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Rudolph W. Giuliani

Defending His Honor

Giuliani doesn't let his personal life get in the way of his image as 'America's mayor'

December 30, 2007|Robin Abcarian

Despite his entirely modern personal history -- including two divorces and a messy extramarital scandal with the woman who became his third wife -- there is something old-fashioned about Rudolph W. Giuliani.

He almost always campaigns in a suit and tie, even in informal settings. He wears rimless spectacles that he removes when he stands before cameras, and he carries a white handkerchief, folded into a perfect square, to dab his forehead when the lights get hot. Like another national front-runner, Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton, Giuliani is leery of being caught off guard.

Giuliani's buttoned-up style is in keeping with the persona he has projected all along: He is the strong, paternal figure who can keep America (that is, you and your children) safe. Being mayor of New York City during the country's worst terrorist attack gave him the credibility to make this claim, and it is his most reliable theme. His front-runner status in the Republican contest, however, has been threatened by a continuing challenge from Mitt Romney, with whom he has tangled in debates, and the rise of Mike Huckabee, a former preacher whose folksy charm is at odds with Giuliani's stern demeanor. And that has forced a change.

Nine days before Christmas, Giuliani gave a speech downplaying his wolf-at-the-door rhetoric and focused instead on his sense that the best for the nation is yet to come. Later, he sent out a Christmas video, joking about giving fruitcake to his friends. And in a sartorial departure, Giuliani shed his jacket and tie.

-- Robin Abcarian

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