"It's going to be a Clinton-Obama ticket," top Republican presidential contender Rudolph W. Giuliani told Inside the Beltway, saying Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York will win the Democratic presidential nomination and choose Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois as her running mate.
"She's got a big lead, but he's made a very strong second-place showing, and generally when somebody holds onto a strong second place like Obama, they generally get on the ticket," Mr. Giuliani said in a wide-ranging interview conducted by this columnist as guest host of "The Michael Reagan Show," syndicated nationally by Radio America.
He continues to hold his lead among Republican candidates, so who might the former New York mayor choose for the other half of his ticket?
"I haven't even thought about it," Mr. Giuliani said. "And I'm not the prohibitive favorite like Hillary Clinton is; I've got a tough race ahead of me. The Republicans have much better candidates than Democrats. I know the media likes to play it the other way, but I once added up our experience versus theirs. I mean, there's no comparison.
"They've got only one candidate that has had executive experience at all, and that's [New Mexico Gov.] Bill Richardson," he explained. "On our side, some of the candidates, including me, have more 'executive' experience than the entire Democratic field combined. And when you look at Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and [former North Carolina Sen.] John Edwards, they've never run a city, they've never run a state, they've never run a business, they've never made a payroll, they've never had to deal with a budget.
"The chief executive office of the United States is a pretty complicated office, and really we're entitled to better than on-the-job training," he said.
Although his support has slipped in recent polling, the one-time mayor of Gotham, who is not only credited for helping his city but the entire country heal from the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, said he continues to trust "the general election polls that show I can win in all 50 states. I don't think I am overstating it that I'm about the only Republican who can beat Mrs. Clinton, or run competitive with her. And I'm certainly the only Republican who can carry on a 50-state campaign."
Meanwhile, as the presidential primary season gets under way, Mr. Giuliani said he is detecting "panic" among Democrats, particularly in the wake of Gen. David H. Petraeus' often grueling testimony last week on Capitol Hill, when his assessment of progress in Iraq was attacked by the Democratic congressional leadership and presidential candidates alike.
"Basically, if you have to select, who do you trust here — Hillary Clinton or General Petraeus?" Mr. Giuliani asked. "I kind of think I'd go with the general, who's got a record of honesty and integrity. And here he's subjected to their attacks on his character at a time in which he is putting his life at risk for his country.
"Who is [Mrs. Clinton] to be attacking the integrity of an American general? I know she desperately wants to be president of the United States, but you have to have some standard, some decency," he said, adding that "the panic came about a couple weeks ago, when she made the astounding statement that if there were an attack on America, it might help the Republican Party.
"Do you see how these people look at the world? I wouldn't think that way in a million years," Mr. Giuliani said. "And the reality is if the [Iraqi] surge is successful, it's not a problem for the Democratic Party, it's good for America. We're Americans, after all. And if there's an attack on America, it's not good for Republicans, it's bad for all of us.
"The Islamic terrorists are attacking Republicans and Democrats," he said. "They're not making distinctions, and we shouldn't do it."