Tags: Insider | Report: | Jeb | Giuliani | for | 2008?

Insider Report: Jeb or Giuliani for 2008?

Sunday, 05 December 2004 12:00 AM

1. Kerik Pick Helps Giuliani for 2008
2. Jeb Bush in 2008: Is 'No' the Answer?
3. Jeb Bush on Gay Marriage

1. Kerik Pick Helps Giuliani for 2008
2. Jeb Bush in 2008: Is 'No' the Answer?
3. Jeb Bush on Gay Marriage

1. Kerik Pick Helps Giuliani for 2008

The buzz in Washington and New York is that George Bush's pick of Bernard Kerik as Secretary of Homeland Security is a political make-good to former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who strongly endorsed George Bush for his race in 2004.

Washington insiders were surprised by the choice. Kerik was not considered the most qualified person for the critical security job.

During his tenure as New York City police commissioner, Kerik received mixed reviews as a manager.

But he was considered a close crony of Mayor Giuliani.

Kerik got to know Giuliani during his days as a prosecutor, and he served Rudy as a bodyguard and driver when he ran for mayor.

The personal connection paid off for Kerik, who quickly rose in the Giuliani administration to head the city's police department.

Kerik is also was known for his strong Republican Party leanings. The Washington Post reports that at one time he proudly displayed a photo of Oliver North on his office wall.

Kerik is best known for heading New York's police department at the time of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Some families of the Sept. 11 victims criticized Giuliani and Kerik for not properly coordinating police and fire communication radio systems.

The Washington Post noted that Sept. 11 commission member and former Navy secretary John F. Lehman "sharply criticized Kerik and former fire commissioner Thomas Van Essen for failures of leadership during the terrorist attacks, saying that rivalry between the departments hampered rescue efforts. The command and control of their departments, Lehman said, were 'not worthy of the Boy Scouts.'"

In 2003, Kerik also served briefly in Iraq, heading up efforts to train Iraq's new police force. But Kerik left abruptly after just four months on the job.

Kerik's pick by President Bush is viewed as a tremendous windfall for Giuliani.

Giuliani, who just announced the launch of his own investment bank, is expanding his private businesses centered around his consulting firm, Giuliani Partners LLC. Kerik has been a member of the firm since 2001.

Giuliani apparently has no interest in taking a position in the Bush administration as he ponders a run for president in 2008.

But having Kerik in Homeland Security may be the next-best thing.

Kerik, among Giuliani's most trusted aides, will be in the prized position of controlling over 22 government agencies employing some 180,000 people.

Moreover, he will control a budget of $40 billion -- with one of the richest allocations of discretionary contracts to private businesses. No doubt that will give tremendous political leverage to Giuliani for his business and political ambitions.

Insiders say Kerik's association will also offer Giuliani a tremendous launch pad for fund raising if he plans to run for president in 2008.



2. Jeb Bush in 2008: Is 'No' the Answer?

At 10:40 p.m. this past Wednesday, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush responded to an e-mail from the Palm Beach Post asking whether he would like -- one more time -- to squash the speculation that he's going for the White House in 2008:

"I am not running for President," Bush fired back, according to a Post report. Bush tersely added, "Period. Over and out."

But the very next day, a column from California's Pasadena Star-News was being passed around among political insiders in Florida. Its second paragraph blared:

"Jeb Bush will be the Republican candidate for president in 2008."

Alas, Jeb Bush has been saying "No" for some time -- to little avail.

Shortly after brother George W. won a second term in the White House, Gov. Bush was asked by reporters in Tallahassee if he would like to continue the dynasty in Washington:

"No. Why am I not believable on this subject? This is driving me nuts."
 
The younger Bush stubbornly insists that when he leaves the governor's mansion for the last time in January 2007, he will not run for president.

Yet, however many Bush pronouncements of finality on the subject, his potential candidacy in 2008 remains the main grist fueling the political mill.

Ken Mehlman, the future chairman of the Republican National Committee, recently mentioned Jeb Bush to the Washington Times as one of eight possible presidential candidates in 2008.

Mehlman's short list: Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Virginia Sen. George Allen, Colorado Gov. Bill Owens, Arizona Sen. John McCain, Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, George Pataki, Rudy Giuliani -- and Jeb Bush.

RNC spokesman Brian Jones was quick to qualify that Mehlman was just speculating about politicians who are being discussed in the media.

And this past Wednesday, Zev Chafets, writing in the New York Daily News, declared that the reason President Bush kept Vice President Dick Cheney on the ticket was to look out for his younger brother -- by making sure "there would not be an incumbent vice president with presidential ambitions in 2008."

There's no end to the buzz …

Indeed, the Pasadena Star's Gerald Plessner was touting the younger Bush as "a bright light on the Bush family tree, the choice for '08."

Clearly paying no attention to the ringing and repeated Jeb Bush denials, Plessner declared, without qualification, that "Jeb Bush will be the Republican candidate for president in 2008.

"Arguably the brightest light on the Bush family tree at least as it seems from here in California, Jeb has all the important things going for him. He is the president's brother. He comes from a pivotal state where he has been a successful governor. He will have Karl Rove to run his campaign. And his family reputation and friendships will raise half-a-billion dollars for him."

All of this is true. But history suggests that second-term presidents don't always leave the public on a happy note. Jeb Bush's success for a 2008 race may depend on how well brother George fares in the next four years.



3. Jeb Bush on Gay Marriage

If Jeb Bush runs for president, he may not have the firm support of the Religious Right, which came out in droves this past election to vote in favor of several state gay marriage bans.

One such ban, in the state of Ohio, is believed to have turned the state and the election for George Bush.

But Jeb Bush has come out strongly against a state constitutional ban on gay marriages for Florida. Jeb's brother, President Bush, has come out for a nationwide constitutional amendment to ban gay marriages. President Bush says it is the only way to prevent liberal courts from making gay marriage law.

After Southern Baptists voted this November to have a statewide referendum on gay marriage, Gov. Bush spoke out against such a move.

"My belief is it's not necessary," Gov. Bush said, noting that the state's defense-of-marriage law protects against gay marriage, which he opposes.

Gov. Bush said that if the courts acted against the state law, he would reconsider his position on the state amendment.

Gov. Bush's position drew support from the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay and lesbian civil rights group.

In a letter to the governor, HRC president Cheryl Jacques wrote:

"As you correctly noted, constitutional amendments such as the one being suggested by Southern Baptists in your state are unnecessary given the fact that Florida already has laws banning gay marriage," Jacques letter stated. "Such an amendment needlessly wastes legislators' time and taxpayers' money in an attempt to write discrimination into your state's Constitution."

"We hope that in the months and years ahead you will continue to uphold the sanctity of your state's Constitution as it is never necessary to enshrine discrimination into any state or federal Constitution," the letter said.

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1. Kerik Pick Helps Giuliani for 2008 2. Jeb Bush in 2008: Is 'No' the Answer? 3. Jeb Bush on Gay Marriage 1. Kerik Pick Helps Giuliani for 2008 2. Jeb Bush in 2008: Is 'No' the Answer? 3. Jeb Bush on Gay Marriage 1. Kerik Pick Helps Giuliani for 2008The buzz...
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