Rudy Aims Low, Locals Fret

This morning, Rudy Giuliani addressed a conference of robotics enthusiasts at a competition called “For Inspiration & Recognition of Science and Technology.” (“A unique varsity sport of the mind,” reads the competition literature. “Designing and building a robot is a fascination real-world professional experience.”)

While Giuliani did receive a warm response, the attendees were ultimately there to see robots fight.

An hour or so later, Giuliani gave a speech at a packed house in Litchfield. But it was a house.

“Live Well Laugh Often Love Much” was written above the transom going into the living room where Giuliani spoke. Keys hung on the wall next to the closet. Appliances got in the way of people as they squeezed into the kitchen.

While his Republican rivals are filling school gyms and cafeterias, Rudy is playing it small, as befits his modest New Hampshire campaign.

In the living room on Garden Drive, he spoke about his accomplishments in New York, being on the offense on terrorism, and convincing Democrats in the New York City Council to cut taxes. He received enthusiastic applause from the attendees and a lock of Abraham Lincoln’s hair from Gregory Carson, the chair of the Rockingham County Republican Party.

(Carson explained that Giuliani had actually won the prize by buying the winning raffle ticket at a prior event.)

But not everyone in the crowd was so sure his understated New Hampshire campaign would work.

Carson, who is neutral because of his official position, acknowledged that Rudy had fallen off the radar in New Hampshire.

“The focus has not so much been on him in the last few months,” Carson said on the driveway after Giuliani and his entourage left. “The focus has been on other people.”

Inside, Pat Fawcett, whose daughter owns the house in which Rudy spoke, said she supported Giuliani but wasn’t confident he’d win New Hampshire.

“I don’t know if he is going to win it,” she said. “I think the momentum thing might hurt him. I mean, he finished in sixth place in Iowa, behind Thompson.”

She cringed in disbelief.

Fawcett, 58, said that Giuliani not competing in the early states was not a good idea. Nor was she so enthusiastic about his 50-state strategy.

“I don’t think that is a good plan.”

“He expected not to do well in Iowa,” she continued, “but not everybody understands he didn’t expect to do well. They just see that he finished sixth and they think, oh well.”

In New Hampshire, she said, “Rudy has to finish second, or at least third.” When asked if he could win the nomination without that, she shook her head no.

Rudy Aims Low, Locals Fret