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What Do Rudy’s Ads Mean?

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CNN and the Washington Post both report on the new Rudy ads running in Iowa and new Hampshire. I’ll play them on the program today, and ask: “What do they tell us?”

The Post’s Chris Cillizza writes that “[t]he moves by Giuliani show that his campaign understands (or at least believes) that the race has changed fundamentally. With McCain bounced out of the top-tier, Giuliani is likely to get a lot more attention from his potential rivals — as evidenced by the memo sent out by Romney’s campaign over the weekend.”

“The battle to define Giuliani’s identity will be the preeminent struggle on the Republican side in the next few months,” concludes Cillizza. “Expect more barbs thrown Hizzoner’s way and watch how hard (and how quickly) his campaign pushes back.”

A second take is that Rudy recognizes that he can’t adopt a “nothing matters until Florida” approach to the primaries, and that he’s got to win somewhere early or watch the early contests greatly impact the early voting (which starts the day after the Iowa caucuses) and absentee voting in many places. The decision to go on the airwaves in the first two states telegraphs some alarm at Romney’s momentum in both places, and raises the stakes for Fred Thompson as well. With two of the big three battling it out, the prospects of Thompson taking a bye are greatly diminished.


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