Washington Prowler

Rough on Rudy

McCain mugs Giuliani. Also: Edwards' money trail.

By 1.7.07

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WHAT'S IN THE DAILY NEWS?
The leak of the 140-page brief prepared by advisers of former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani has been the talk of Washington for more than a week, and by late last week, consensus was that the document was leaked by sources with ties to the presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain.

"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."

The McCain campaign has ruffled some Republican feathers as he has criticized the party and conservatives as he seeks to broaden his support beyond the GOP base. Giuliani, who rates as highly as McCain on such issues as national security and homeland defense, but is more moderate on some social issues, is viewed as the major threat to McCain in the center/moderate Republican arena.

GOING BACK TO THE WELL
Former Sen. John Edwards and his campaign team have set a goal of raising $40 million in 2007 to fund his presidential aspirations. And they plan to do it piggybacking off lists and donors the trial lawyer picked up as Sen. John Kerry's running mate in 2004.

Last October, Edwards and Kerry got into private, ugly war of words over the disposition of the millions of dollars Kerry was hoarding in his presidential campaign accounts. Edwards wanted the bulk of those funds used to finance Democrat candidacies in the 2006 election cycle, something Kerry had little interest in doing.

Now, Edwards is out of the starting gate earlier than Kerry, and perhaps the only one of the two who will seek the nomination this time around, given Kerry's disastrous campaign gaffes last October and just before Election Day.

"Hillary can't take all of the money," says an Edwards supporter. "And Kerry had a number of good lists and donor networks. If he's not taking advantage of them, then Edwards should. He's been courting them and keeping in contact with many of them all this time."

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