nicholson (U.S. politician), former United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and chairman of the Republican National Committee
, a former Bush fund-raising “Ranger” who is Mr. McCain’s Michigan finance chair. “He’s spending his time hiding from that. If you are a conventional politician, Iraq’s the third rail, and the answer is you hide from that.”

“Everybody notices,” said another prominent McCain supporter. “We’ve been laughing that he wrote a book called Leadership and yet hasn’t shown any whatsoever on the No. 1 issue facing America.”

Mr. McCain’s supporters will take laughter where they can get it, one supposes. As he limps towards a primary that he was supposed to dominate—an April Gallup Poll Gallup Poll

a sampling of the views of a representative cross section of the population, usually used to forecast voting [after G H Gallup, statistician]

Gallup poll n
 of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents showed him 13 points behind Mr. Giuliani, down from 22 in a previous poll—it has become increasingly apparent that the 70-year-old Vietnam War Vietnam War, conflict in Southeast Asia, primarily fought in South Vietnam between government forces aided by the United States and guerrilla forces aided by North Vietnam.  hero is no longer the irrepressible candidate of 2000.

On Monday afternoon in Washington, just days before his official announcement—scheduled for April 25 in Portsmouth, N.H.—Mr. McCain delivered a dry energy-policy speech about government support for the development of ethanol, a policy he opposed during his first run, when he explicitly refused to pander to To appeal to (base emotions or less noble desires), so as to achieve one's purpose; to exploit (base emotions, such as lust, prejudice, or hate).

See also: Pander
 the corn-centric voters in the all-important Iowa caucuses.

Talking to Noun 1. talking to - a lengthy rebuke; "a good lecture was my father's idea of discipline"; "the teacher gave him a talking to"
lecture, speech

rebuke, reprehension, reprimand, reproof, reproval - an act or expression of criticism and censure; "he had to
 reporters afterwards about his delivery of policy addresses before he had even declared his candidacy officially, Mr. McCain sounded somewhat like his frustrated supporters.

“In an announcement of candidacy, you have a general, overall thematic aspect of your address that you get as many people as you can get to pay attention to,” he said, standing between American flags and a bouquet of microphones in the Ronald Reagan Building Coordinates:  The Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center  on Pennsylvania Avenue Pennsylvania Avenue is a street in Washington, D.C. joining the White House and the United States Capitol. Called "America's Main Street," it is the location of official parades and processions, as well as protest marches and civilian protests. . “You also, at the same time, have to develop and present specific proposals and the vision that you have on the challenges facing the country.”

He has a point.

In sharp contrast with Mr. McCain’s clear—if hugely unpopular—commitment to inserting as many troops into Iraq as needed as needed prn. See prn order.  to achieve some sort of positive outcome, Mr. Giuliani has found a way to avoid rendering either explicit opinions about the troop-level increase or suggestions about what to do if it fails.

On April 24, when reporters in Iowa asked Mr. Giuliani to evaluate the success of the early stages of President Bush’s “surge” strategy, he said: ‘‘I don’t know the answer to that.”

He was asked moments later about the conditions under which the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area.  might be able to leave Iraq. ‘‘The minute you start listing the circumstances under which you’re going to pull out, you start talking about defeat,” he said, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

2. In keeping with: according to instructions.

 an A.P. report. “What we have to achieve in Iraq is a government and a situation that acts as a bulwark against terrorism, rather than as an encouragement for them—and then you’ve got to figure out the strategies to get you there and make them work.’’

Logical, maybe, but not really an answer.

“Maybe Giuliani does have a position on the war, but I do not think it is as clearly enunciated or as clearly defined as John McCain’s,” said Tony Fabrizio, a Republican pollster poll·ster  
One that takes public-opinion surveys. Also called polltaker.

Word History: The suffix -ster is nowadays most familiar in words like pollster, jokester, huckster,
 who is not affiliated with any of the 2008 candidates. “McCain has jumped in with both feet.”

Mr. Fabrizio said that Mr. Giuliani was attempting to play to his strength as the unassailable hero of Sept. 11 by answering most questions about Iraq in the context of the wider fight against terrorism.

Somewhat ironically, given his unflinching support for the Bush administration’s arguments in the run-up to the war in Iraq, Mr. McCain is paying a price for that deliberate intermingling of Iraq and Sept. 11.

“They are not the same thing,” said Wayne Berman, the vice chairman of Mr. McCain’s campaign. “Clearly, from the point of view of the electorate—the primary electorate and general electorate—they do not see them as the same. From the polling data we are seeing in our campaign, they are not the same thing, and the electorate wants to know all the candidates’ positions and policies on Iraq.”

Mr. Berman said he fully expected that the former Mayor would offer a meatier Iraq policy eventually. But, he said, “Senator McCain has staked out clear and precise and decisive ground on Iraq, because that’s what he wants to talk about. In the case of the Mayor, he has decided that there are other subjects that he would prefer to talk about.”

To be precise, Mr. Giuliani likes to talk about his fiscal conservatism  Fiscal conservatism is a political phrase term used in the United States to attack government spending and advocate instead lower spending and a lower federal debt; it may also include higher taxes in order to lower the debt.  as Mayor and his crime-fighting accomplishments. A “Rudy Record by the Numbers” talking-points memo that his campaign distributed to supporters in March emphasized his success cutting taxes and crime in New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of
. A few weeks later, Mr. Giuliani told a closed-door meeting of the anti-tax group the Club for Growth that when it came to practicing fiscal discipline, “I’m the only one that’s done that.”

Besides that, terrorism has been his most common refrain. To conservatives concerned about his deeply unconservative past on social issues like abortion, gun control and gay rights, he has made the argument that they all pale in importance next to security concerns. In fact, it is through his private-sector experience as a security consultant that Mr. Giuliani has sought to inoculate in·oc·u·late
1. To introduce a serum, a vaccine, or an antigenic substance into the body of a person or an animal, especially as a means to produce or boost immunity to a specific disease.

 himself against the claim that he lacks foreign-policy experience.

“I’ve probably been in foreign lands more than any other candidate for President in the last five to six years,” Mr. Giuliani said this month during a campaign stop in New Hampshire New Hampshire, one of the New England states of the NE United States. It is bordered by Massachusetts (S), Vermont, with the Connecticut R. forming the boundary (W), the Canadian province of Quebec (NW), and Maine and a short strip of the Atlantic Ocean (E). .

But when it comes to Iraq, which Mr. Giuliani has never visited, the former Mayor has forgone substantive policy speeches in favor of comments like “We’ve got to put Iraq in the context of a much broader picture than just Iraq” and “We’ve got to get beyond Iraq.”

During a meeting last month of conservative political-action committees in Washington, Mr. Giuliani gave an extensive speech that touched on the Civil War, the Cold War, World War II and many issues related to America’s foreign affairs foreign affairs
Affairs concerning international relations and national interests in foreign countries.
. He explicitly mentioned Iraq only once.

While he has identified mistakes in the war’s prosecution—including the dismantling of the Iraqi Army and the lack of a sufficient number of ground troops following the initial invasion—he has expressed overall support for President Bush’s strategy in Iraq.

Lawrence Bathgate II, one of the campaign’s national finance chairs and another Bush “Ranger” who is supporting Mr. McCain this year, said that it’s no great surprise that Mr. Giuliani—and Mitt Romney, for that matter—were considerably less vocal than Mr. McCain on the issue of Iraq.

“If there is a delicate issue for which there is no easy and ready answer—and the war in Iraq, and what to do, is an issue that neither of these candidates have talked about very often—you would just as soon not have to talk about it,” said Mr. Bathgate.

Mr. McCain, on the other hand, now has little choice but to press on.

“Having been a critic of the way this war was fought, and a proponent of the very strategy now being followed, it is my obligation to encourage Americans to give it a chance to succeed,” he said on April 11 at the Virginia Military Institute Virginia Military Institute (VMI), at Lexington; state supported; chartered and opened 1839 as the first state military college in the United States. Although one of the leading U.S. .

Mr. McCain also said—as he has before and since—that he would rather lose the election than shift his position on the war.

It may yet come to that.

“Do we get some push-back on this issue when we are trying to raise money for him? Of course we do,” said Mr. Nicholson, describing how Mr. McCain’s identification with the war had hurt his campaign. “But certainly he won’t get a call from me saying, ‘Don’t do this anymore.’ It defines the man.”
Copyright 2007 The New York Observer
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Author:Jason Horowitz
Publication:The New York Observer
Date:Apr 24, 2007
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