Stop Two: Hey, Paisan!

The maverick, Reagan-era, red-bereted citizen crime fighters were out in full force at Rudy's appearance just now in Port Saint Lucie. It only added to the event's odd Big-Apple atmosphere. There was, of course, the pizza--Paisano's Gourmet, to be exact. (Giuliani didn't bother to taste any). There were also cops, showing off enough sirens and flashing lightbars to make Hizzoner feel right at home. And then there was the couple I spoke to afterwards: she with big, black hair and tight pants, he with a big black mustache--and tight pants. I asked if Rudy had said anything that special. "No," she said. "But that's only because we already know everything about him. We're big fans." Are you from Florida? I asked. (They didn't look particularly Floridian.) "New York," she said. But of course. "I lived there before Rudy, with all the crime and corruption, and I saw how he turned it around. He'll do the same thing for America." She waved her cigarette regally.

The only un-New York note: Giuliani tsk-tsking his rivals for being too combative. “Well, I think my opponents should not be attacking each other,” he said, referring to Romney and McCain's ongoing spat over Iraq. Fuggedaboutit.

It's ironic. Now that Giuliani's tied with John McCain in New York--he used to lead by 33 points--the Empire State itself may not be guaranteed "Giuliani Country." But down here in the Sunshine State, the former mayor is still counting on his paisans to make him king of the hill. Or top of the heap.

That said, Rudy might've done well to take it a bit slower, Southern-style. Less than a half-hour after he arrived, he was back on his bus. One Guardian Angel told me that he "wish[ed] he'd hung around a little longer."

Nothing like a New York minute to keep 'em wanting more.