BY AMY Z. QUINN You know how people like me always point out that New Yorkers hated Rudy Giuliani up until 9/11? And how many hearts softened toward him after, but it didn’t make anyone trust him more? That’s partly because everything the right wing hated about Bill Clinton in the ’90s — the two faces, the skirt-chasing, the marriage nobody could figure out — Giuliani was living, the whole time, back in the Empire State.
So now it’s an hour before the CNN/YouTube GOP debate and the Giuliani camp is surely backstage scrambling to script some responses to this, from The Politico:
As New York mayor, Rudy Giuliani billed obscure city agencies for tens of thousands of dollars in security expenses amassed during the time when he was beginning an extramarital relationship with future wife Judith Nathan in the Hamptons, according to previously undisclosed government records.
The documents, obtained by Politico under New York’s Freedom of Information Law, show that the mayoral costs had nothing to do with the functions of the little-known city offices that defrayed his tabs, including agencies responsible for regulating loft apartments, aiding the disabled and providing lawyers for indigent defendants. . . .
New York’s mayor receives round-the-clock police protection, and there’s no suggestion that Giuliani used his detail improperly on these trips.
Many of the receipts are from hotels and gas stations on Long Island, where Giuliani reportedly began visiting Nathan’s Southampton condominium in the summer of 1999, though Giuliani and Nathan have never discussed the beginning of their relationship.
Nathan would go on to become Giuliani’s third wife, but his second marriage was officially intact until the spring of 2000, and City Hall officials at the time responded to questions about his absences by saying he was spending time with his son and playing golf.
The receipts have languished in city files since Giuliani left office, apparently in part because of City Hall’s decision to bill police expenses to a range of little-known city offices.
Now. I mentioned Clinton before, right? Well, as in his case, the technical adultery isn’t the problem — Giuliani’s marriage to Donna Hanover ended very badly, very publicly and Rudy-Judy was an open secret — it’s what comes with it that brings you down. If you’re acting shady, then what you’re doing is shady.
Giuliani loves to talk about how he was a 24/7 mayor, and we give him that. So, if in those 24 hours, he needed to dash out to Southampton for some snuggletime with Judy, then he should be can easily able to make that argument. Except whoops, he can’t, because the expenses were buried in backwater areas of the budget, hidden from taxpayers like a cheating husband hides hotel receipts.
My prediction? This issue could do what Bernie Kerik, flip-flops on immigration and (lest we forget) the firemen who died because their radios didn’t work couldn’t. Because there’s almost nothing people understand more clearly than that this guy used taxpayer money to get laid, then lied about it.