But running a race on "competence" alone won't do the trick. Just ask Democrat Mike Dukakis, who tried that approach in 1988.
Instead, Giuliani somehow will have to find a way to separate in American consciousness the Iraq war from the wider war against terrorism. He would benefit from the perception that "another 9/11" is not just likely, but inevitable.
Perhaps the Giuliani camp should take a page out of Lyndon Johnson's 1964 presidential re-election effort. Johnson's campaign aired on TV a campaign ad -- the so-called "Daisy Ad" -- in which a child plucked petals from a flower as President Johnson's voice warned of the risk of nuclear war. His target was ultraconservative Republican opponent Barry Goldwater.
Giuliani's version would need to target those who have no experience combating or responding to actual terrorist plots.
The Daisy Ad only aired once. Those who remember it recall the image of a nuclear bomb exploding and the explosion reflecting in a close-up in the girl's eyes.
If that sounds like a bold strategy for Giuliani, it's meant to. That's what it'll take to leverage his strong name ID into broader and deeper active support -- and campaign donations.
In the end, Rudy Giuliani is an outsider running in what has been traditionally a GOP insider's world.
Newt Gingrich already has sought and received "official forgiveness" from top religious/political leaders for past marital infidelity.
Giuliani never saw that coming. He remains "the New Yorker who had two women at the same time."
Mitt Romney is recruiting investment bankers from -- you guessed it -- New York as his political donor base.
And John McCain has the tough-talking law-enforcement types, often with military backgrounds, in his corner.
Rudy Giuliani has just one thing going for him right now. He's leading in the polls. It's up to him to stay there.