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Giuliani facing challenges

Posted by Stephen on May 3, 2007

Former Mayor of New York City and GOP hopeful, Rudy Giuliani, is beginning to feel the heat that is associated with the glare of a tough race. Up to now, the former mayor has lived life as a sort of rock-n-role star within GOP circles. Giuliani stood for strength and honor in America’s darkest moment since Pearl Harbor. America’s Mayor, as he is often referred to, seemed to take the nation under his arm and lift it back to its feet.

Unfortunately for him, this is a nation with a short memory and attention span. While the country will always have a soft spot for Giuliani, he now faces the kind of contest that will require the type of critical analysis that he has been able to avoid up to now. On issues, security and economics are strong points, while his support for a woman’s right to choose, and support for gun control laws are going to pose challenges for him. Still, his positions on other issues are unknown.

While addressing immigration in the past, Giuliani has always maintained a relatively moderate position but it is typically articulated within a rather terse tone suggesting a tough line as well. However, while recently addressing a group of Latino small business leaders, the Mayor continued his moderate stance on immigration, emphasizing the need to “beef up security at the borders while maintaining America’s tradition as the world’s most popular destination for people seeking a better life,” said Mr. Giuliani who added “America is the country that more people want to come to than any country, I think, in the history of the world,” he said in a speech to the Latino Coalition, a nonpartisan group that endorsed a mixture of Republicans and Democrats in 2006.

In the mean time Giuliani must also face an election that will place ethics and political relationships under more scrutiny than has been seen in past elections. One of the ethical battle grounds for this coming election will surely be within fundraising circles. Such scrutiny may create a challenge for Giuliani.

CNN reported that has drawn support from Texans who were notable donors to President Bush, including a former Enron president, Richard D. Kinder, and business executives who direct many of the nation’s oil, gas and energy producers. Causing further concern is that a good part of this fundraising success stems from his affiliation with a well-established and politically connected law firm that is based in Houston and bears his name, Bracewell & Giuliani.

Analysts suggest such an affiliation adds to Mr. Giuliani’s personal wealth but also could pose political risks for him. CNN reports that Bracewell & Giuliani is perhaps the nation’s most aggressive lobbyist for coal-fired power plants, heavy emitters of air pollutants and carbon dioxide, a gas associated with global warming.

Additionally, Giuliani’s success as an attorney has placed him in a position to represent certain corporations with foreign interests. For example, his law firm represents an American subsidiary of a Hugo Chavez-controlled oil company. On Tuesday the Mayor said that the socialist Venezuelan president is “dangerous to U.S. interests,” adding in a speech to Hispanic small business leaders, “Isn’t it annoying, upsetting and even in some cases a matter of national security that we have to send money to our enemies?”

“We need a president who knows how to get things done so we don’t have to be sending money to Chavez,” said Giuliani.

As Senator John McCain (R-Az.) begins to chip away at the Mayor’s lead it will be important for Giuliani to be able to continue to define issues, keep away from ethical challenges, while continuing to show strong leadership. 2008 may be a ways away but it is never too early to lose a lead.

Stephen Winslow is the executive editor of Conservative Viewpoints.

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