After the convention session last night I bumped into one of the Republican Party's savviest conservative operatives and the conversation convinced me that Rudy Giuliani did something unusual: He launched a presidential campaign with a single speech. Charlie Black broke into politics years ago by going door-to-door (and trailer-to-trailer) for Jesse Helms in North Carolina. And Black's reaction to the gay-rights backing, abortion-supporting former mayor of New Yawk was interesting: He was in awe. "I'm telling ya, that guy could come down to North Carolina and do just great," Black said. In fact, with little notice in New York and Washington, Rudy already has been doing it, picking up chits by appearing for fund-raisers and political events throughout the South — and elsewhere. America's Mayor is a huge draw. He's also become a terrific speaker. Dominating a giant hall the way he did last night — while still connecting with the TV audience — and doing it all with intimacy and humor ... pretty impressive. And the hall was NOT packed with New Yorkers. "All the big shots from around the country wanted to hear him," Black said. "That was a tough ticket."
Ahnold was pretty effective, if less skilled and less learned. I don't know if the constitutional amendment to allow 20-year citizens as well as "natural-born" citizens to be President will pass in time to help the Terminator, though.