Republicans have met for two debates after Iowa and before New Hampshire’s Tuesday primary, with Giuliani making few ripples in either. In Saturday’s ABC debate, the former mayor began the evening sparring with Texas Rep. Ron Paul over foreign policy. Paul, a former libertarian presidential candidate bested Giuliani in the Iowa caucus and has raised over $19 million in the fourth quarter, though he is still polling far-behind other GOP candidates.
But Giuliani’s campaign strategy doesn’t require a strong showing in either Iowa or New Hampshire, and a split Republican field will bode well for his Florida/Feb. 5 plan. He campaigned in the Sunshine State just after Christmas while his rivals were trudging through the Iowa snow.
“We’ve been in Florida probably as much or more than any state in the last year because we decided way back in January that the early primaries were going to include a lot of other primaries, not just Iowa and New Hampshire,” Giuliani told the editorial board of the Tampa Tribune.
His campaign manager Mike DuHaime told Fox News after Saturday’s debate that his team has followed an “unconventional campaign” and is not missing out because of it.
“If you look at the debate last night, I don’t think the mayor was out of the mix at all. What he was out of was a lot of the petty back and forth between some of the candidates on disagreements that sometimes don’t rise to the level of some of the solutions.”
Strategists and the media are questioning whether Giuliani can still secure the nomination.
“It’s a huge gamble,” wrote Michael Duffy in Time. “Giuliani is hoping the search for the party’s new and improved establishment candidate won’t be over by the time the primaries reach his promised land.”
But the former mayor has done some more campaigning in New Hampshire recently, buying several TV ads in the New Hampshire-Boston market. He will spend today and Tuesday in the Granite State stopping through Hudson, Nashua, Merrimack and Derry. On Saturday, he posed for an unusual photo op cruising into a speech at a robotics conference at South New Hampshire University on a Segway.
“Fascinating … I think I’m going to keep it,” Giuliani said, according to the LA Times. “It would make campaigning much easier. I could shake three times as many hands.”