“It was just surgical,” says one senior campaign staffer for another GOP presidential hopeful, of the leak. “They [McCain campaign loyalists] are being systematic about taking down the opposition, even if it means tearing the party apart.”
Giuliani’s document was intended to give the former mayor and his senior supporters a broad overview of what would be required to mount a presidential campaign for the 2008 cycle. It is similar to documents prepared for other candidates, including former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former Speaker Newt Gingrich, and Sen. Sam Brownback.
The brief’s contents made headlines because of the frank discussion of some areas of Giuliani’s life and career that would be open to attack from other candidates and the media, including his previous marriages and some of his business connections.
“There was nothing in that document that just about everyone who know Rudy wasn’t already aware of or talking about,” says a Giuliani supporter. “Okay, it was embarrassing that it was lost and made public, but there is nothing here that should doom his candidacy.”
According to Republican sources, the McCain campaign got a hold of the memorandum, first made public by the New York Daily News, after it was left behind by a Giuliani aide in Florida in November as the former mayor campaigned for then Republican gubernatorial candidate, now Gov. Charlie Crist.
Those sympathetic to McCain didn’t leak it until the McCain camp had locked in some of the donors and fundraisers mentioned in the memo, such as GOP money men Lew Eisenberg and Larry Bathgate.
“This was all about embarrassing Rudy and his team, and it was timed to do the most damage,” says the staffer for another GOP presidential hopeful. “I’d imagine we’ll take a similar hit down the road as things progress. It’s inevitable.”