2006_11_giulianiprez.jpgIt finally happened: Rudy Giuliani has set up the "Rudy Giuliani Presidential Exploratory Committee, Inc." to consider a 2008 bid for the White House. While his aides say it's "not a declaration, it is not an announcement" - just "legal back-room stuff that you have to do" - it certainly makes things interesting given the possible presence of Hillary Clinton looking for the Democratic nomination. The Daily News' Michael Goodwin writes, "Hil vs. Giuliani: The race we've dreamed of", recalling the 2000 Senate race that Giuliani dropped out of after discovering he had prostate cancer. Ah, remember those days? Remember Rick Lazio?

The next question is whether Giuliani is ready for presidential nomination type scrutiny from other Republicans and the nation. He'll have been out of political office for seven years by 2008 - we wonder if that'll work as an advantage or disadvantage. His guidance during September 11 and fighting crime are his successes, but what else can translate into a national platform? His more liberal stances on gun control (he's for it), gay rights (he supports them) and abortion (he's pro-choice) make him an unusual figure for usually conservative primary voters. Overall, we're skeptical his name will make it to the voting booth come November 2008. What do you think?

The Post makes a good observation: Giuliani filed his exploratory committee with the NY Department of State, vs. the Federal Election Commission, possibly because the NY DOS is much stricter and doesn't allow the "public can't access information about how much he's raised and from whom." Last week, Senator John McCain announced he was launching an exploratory panel. And yesterday Governor Pataki announced he would think about a presidential bid, because he wants to be "part of the national dialogue."

Photograph of Giuliani during one of his midterm campaign trips by Mel Evans/AP