Whether he's planning another run for the White House or a bid for senator or governor, or he just misses the spotlight, Rudy Giuliani is suddenly back and talking about the topic that made him a national star _ Sept. 11.
Over five days this week, the former New York mayor gave several national TV interviews and a news conference _ the kind of blitz usually associated with a book tour or a campaign launch. And he definitely does not have a new book to sell.
He has demurred when asked about his future _ saying at one point he hasn't "really focused on it yet" _ while establishing himself as the leading critic of the Obama administration's plan to bring several 9/11 defendants to New York City for a civilian trial.
"There's no reason to put New York through this," he declared in one interview.
Republican consultants interpret Giuliani's week in the spotlight as a sign he is seriously considering a return to politics after being mostly absent from the national stage for the past year or so.
"He's getting back into fighting shape," said GOP strategist Scott Reed. "He had confidence, knowledge and looks like he's enjoying the debate in Washington and may want to become a formal part of it."
Many New York Republicans have urged Giuliani to run for governor next year, but some advisers said he is instead leaning toward a run for Senate.
Or the former mayor _ head of Giuliani Partners LLP, which focuses on emergency preparedness, public safety and corporate governance _ could simply choose to stay in the lucrative private sector, where he benefits greatly from his role as a nationally recognized expert on security.
His spokeswoman said he has not decided anything. But no matter what, Republican political strategists say he is in a good place to do whatever he wants.
"He's probably the most well-positioned senior politician in America right now," said GOP strategist Rich Galen. "A lot of people would work their whole lives to maneuver themselves to be considered a front-runner in one position, but he is a front-runner in three major positions."
Amid all the talk about post-9/11 security, a central theme of his 2008 presidential campaign, Giuliani has managed to drop a few clues about what he might do next.
"Given the decisions that the Obama administration is making, particularly in this area of terrorism, which concerns me probably more than any other, we're going to need some pretty strong alternatives in 2012," he said on CNN.
Would he run for president in 2012, he was asked, or perhaps governor next year?
"I don't know yet," he said.
And while he had plenty of praise for another Republican inspiring chatter about a possible run in 2012, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, he avoided saying specifically that she is qualified to be president when he was pointedly asked on ABC's "This Week."
"She's got two, three years to develop a case, if she wants to make a case for running for president," he said.
Polls have shown that Giuliani leads Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in a hypothetical matchup for the Senate race next year. He trails in a possible matchup for governor with Democrat Andrew Cuomo but would be the leading Republican contender.
He ran for Senate in 2000 but withdrew when he found out he had prostate cancer, which was successfully treated. His presidential bid in 2008 fizzled after he failed to win the Florida primary, which was supposed to be the centerpiece of his campaign strategy.
Last weekend, Giuliani popped up on the Sunday political talk shows as a voice of opposition against Attorney General Eric Holder's Nov. 13 announcement that the federal government would bring several 9/11 suspects to New York City, including professed mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, for a civilian trial.
Giuliani favors a military tribunal, saying it is more fitting for an attack on the level of the 2001 assault, which killed nearly 3,000 people and happened in the final year of his second term.
Even though the former U.S. attorney has supported civilian trials for terrorists in the past, Giuliani repeatedly argued against the Obama administration decision this week, including during a news conference call organized by the Republican National Committee.
"I don't know why you want to give terrorists advantages," he said in one television appearance.
Meanwhile, the Democratic National Committee released a video on YouTube accusing Giuliani of flip-flopping because of his past support for trying terrorists in civilian courts.
During another appearance later in the week, he characterized the administration's move as a "political decision" designed to "satisfy left-wing critics" who have campaigned against military tribunals.
"This is exactly what the left wing wants," he said.