||Tucker Carlson is a CNN political analyst and contributes to The Weekly Standard and Talk magazines. He is providing exclusive analysis to CNN allpolitics.com during the election season.|
Tucker Carlson: Expect more revelations from Rudy
(CNN) -- It is among the first rules of both politics and good manners: Before
holding a press conference to announce the end of your marriage, alert your
On Wednesday, Rudy Giuliani ignored this rule. Within hours, his
bewildered wife, Donna Hanover, held a press conference of her own. Tears
welling in her eyes, Hanover implied that her husband had been having an
affair with a member of his staff. What had started as an uncomfortable day
for the mayor of New York ended as a disaster.
Giuliani's failure to inform his wife before going public with news of
their separation was more than simply insensitive. It was reckless. (Hanover
learned of her husband's intentions when she saw him on television; her
response, one suspects, could have been far more damaging even than it was.)
Above all, it was not the behavior of a man who cares much about his
political future, much less of someone who plans to win a tight race for the
U.S. Senate. Giuliani admitted as much yesterday morning. "I don't really
care about politics right now," he informed stunned reporters assembled in
Manhattan's Bryant Park.
Then he seemed to change his mind. Shortly after his press conference,
Giuliani instructed his staff to bat down rumors of his impending withdrawal
from the Senate race. "He wants to run, he intends to run. All systems are
go," said one press aide. Fellow Republicans joined the spin effort. "I do
not think it will affect the political picture at all," assured Roy Goodman,
a GOP state senator from Manhattan. "It's a strictly personal matter."
Except it will. And it's not.
In fact, Giuliani's domestic troubles have already affected the race.
Privately, aides admit that political donations have dropped off. At this
point, Giuliani's campaign will not meet its fundraising goals for the month
Nor is the state of Giuliani's marriage irrelevant to the race. (Strictly
speaking, it ceased being a "personal matter" the moment the mayor held his
first press conference on the subject.) New York City may resemble Paris in
its attitudes toward sexual peccadilloes -- Giuliani supporters are fervently
claiming it does -- but the rest of the state does not. There are still people
in New York who strongly disapprove of adultery. Many of them are
Republicans. To win, Giuliani will need their votes.
Will Giuliani stay in the race? The conventional understanding is that he
has until the end of the month to decide. A spokesman scoffs at this deadline
as "quite artificial" and "press imposed." Instead, the spokesman says,
Giuliani could spend a good part of the summer focused on beating his
prostate cancer ("Remember, this is man who is trying to decide how to save
his life"), and wait till September before announcing his final decision.
This is an unlikely scenario. Already, at least three prominent
Republicans -- Gov. George Pataki, Rep. Rick Lazio and financier Teddy
Forstmann -- have indicated they might be interested in taking Giuliani's
place. Forstmann, who is rich enough to finance his own campaign, recently
hired veteran GOP spokesman Dan Schnur. Schnur's previous employer was John
Giuliani faces growing competition and dwindling time. He must make his
decision soon. Expect more exciting press conferences.