Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani uttered nary a peep about presidential ambitions since his last attempt in 2008, but here he is, not only visiting New Hampshire on Thursday, but taking a swipe at Mitt Romney in the process, on the same day Romney announced his candidacy about 200 miles away.
From the Associated Press:
Asked about how big a problem Romney faces regarding the Massachusetts health care law, Giuliani was critical.
"The reality is that Obamacare and Romneycare are almost exactly the same," Giuliani said. "It's not very helpful trying to distinguish them. I would think the best way to handle it is to say, it was a terrible mistake and if I could do it over again, I wouldn't do it."
Two takeaways from this ...
1) The Romney-bashing has begun. Now that he's a candidate, the former Massachusetts governor will face attacks from the right on a number of his past stances, most of which he confronted in 2008. But now that conservatives have recoiled so viciously from President Obama's health care mandate, Romney's support for a mandate in Massachusetts offers a new line of attack. We'll be hearing this for another year.
And 2) Giuliani hadn't been considered a presidential contender -- at all -- until recently. And he still probably isn't considered one. A CNN poll this week showed him topping the 2012 field, and that seems to have added to Giuliani speculation, despite the fact that early polls might not reflect much beyond name recognition. But by going to New Hampshire, Giuliani has worked his way into the discussion. In criticizing Romney, he sounded like he's at least keeping open the option of running, whether or not he's seriously considering it.