Usually, this column ignores outbreaks of Outrage Excema -- that is, when politicians and interest groups artifically puff up their collars and pretend to be horrifed at some piddling action or statement by another politician or interest group. So we thankfully missed the absurd back-and-forth over MoveOn's inflammatory but politically unremarkable New York Times ad about David Petreaus.

Still, it's rare when the frontrunner engages, and Rudy Giuliani, by in a radio ad released in Iowa today, does just that. Responding to MoveOn's ad on the same subject, a disembodied voice says:

Voiceover: MoveOn.org is the most powerful left wing group in the country. They spent millions electing anti-war liberals. And publicly brag how the Democratic Party is theirs - bought and paid for. Why is MoveOn attacking Rudy Giuliani? Because he’s their worst nightmare. They know Rudy is a Republican who can beat the Democrats. And they know, no matter what they say- Rudy will never, ever back down. Rudy Giuliani: I’m Rudy Giuliani, and I approve this message.



This is smart, albeit tin-can, politics. The more successfully Giuliani defines himself as the anti-liberal, the less Republicans will want to question his... liberal qualities. The more Republicans identify Giuliani as the only Republican who can beat Hillary Clinton and the Democrats, the less they'll ask about gun control in New York.

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