Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Rudy Giuliani is taking a real big hit today after a Newsday article reported that he quit the Iraq Study Group rather than give up the opportunity to make millions of dollars giving speeches:

WASHINGTON -- Rudolph Giuliani's membership on an elite Iraq study panel came to an abrupt end last spring after he failed to show up for a single official meeting of the group, causing the panel's top Republican to give him a stark choice: either attend the meetings or quit, several sources said.

Giuliani left the Iraq Study Group last May after just two months, walking away from a chance to make up for his lack of foreign policy credentials on the top issue in the 2008 race, the Iraq war.

He cited "previous time commitments" in a letter explaining his decision to quit, and a look at his schedule suggests why -- the sessions at times conflicted with Giuliani's lucrative speaking tour that garnered him $11.4 million in 14 months.

Giuliani failed to show up for a pair of two-day sessions that occurred during his tenure, the sources said -- and both times, they conflicted with paid public appearances shown on his recent financial disclosure. Giuliani quit the group during his busiest stretch in 2006, when he gave 20 speeches in a single month that brought in $1.7 million.


By giving up his seat on the panel, Giuliani has opened himself up to charges that he chose private-sector paydays and politics over unpaid service on a critical issue facing the nation.

Not only that, but the 10-member group -- also called the Baker-Hamilton commission -- was no ordinary blue-ribbon panel, instead chartered by Congress and encouraged by the president to find a way forward in Iraq.

Giuliani's move already has come under attack by Democrats, and outside experts say it shines a light on his priorities at the time.

"Missing one meeting, you could put it down to staff error, but when you're missing them consistently, your priorities have been indicated, and the staff knows when there's a choice, you go on the road and pick up some bucks," said Kent Cooper, co-founder of Political Money Line, which tracks money in politics.

Josh Marshall notes that this kind of revelation usually ends the campaign of a candidate who has based his entire campaign on his anti-terrorism credentials and hard-assed Iraq policies:

Rudy's running on terrorism and Iraq. But he got booted off a congressionally-mandated blue ribbon panel because he couldn't be bothered to show up for the meetings. It conflicted with his for-a-price speaking gigs. Like I said, it's the kind of story that ends campaigns.

Will it?

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