As he stumps for various Repubican candidates vying for win durings the 2006 elections, Rudy Giulaini is, more than ever, bandied about as a possible 2008 presidential candidate. The NY Times has a big article about Giuliani - and the GOP - riding his September 11 coattails. Given that Giuliani is a difficult hybrid of stances - pro-gay rights, pro-gun control, pro-choice, very divorced (and Italian, to boot!) - focusing on September 11 is all there is, and supporters do seem to love Rudy because of "9/11" and, uh, fighting crime. But beyond that, they don't know much about him - one of Iowa's leading Republicans said he didn't know anything about Bernard Kerik or toxic dust at Ground Zero.

And have you wondered how much Giuliani talks about September 11? Reporter Richard Perez-Pena had this illuminating passage:

“I don’t want to get in the way of 2006,” he said recently. “These are important elections that are coming up.”

But when he is asked about 9/11, he talks effusively. Regarding Cristina Sauceda’s question [“How did you feel when they destroyed the towers, and what did you do to make people feel better?”], Mr. Giuliani gave an answer that, even for an adult audience, would have been extremely long (10 minutes), grim (“We had to figure out how many body bags to order”), and emotionally wrenching (“Every time I was told” that someone he knew had been killed, “my heart would take a beat, and I would say to myself, ‘I can’t think about that right now’”).

Maybe it seems much worse to us because we've heard him discuss it so many times. The point is, Giuliani won't talk about presidential ambitions but he will talk about the event that burnished his legacy. We're doubtful the rest of the GOP will be able to embrace Giuliani as a candidate, but if there are any more Republican scandals in the next year, Giuliani probably won't look so weird to the party.

After his convention speech in 2004, speculation grew that Giuliani would be a leading candidate for President. But could the problems with post-September 11 air be his "swift boat?" And yesterday, Newsday's Wallace Matthews made an interesting statement while writing about the shift of baseball power moving to Flushing: "The Yankees are the privileged New York of Rudy Giuliani and Donald Trump and Billy Crystal and Goldman Sachs, the exclusive New York that can always get a table at Elaine's or Rao's."

Photograph of Giulaini with Republican Senate candidate Mike Bouchard by Paul Sancya/AP