The New York Observer has a nice piece up today on how questions about Rudy Giuliani's obscure expensing of costs for his visits to the Hamptons refuse to go away despite his campaign's aggressive, and shifting, explanations:
[Giuliani political adviser Tony] Carbonetti argued that it took some time to settle on a defense—Mr. Giuliani’s original reaction was that it was a political “hit job”—because he needed time to go through the hundreds of pages of documents. He said the documents ultimately showed that the accounting was filtered through the other city agencies in an effort to expedite the payment of travel expenses to vendors.
He said that the process began well before Mr. Giuliani started seeing Ms. Nathan, was common practice among City Hall workers and was intended to circumvent the New York City Police Department, which was a bureaucratic nightmare.
“I can either give you the explanation and you can accept it, or you can see the black helicopters you want to see,” said Mr. Carbonetti. “If you would have wanted to hide it, you would have put it over at PD.”
So far, the explanation hasn’t stuck. Ray Kelly, New York’s current police commissioner, who also ran the department under former Mayor David Dinkins, has publicly contradicted Mr. Carbonetti’s characterization, saying that during his two stints as the head of the Police Department, “detectives assigned to the mayor’s security detail file all of their expenses through the department and they’re reimbursed through the department.”
Bummer. You insult the entire black-helicopter constituency and this is all it gets you? My favorite part, though, may have been this:
Dismissing attacks from the “Northeast press,” [Giuliani campaign South Carolina chair Barry] Wynn pointed to Mr. Giuliani’s strong poll numbers in South Carolina and said that the bad week was mostly a result of an absence of the issue of terror.
“That is the key question that galvanizes a whole lot of support,” he said. “When that nerve is hit, people do not worry about divorces; they do not worry about perfection. People worry about the survival of the country.”
Yeah, an absence of terror news does really make for a bad week. If only something terrible and frightening could happen.