Over the weekend, the Rudy Giuliani billing scandal that has been dubbed both the "Shag Fund" and Judygate played on, with both national and local press seizing on angles to further the story.
The New York Post reported that, in addition to the mayor himself, one of Giuliani’s top aides also spent at least one summer night in the Hamptons on the city’s dime, while the Daily News added that, in addition to chauffeuring Judith Nathan around, the N.Y.P.D. apparently took her to visit her parents in Pennsylvania, and occasionally even walked her dog. According to CBS, her family got to ride around with the N.Y.P.D. as well.
ABC News reported that Ray Kelly doesn’t think Giuliani’s story adds up and Michael Bloomberg’s girlfriend says she has never had her own security detail. David Seifman calculated that the breakup of Rudy’s marriage to Donna Hanover also cost the city a whole bunch of money.
In commentary, Michael Goodwin wrote that Giuliani’s personal life is his last hurdle to the presidency, Josh Marshall explained why, contrary to intuition, Giuliani isn’t guilty like Alan Hevesi, and Gail Collins just thinks, "Rudy is one of those people who doesn’t handle power well."
In other problems for the former mayor, the Washington Post editorial board wrote that Giuliani’s new ad is absolutely wrong on taxes, and over at Salon.com, Joe Conason reminded readers of the week’s other Giuliani investigation, which didn’t get much airtime. Rudy might be feeling the pressure of all this negative press, because he uncharacteristically brushed off reporters and refused to answer questions at a campaign event in South Carolina over the weekend.
But to reinvigorate his law and order image, he was fortunate to get the backing of the influential New Hampshire Troopers Association, and, according to the Concord Monitor, he was able to use Hillary Clinton’s hostage situation as an opportunity to talk about security.
Speaking of, the Clinton campaign’s hostage situation seemed to end with a minimum of conjecture over what it means for her campaign, although Hillary did get positive reviews for her "presidential" handling of the crisis. Ben has her statement, plus a link to the video; most of her New Hampshire offices reopened over the weekend.
Barack Obama is the Iowa frontrunner now, along with Mike Huckabee, who has a greater lead over his nearest rival, Mitt Romney. Obama might want to listen to his fellow top candidate, who was quoted as saying that what he learned from battling the Clintons in Arkansas politics is, "They are never going to make the same mistake twice. They are going to be ruthless."
Even if he is in first place in the first caucus state, Obama seems to be making a habit out of criticizing Clinton without mentioning her by name, and his campaign’s efforts to recruit students to their caucuses who go to Iowa colleges, but aren’t residents of the state, is not going over well with David Yepsen.
At the Brown & Black Forum on Saturday night, John Edwards seemed to unnerve reporters by being extremely docile towards Obama, and even Hillary. She had to answer the drivers’ license question, yet again.
Also in election news, Democrats have set their primary dates, and stripped Michigan of its delegates.
In statewide politics, Jim Tedisco’s chief of staff says of an invitation to an event yesterday from Eliot Spitzer, “We hope this is a sign of people laying down their swords." Of course, even if Spitzer lays down his sword and makes nice in breezy interviews with New York Teacher, it doesn’t mean he won’t hear about the failures of the last couple of months for a long time. Over the weekend, Larry Littlefield had some words of advice for Spitzer as he sets out to "determine our priorities for how to best use the state’s limited financial resources." The New York Times implied the governor needed serious historical study to come to his senses.
And in an open letter, Fred Dicker wrote, "Governor, you may think you still have plenty of time left to change direction, but if you don’t sooner rather than later, someone in your own party – say Attorney General Andrew Cuomo—or a potent Republican candidate—say Mayor Bloomberg—will come gunning for you in 2010." In other news from Albany, it turns out that Joe Bruno works for a firm that also manages millions of dollars for
state labor unions.
In the city, ousted Arabic-themed school principal Debbie Almontaser said on the witness stand, "What upset me the most was I knew Mayor Bloomberg, and I couldn’t believe he was taking the word of the [New York] Post over my word." Bloomberg, Clinton and Schumer are all up in arms after George W. Bush announced there would be a reduction of anti-terrorism funding.
Schumer also blasted the city’s plan to prioritize a new pedestrian boulevard over a new subway station in the West Side redevelopment plans. Peter Vallone, Jr. is not happy about the M.T.A.’s plan to cut an emergency safety program for riders, especialy with the prospect of fare hikes, and Queens City Council members have serious concerns over the use of eminent domain in the Willet Points redevelopment project.
The City Council got some good press when the Daily News called the council’s vote to stop using taxpayer dollars for self-promotional holiday ads, "an unusual but admirable display of self-restraint, " and some news it probably wanted to hear when Bloomberg said he is willing to allow a referendum on City Council term limits. Liz reports that Bloomberg also said yesterday in his radio address that he backs judicial pay raises.
And in case you missed it, on Friday, pro-pigeon activists asked Councilman Simcha Felder and others to “Give pigeons their peace."
Also, via Michael Crowley at the T.N.R.’s The Stump, pictured above is a 2006 magazine cover featuring Rudy and Judith Giuliani.