But loyalty is what counts in Mr. Giuliani’s universe, and in that category, Mr. Carbonetti’s qualifications are unsurpassed.
“I had no allegiance to anyone but Rudy,” said Mr. Carbonetti. “So I guess that made me the perfect guy for that job.”
He would later proved his fealty to Mr. Giuliani by sending the letter to Mr. Giuliani’s then-wife, Donna Hannover, that essentially stripped her of her budget as first lady. He also tagged along with Mr. Giuliani and his future wife, Judith Nathan, on their first public date and stuck close to the former mayor’s side during Sept. 11. After leaving City Hall, he followed Mr. Giuliani to the consulting firm Giuliani Partners.
Mr. Carbonetti, known to other Giuliani loyalists as “Carbo,” says that he has no professional goal other than to help his boss succeed. “I’m hopefully only doing this twice in my life, this time and his reelection,” he said. “I kid you not. And a number of people have told me that that comes across with the way I deal with the consultants and elected officials because there is no life for me, I’m not going to go be a consultant to the R.N.C. or the Republican Senatorial Committee. That’s it. I work for Rudy. And I’ll do this; if he wins, I’ll do it again. But that’s it.”
When asked to explain what it is that he liked so much about Mr. Giuliani, Mr. Carbonetti said, “He’s the smartest guy you’ll ever meet.”
MR. CARBONETTI HAS done his best to keep up, embarking on what has amounted to a campaign-long project of self-improvement.
In January, he participated in a briefing about Iraq with Mr. Giuliani and Mr. King by Iraq “surge” architects Gen. Jack Keane and military scholar Frederick Kagan. He says he takes loads of policy briefing papers home every night to his Upper East Side apartment, where he lives with his wife and two daughters, and talks about his “friends in the Middle East.”
In Mr. Giuliani’s universe, certainly, Mr. Carbonetti taken seriously.
In a pamphlet sent out to key supporters of the campaign at the end of October, Mr. Carbonetti is listed at the top of the campaign hierarchy.
“It goes on for page after page after page,” Guy Molinari, the campaign’s New York co-chair said, describing the pamphlet. “When they list the campaign structure, number one on the list is Tony. He is the number one guy who makes it all go.”
“One of the questions at the beginning of the campaign was, ‘Can a guy whose whole experience has been local adjust to the national scene?’” said Representative Peter King of New York, a supporter of Mr. Giuliani. “And yeah, he has.”
Mr. Carbonetti’s responsibilities now include standing in for Mr. Giuliani when he is out of town, watching the first cuts of commercials for Mr. Giuliani and “immediately pick[ing] out what he won’t like,” he said. He helps recruit and coddle bundlers and supportive elected officials, and gives rundowns of the political state of play on countless conference calls.
He also owns the distinction of the campaign’s designated Nice Guy, helping smooth all the feathers ruffled by his confrontational boss.
This spring, Mr. Carbonetti set up a meeting at the Grand Havana Room cigar bar on Fifth Avenue between Mr. Giuliani and one of his most committed, and potentially problematic, critics: former Republican Senator Alfonse D’Amato of New York.
“He got us to sit together,” said Mr. D’Amato, who supports Fred Thompson. “It was to explore possible opportunities of working together.”
Mr. D’Amato called Mr. Carbonetti a “bridge builder” who “got the trust of the mayor because he earned it the old-fashioned way.”
Mr. Carbonetti has also become responsible for preventing any embarrassing spats from breaking out between Mr. Giuliani and his successor at City Hall, Mayor Michael Bloomberg. According to one Bloomberg official, the current administration keeps a “hot line” to Mr. Carbonetti, in order to “keep the temperature down” in the case of any flare-ups between the two mayors or their officials.
Asked about the criticism of Ms. Reiter and others, that he lacked the sufficient seasoning to handle such a momentous job, Mr. Carbonetti reacted with the air of a man who’s heard it all before.
“Peter Powers was in my office not too long ago, and Steve Forbes called,” said Mr. Carbonetti. “And we’re talking about some tax policy stuff and I hang up and Peter goes, ‘Now I have seen it all—Carbo on the phone with Steve Forbes about tax policy. The world is off its axis.’ And I’m like, ‘Well, I’ve got to do different things now.’”