We're not sure when this started, but somewhere along the line it became common for reporters to quiz Presidential candidates on the campaign trail about the price of grocery staples, like a loaf of bread or a gallon of milk. It's supposed to be some indication of how in-touch a candidate is with the common American voter, but it's also a form of "gotcha!" question, especially when asked at a $1,000-a-person fund-raiser.
Knowing this, one would think Rudy Giuliani's aides would have prepared him for this inevitable type of question. When he was campaigning in Alabama yesterday, however, Rudy dropped the ball while fielding the question of whether he knew the price of a gallon of milk or a loaf of bread:
"A gallon of milk is probably about a $1.50, a loaf of bread about a $1.25, $1.30," he said.
A check of the Web site for D'Agostino supermarket on Manhattan's Upper East Side showed a gallon of milk priced at $4.19 and a loaf of white bread at $2.99 to $3.39. In Montgomery, Ala., a gallon of milk goes for about $3.39 and bread is about $2.
Rudy did better when asked the price of gas, which he estimated was about $2.89 a gallon. In Giuliani's defense, we've lived in the city for many years and can't recall the last time we bought an entire gallon of milk at once. So it's possible the life-long New Yorker was remembering the price of a half-gallon, which is how most milk is sold in city grocery stores.
Either way, we'll start according this type of question a little more importance when reporters start asking candidates from outside of New York how much it costs to take a cab from West 79th to Fulton St. during rush hour. And that's a trick question, because they should ask "Which Fulton St., Manhattan or Brooklyn?" before answering.
Separately, when Giuliani was asked if he would ever appear on controversial radio personality Don Imus' show, the candidate said he talked to Imus, believes his apology is sincere, and would be willing to appear on his show in the future.