ON MESSAGE: Addressing Hypotheticals, With Intent

“If I thought that I could make a real difference in the state, really change things and it really needed me, then I would probably do it.”–Rudy Giuliani on July 30, quoted in The New York Times

Every month or so, since the end of last year, has brought a buzz-generating story about Rudy Giuliani’s supposed interest in running for governor. The New York Times checked in this week with news that the former mayor may be “clearing a path” for a 2010 campaign and will make up his mind in the next month or two.

This (above) was the only quote in the piece–a month-old reply to a question that was asked at a Crain’s breakfast.

What he has been doing is dropping just enough broadly worded hints to keep the speculation going–speculation that is good for his profile and good for business at Giuliani Partners. Even the most obscure congressman knows this trick: Go to Iowa or New Hampshire and give a speech, and suddenly the media will treat you like you’re relevant. (For a while, anyway.)

Sure, Rudy wouldn’t mind being governor–or at least getting elected governor. It would be a nice redemption story after last year’s presidential train wreck. But he can read a poll, and the most recent one explains the real reason for his coyness: Against David Paterson, Rudy leads by more than 20 points, but against Andrew Cuomo, he trails by more than 10. And right now, Cuomo is about 100 times more likely that Paterson to be the Democratic candidate next year.

(“If I thought I could make a real difference in the state…” might be well be read as “If David Paterson is still, somehow, around as the Democratic candidate for governor…”.)

Of course, the Cuomo-Paterson issue won’t be officially resolved for months. So if you’re Rudy, why not play the game a little longer?

ON MESSAGE: Addressing Hypotheticals, With Intent