ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (CNN) - The skies opened up here in Tampa just an hour before the debate. Florida downpours are usually cleansing and invigorating – washing away the day’s dust and grime, feeding new life into roots and leaves. You know that tomorrow will be greener than today was. But tonight’s storm might have been a metaphor for the latest dark cloud hanging over Rudy Giuliani’s bid for the White House.
Revelations that – as mayor of New York – his office may have hid funds for accommodation and security during the time he was courting then girlfriend/soon to be 3rd wife Judith Nathan in New York’s tony Hamptons.
The disclosure sent a new wave of uncertainty through the media and blog worlds. Was it a dime dropped by an opponent? How might it hurt the man who is campaigning on truth and honesty – if not his personal life, at least in government? Would the other candidates pick up on it?
How it plays may come down to what the current occupant of City Hall, Michael Bloomberg has to say about it.
Regardless, it is exactly what a candidate doesn’t want on the night of a big debate like this one. They want to weave their own narrative. Giuliani was at risk of following the news instead of driving it. He is running on his record as mayor.
He insists that the story “is not true” that nothing improper was done, and that he is not responsible for how expenses were reported. But anything that raises questions about how he used public funds while at the helm of America’s biggest city may reflect on how voters think he will handle the nation’s budget. And with Mitt Romney reinvigorating his drive to box Giuliani out of a win in the early primary states and steamroll his way to victory, the former mayor can’t afford to lose even one step in the few weeks remaining.
- American Morning Anchor John Roberts