How Giuliani’s presidential campaign came undone

GOP Minority Leader Watson reveals all at Nick-a-Nee’s
By PHILLIPE AND JORGE  |  April 9, 2008

Your superior correspondents last week had a close encounter with a couple of creatures who qualify in Vo Dilun as authentic endangered species: Republican legislators. In this case, it was House Minority Leader Bob Watson and Representative Nick Gorham, one of the original Casa Diablo regulars dating back to our days together at the Providence Eagle.
Bob had apparently hooked up with a new billiard league in recent weeks and was playing at Nick-a-Nee’s, the unofficial Phoenix watering hole. Nick, although seemingly not in the league (because, we suspect, he’s too busy creating new communities with funny names in western Rhode Island), was hanging with Bob, so we had a couple of beers and (what else!) discussed the presidential election.
As you know, Bob chairs John McCain’s Vo Dilun campaign, and he had an interested tale to tell about why Rudy Giuliani, the early GOP “presumptive leader” (when there were more than a half-dozen Republican candidates), ran such a puzzling and seemingly suicidal campaign.
As Bob understands it, before McCain or Giuliani had formally announced their candidacies, they and “their people” had a meeting at which the former Gotham mayor pledged to the Arizona senator that he “would not stand in [McCain’s] way,” if he wished to seek the presidency. The McCain people assumed that this meant Rudy would not run if McCain threw his hat in the ring. It was a bad assumption.
As we know, Rudy did announce, but from Rudy’s perspective, this was not a betrayal (as most McCain insiders saw it), just part of a necessity to remain “viable.”
At the time, it appeared that McCain’s hope of winning the nomination was about as good as Howie Mandel winning the Irving Thalberg Award at the Oscars. Rudy figured he’d bypass the first couple of primaries (where he was going to do poorly, anyway), wait for McCain to get blown out, and then jump in, with McCain’s blessing and most of his supporters in tow.
But McCain started winning, breathing new life into a supposedly dead campaign, and Rudy, feeling that he had to honor his pledge to McCain, half-assed as the “pledge” was. By this time, Mr. Straight Talk’s campaign was on fire, and Rudy was screwed.
Meanwhile, Watson, knowing that your superior correspondents are Obama men, felt it necessary to bet a meal at the Capitalist Grille on the outcome of the election. So, if Barack wins, the Republican leader will be buying. If his man wins, we pay. And if Hillary secures the nomination, the whole thing’s off.
As Jorge mentioned to Bob, we’ve never paid before at the Capitalist Grille — and we don’t intend to this time.

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