Saturday, March 19, 2011

Two FOK News Channel posts for this date.
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Rudy Giuliani Mocks How Obama Talks?
Photo of the Day
Rudy Giuliani Mocks How Obama Talks?

I'm going to start this by saying that I came to loathe Rudy Giuliani so much that I regularly violated one of the rules to which I wanted most to adhere: mock nothing more serious than a public figure's hairstyle or accent. A speech impediment, or baldness, or anything else that is physical rather than style-challenged? Probably out of bounds. And in the case of Giuliani, my on-air impression of him sounding like a New York version of Sylvester – as in "Sylvester V. Tweety Bird" – that whole "Sufferin' Succotash, it's a noun, a verb, and 9/11," was too much.

It was too much, that is, until Giuliani decided yesterday to mock President Obama as some kind of stutterer.

Having learned nothing from his humiliating 2007-2008 campaign for the Republican nomination ($50,000,000 = 1 Delegate = Mitt Romney looking like a model of fiscal/political efficiency), Mr. Giuliani is obviously running again, and this time deciding it is prudent after all to begin in New Hampshire.

Which is where he made fun of the way the President talks.

I thought the Associated Press account of Giuliani's speech might have been over-ripe (and incidentally I can't stop you if the voice you hear in your head as you read this gets all sibilant on stuff like Giuliani's and Speech and Associated Press):

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, whose drive-by approach to campaigning in New Hampshire drove his 2008 presidential campaign into the ground, began setting the stage for a do-over Friday with a fiery speech in which he mocked President Barack Obama as a stuttering weakling on foreign policy.

Stuttering weakling, Gracie (Mansion)?

Giuliani, who as he spoke probably did not know the difference between Libya and tv chef Lidia Bastianich, mistook the nuanced leadership of the President and an actual coalition involving Middle Eastern countries, for the worst foreign policy he's ever seen.

Everybody gets an opinion, even an under-informed unfaithful hack who in the days after the attack on New York, dropped his political pretension, and for two weeks was a simple human being sharing grief and sadness like the rest of us who were here, and then quickly reverted to being the same opportunistic whistle-ass he'd been for the twenty years before they blew up the building in which he put the command center that they'd told him not to put there, and actually tried to get an American election postponed so he could stay in office a few more months.

But do you get to say it this way, Rude?

When France proposed instituting a no-fly zone, "Our president, the leader of the free world, said, 'A what? That's hard! A no fly zone is r-r-r-really hard!'"

I'd like to thank the Mayor for thus giving me implicit permission to resume doing my impression of how he stammers and spits and shlobbers whenever he talks, when I return to television in late spring.


I have told the story of my first encounter with Giuliani many times but I can't recall the last time I did it, so here goes. This saga informs my opinion of him, and I have yet to see – saving those two weeks after 9/11 – anything that argues against the premise that this is the true Giulaini, unfiltered, unthinking, and unqualified.

In the mid-'90s when I was still at ESPN, I was asked by the Baseball Hall of Fame and the then-Deputy Mayor of New York Fran Reiter to come down from Connecticut to City Hall to emcee an event honoring a peck of Hall of Famers. My task was simple: I was to introduce each great with some tidbit about his career. I was honored by the invitation and in those pre-internet days, I spent hours looking for anniversaries of great dates in their individual histories and anything else that would give just a little extra added value beyond saying: "He hit more homers than anybody else – Hank Aaron!"

So the day came, and I and some friends set out at the crack of dawn from Bristol for the two hour drive to the city. It was a beautiful spring morning, and Deputy Mayor Reiter couldn't have been more gracious, nor more clear about what was ahead. From a podium built on the steps of city hall, she would welcome the dignitaries and the dais, and then introduce the executive from the Hall of Fame. He would introduce Mayor Giuliani, who would in turn introduce me. I would introduce each player (there were at least two dozen of them – it was really a fantastic event) and then I would turn it back to the Deputy Mayor to wrap it up, and then we'd all go into City Hall and attack the Hall of Famers for free autographs. "But first," she said, "we have to make Rudy understand."

The Mayor Giuliani I met was glassy-eyed and a little reminiscent of an automaton. Fran Reiter had a great big booming voice and she was using it emphatically as she ran through the sequence of speakers. "After you speak, you introduce him," she grabbed me by the shoulders and shoved me in front of the mayor as if I were a two-headed heifer at a county fair. "This is Keith Olbermann. He is from the sports tv network, ESPN. He is the emcee. Got it?"

Giuliani nodded mechanically. Reiter was not satisfied. "Got it? Then repeat it!"

He looked at me. "You're Keith Olbermann. You're from the sports tv network, ESPN. You are the emcee."

The Deputy Mayor seemed relieved. She sat us down next to each other in the first two seats to the right of the speakers' podium. Just before the man from the Hall of Fame finished, Giuliani turned and looked at me for the first moment since we'd been seated and said "You're Keith Olbermann. You're from the sports tv network, ESPN. You are the emcee." I agreed with him and he seemed delighted with himself for remembering.

The speaker finished, and the Mayor bounced up and got a nice round of applause from the 500 or so folks who had filled the little plaza in front of City Hall. Giuliani spoke extemporaneously and rapidly. He'd always been a baseball fan and it was tough rooting for the Yankees in Brooklyn but he knew a winner and he was glad the Yankees were winning and he was delighted he had made it happen because of his close relationship with George Steinbrenner and he was happy the Mets were doing so well too because he had helped them by not knocking down Shea Stadium or anything and since baseball was invented here in the greatest city in the world it was important that we had winners and if he'd been mayor when the Dodgers and Giants moved out the Dodgers and Giants wouldn't have moved out and then we'd all have four winners to root for what with the Dodgers and Giants and Mets and Yankees and this wonderful spring morning and he was absolutely overjoyed he could be responsible for bringing us the nice weather too but of course you're not here to listen to me talk about baseball when we have all these Hall of Famers here so let me introduce you to the man who will introduce them to you...

And here is where Rudy Giuliani froze.

The silence didn't last very long and wasn't all that painful. What Rudy said next was painful – largely because the microphones they were using that morning were omni-directional. They picked up not just what was said directly into them, but also what was said on either side of them. Such as when Giuliani turned, thinking he was no longer audible, and bellowed to Fran Reiter: "What's his name?"

Reiter was pissed. "Keith Olbermann! The emcee! From ESPN! You remembered it! You promised! You repeated it to me!"

I could hear my ESPN friends laughing in the crowd. They weren't the only ones.

Giuliani now turned back to a microphone that had broadcast his sotto voce remarks as loudly as they amplified his intended ones. "And here he is, our encee, from ESPM, Keith Oblermann."

Various thoughts raced through my mind in that split second. I wondered if I should get up and say "Thank you, Mayor LaGuardia" or "Thanks, Mayor Judy Ruiliani." Even more meanly, as I heard Hall of Famer Al Kaline laughing behind me, I contemplated invoking Giuliani's predecessor whom he had barely beaten in the last election, David Dinkins. But I was representing ESPN and the Baseball Hall of Fame, not just my own bruised ego. Instead, I simply made him introduce me a second time. "C'mon up, Keith!"

He couldn't remember it, which is fine, that's not part of the job description for Mayor or President. But he didn't think to do what anybody else would do if they thought there was a risk they couldn't remember something, which is to write it down.

Even on the palm of your hand.

Rudy – don't mock how other people sound when they speak, or how they might hesitate or even not perfectly remember things they're supposed to say.

You have no standing on the subject...Sylvester.
Photo Of The Day For March 19

This is from a few days ago, but priceless nonetheless. Ignore for a moment the Fox correspondent who looks exactly like Anthony Teague as "Bud Frump" in How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying. Concentrate instead, please, on the sign over his left shoulder, remembering that the Koch Brothers pronounce their name "Coke."