Is the sunshine state turning cloudy for Rudy Giuliani? Home of fanny-pack clad seniors and suntanned solarium babes, everyone is about to find out if Rudy Guiliani’s big gamble, i.e. saving all of his firepower for Florida, is about to pay off, but the polls are looking grim.
And thinning the race to just four, Democrat dwarf (in stature, not vision) Dennis Kucinich has bowed out of the presidential race. Increasingly sidelined, Kucinich’s oxygen was cut off after he was left out of the recent debates, his only viable way of getting his campaign message out. The pundits are more preoccupied with the fight between Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. Hillary’s left the state of South Carolina leaving Bill to do the dirty work, and Democrats are getting edgy about their two star candidates ripping each other, and the Democrat base, apart.
Rudy lays his cards on the table: For Rudy Giuliani, Jan. 29 may be the most important date since Sept. 11. That’s when Florida Republicans vote in the primary on which the former New York mayor has staked the entire future of his struggling presidential campaign. It’s the crucial test for a strategy most analysts have derided. Only the muddled nature of the GOP race gives Mr. Giuliani any hope of pulling it off.Florida will determine if the man who built his candidacy on his handling of the 2001 terrorist attacks remains a serious contender. Otherwise, the GOP race may quickly come down to an insider-outsider contest between Sen. John McCain and former Gov. Mitt Romney. — Carl Leubsdorf, RealClearPolitics
Polls don’t look promising: Our friends at the St. Petersburg Times this afternoon are reporting online the results of a new Florida poll showing Arizona Sen. John McCain drawing 25 percent of Florida Republicans surveyed this week, with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney pulling 23 percent. The real news here: Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York, pulled only 15 percent of those surveyed Jan. 20-22 — tied with Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas. — The Swamp,The Chicago Tribune
Steve Forbes hearts Guiliani: Since Fred Thompson has dropped out of the race, there’s no question which candidate offers the best tax plan, or is the best spokesman for advancing the tax-reform cause. Mr. Giuliani’s proposal is a remedy for a quintessentially Washingtonian problem: bloated bureaucracy. When the income tax was introduced in 1913, Congress adopted a one-page filing form and a maximum rate of 7%. The Office of Management and Budget estimates Americans now spend 6.5 billion hours a year filling out tax forms. — Steve Forbes, The Wall Street Journal
So does Adam Sandler. But Rip Torn likes McCain: Republicans have never had an easy time in Hollywood. But throughout the presidential primaries, John McCain and Rudy Giuliani have been quietly working to garner what little support there is in showbiz for conservative politicians. A little bit of Tinseltown glitter goes a long way — just ask Mike Huckabee, who has been milking support from 1980s action star and Internet humor icon Chuck Norris for all it’s worth. — USA Today
Kucinich, we never knew you or your hot wife: Kucinich was never a real factor in the Democratic race. But his strong opposition to the war and his impassioned — and often effective — performances at debates gave voice to the party’s most liberal elements. Why would Kucinich leave the presidential race now? The answer lies in his own backyard , where a serious primary challenge is brewing and Kucinich’s presidential ambitions have become part of the race. — The Fix, Washington Post
Hillary wants it both ways: The problem for Hillary Clinton is that, as usual, she wants it both ways. She wants to be judged on her own merits and not be treated as Bill’s Mini-Me. But she also wants to reap the benefits of Bill’s popularity, and offers voters the reassuring suggestion that if there’s a crisis while she’s in the White House, there will be someone around who really does have executive branch experience — namely, Bill — to lend a hand. But the Clintons are playing a dangerous game. The more they remind us of what we liked about Act I of the Bill and Hillary Show, the more they also remind us of what we hated. — Rosa Brookes, Los Angeles Times
Michelle v Bill the bully: We just got an e-mail from Michelle Obama that, frankly, has left us a little disappointed. It turns out that Michelle, whom we have always perceived to be the balls portion of the whole Obama package, is turning her sights on Bill Clinton. In an e-mail to supporters with the subject “What we didn’t expect,” Mama Obama has this to say… — New York Magazine
Break it up, say Democrats: …a few prominent Democrats, including Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (Mass.) and Rep. Rahm Emanuel (Ill.), have spoken to the former president about the force of his Obama critiques. There is some fear within the party that if Obama becomes the nominee, he could emerge personally battered and politically compromised. And there is concern that a Clinton victory could come at a cost — particularly a loss of black voters, who could blame her for Obama’s defeat and stay home in November. — The Washington Post
And what’s with Obama’s friend Rezko?: All of a sudden, seems as if everybody’s talking about Barack Obama and Tony Rezko. Even Jay Leno. Rezko already was a big story in Chicago, accused of influence-peddling in the Blagojevich administration and set to face trial Feb. 25. But Monday, he became national news — and an issue in the presidential race. That’s when Hillary Clinton blasted Obama for having represented “your contributor, Rezko, in his slum landlord business in inner-city Chicago.” Having a hard time keeping track of the facts? Here are eight things to know… — The Chicago Sun Times