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Noonan: Rudy Not Acting Like Wartime Don
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Peggy Noonan writes that there’s a huge stature gap among the presidential candidates. While in his Iraq speech earlier this week McCain “sounded like a serious man addressing a serious issue in a serious way,” she thinks Huckabee and Romney (varmint gate) look small by comparrison.

But she saves her most blistering criticism for Giuliani:

Here was Rudy Giuliani this week in a speech in California. No one much noted it–he was lucky it was subsumed by the Imus wave. But this is how Mr. Giuliani opened a speech to citizens considering his candidacy for the American presidency. “Thank youse all very much for invitin’ me here tuh-day, to this meeting of the families from different parts’a California.”

He was imitating Marlon Brando in “The Godfather.” (The rendering comes from a Newsday report.) Actually the character of Don Corleone, as drawn by Mario Puzo, was possessed of a certain verbal elegance, but never mind. Mr. Giuliani’s imitation was clear enough to inspire in the audience a smattering of applause and, apparently, laughter.

Earlier in the week, in reaction to a spate of critical stories about his wife, Judith, he asked reporters to leave her alone: “I am a candidate. She’s a civilian, to use the old Mafia distinction.”

Ah. Can’t have enough candidates for president who whimsically employ the language of mobsters.

Now, I’m not one to criticize anyone for making such remarks given that I’ve used Godfather references to assess a certain former mayor’s presidential prospects and even diagnose the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But with that said, I have heard a lot of people tell me they think that Giuliani’s various schticks, while amusing and endearing to some, simply do not look presidential. So, will voters, likewise, think of Giuliani as the man they’d like to sit down and have a cannoli with, but not want to have as the commander in chief? I don’t think Giuliani should hide his personality, but as the campaign goes on, I think he’ll have to find a proper balance.

His Oct. 2001 speech to the United Nations was particularly presidential, and in fact, it was the speech that first made me think about the prospect of him becoming president.

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