Salena Zito

CANONSBURG, PA-One day after the anniversary of the Sept. 11th terror attacks Republican presidential nominee Rudy Giuliani zeroed in on the Democratic front-runners – stinging Hillary Clinton, Barrack Obama and John Edwards with the sharpest words in the presidential campaign to date.

Giuliani is clearly exercising a strategic move to define himself as the Republican front-runner who hopes to cinch the nomination before his GOP rivals gain steam. And he is increasing the volume on the issue Giuliani believes can catapult him to the White House: a do-or-die fight between the U.S. and international terrorism with the former New York mayor leading America’s charge.

Referencing the MoveOn.org ad that painted General Petraeus as a ‘betrayer’ he called out the Democrats to “get the political games over with and get the statesmanship in line.” America "cannot go back to the policies of appeasement, retreat or surrender that Barack Obama, John Edwards and Hillary Clinton are talking about.”

“What is going on in Iraq is a very serious thing,” he said at a campaign stop in western Pennsylvania. “It is not about Hillary Clinton’s career or Barack Obama’s career or my career, it is about America … it is about whether America is going to be successful or if America is going to lose, it is about whether we are going to be safe against terrorism or we are not.”

Giuliani also took exception to Obama’s speech last Wednesday in which he called for “a clear and certain timetable’ for withdrawal from Iraq. “When in the history of war has an army ever given its enemy a timetable of retreat?”

With campaign stops in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania Giuliani spent the bulk of last Wednesday raising money, eyebrows and probably the blood pressure of Democrat front-runners Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

And by taking serious swipes at the democratic frontrunners Giuliani’s campaign demonstrated a serious turn. With Labor Day and September 11th behind him he tested his ‘national’ political muscle by campaigning not in the early caucus and primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire but in the general election battleground states of Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Giuliani said the reason that he was campaigning outside of the traditional primary states is that he's “the only GOP candidate who can play and win in a 50-state campaign – which is why I am running a national campaign.”

“We can make races in states that have not had competitive races in years,” Giuliani said, pointing to traditional Democrat strongholds like Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and California as among those he can win.


Salena Zito

Salena Zito is a political analyst, reporter and columnist.