I was at the same American Spectator sponsored dinner with Rep. Peter King, R-NY, last night as Byron York, and when King (who is close to the Rudy camp) emphatically stated that Giuliani was "close" to running for president, I was quite surprised. While Giuliani has been saying he was thinking about it, I haven't taken the possibility seriously -- but King was insistent.
It's hard to see the rationale for a second Giuliani bid, in which he would still face all the same obstacles as 2008 (messy personal life, liberal views on social issues), without many of the advantages. Sept. 11th is four years further away, and terrorism and national security is even less of a focus, as evidenced by the minor bump President Obama got from the killing of Osama bin Laden. And the base is even less tolerant of deviations from conservatism. Also, his brand took a major hit after running such a lackluster campaign last time around.
Four years ago, I was quite sympathetic to Giuliani's candidacy, and still think that if he gives his best, he could make a potentially great president. His turnaround of New York City (which I witnessed first hand having lived there at the time) was miraculous, and he relished the confrontational brand of politics decades before New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. But from a pure political perspective, it's hard to see his path to the nomination.
Giuliani evidently thinks if he plops down in New Hampshire this time, he can correct the mistake of his wait until Florida strategy from 2008. But will Granite Staters be welcoming this time? If this op-ed by Fergus Cullen, who was chairman of the state GOP during the last campaign, is any indication, the answer would seem to be a resounding no.