The formal newspaper reports aren’t yet available on the web, but two veteran AJC reporters blogged on the visit here, here, here, and here. There’s video from local TV here (featuring a distinguished local political analyst) and stills on the Oglethorpe website.
As the AJC reporters note, nothing was said about abortion. But my takeaway from the event wouldn’t be that people don’t care; lots of questions, including mine, remained unasked. But, as I’ve said before, I’m not a single-issue voter and I recognize that our political choices are never optimal. Giuliani is a strong campaigner, comfortable thinking on his feet, and with a visceral appeal to people that goes back to 9/11. That last asset shouldn’t be underestimated in a general election campaign. If we need to recover the spirit and passion of those days (and there’s a case to be made that we should), he’s our man, because that’s his strong suit.
Later in the day, I had a talk with my favorite crusty Oglethorpe staffer, a New Yorker who worked for John Brademas at NYU before relocating to Atlanta. Her story goes something like this: she gave up a scholarship at Columbia in the early 60s because Morningside Heights was unliveable. When she lived in NYC before and during the Giuliani years, the city was transformed. And she has absolutely compelling and vivid memories of his performance on 9/11. And although she concedes that life in Atlanta the past five years has made her a little less liberal (she claims that her car radio only gets the local Salem affiliate), she’s not exactly the typical Republican voter, in Georgia or elsewhere. But I’d bet she’d vote for Giuliani in a heartbeat, as would a lot of folks in New York, as well as ex-New Yorkers across the country.
This tempts me sorely, but I’ve got to think through RG’s position on abortion first (which will require another post).