First Impressions

As Rudy Giuliani ramps up his presidential operation, he’ll presumably be engaging in more and more retail politicking in the early primary states to win over donors and rank-and-filers who’ve never seen him up close. What’ll that be like?

Dipping back into the book Giuliani: Flawed or Flawless?, I came across some first impressions of him. But first, a warning: The following sample has been selected for amusement value, and is decidedly not reflective of the membership of the Republican Party.

Floy Abrams, who would later represent the Brooklyn Museum against Giuliani, remembered:

I was invited to have lunch with him by one his partners to welcome him back to the private bar [in 1989, when Mr. Giuliani joined White & Case]. He represented the [New York] Daily News, and we discussed some First Amendment issues. I don’t think that I or our First Amendment discussion, interested him very much; he was indifferent to claims of civil liberties and the First Amendment. I also thought that he thought civil liberties was for sissies. It’s not that he was against free speech or that it was his priority to destroy free speech in America, but that this was not the stuff of strong men. Walking away, I didn’t think any better of him than when the lunch had started.

Mark Green recalled:

“I lived at 444 East 86th Street [a high-rise cooperative apartment building in the Yorkville section of Manhattan’s Upper Easst Side] from 1980 to 1982, on the thirty-fourth floor; Rudy Giuliani lived at 444 East 86th Street on the thirty-fifth floor, in what, obviously, was a coincidence, so I saw him periodically in the building we both lived in before we became citywide officials. And I knew him as a prominent Justice Department attorney, and I was a consumer advocate. I thought, he looks like a can-do Republican.”

Jay Goldberg, an attorney who represented several clients prosecuted by Giuliani in 1988:

“It was the comb-over! I said to myself, Why couldn’t his wife tell him how stupid that is? So he’s bald. I’m happy that he’s “listened” to me [Mr. Giuliani has abandoned his comb-over for a more conventional style.] Now his only impediment is a speech defect, his lisp.”

— Azi Paybarah First Impressions