Expect huge crowds and attention tonight as Rudolph Giuliani’s presidential exploratory committee throws its first fund raiser at a hotel near Times Square. He’s dubbed “America’s Mayor,” with a celebrity cache that has earned him a hosting gig on “Saturday Night Live,” and has poll numbers that exceed even John McCain’s. Nevertheless, there are doubts that Giuliani can win GOP primaries with left-leaning positions on gay marriage, abortion and gun control.
But his blend of fiscal conservatism, strong national security and social liberalism actually may help him draw support among Hollywood Republicans and independents, even a few Democrats, particularly those turned off by the entree of the religious right. It’s hard to fathom that staunch liberals like Norman Lear or Rob Reiner would crossover, but Giuliani could prove an attractive crossover to centrists, security-minded independents and also New York transplants.
In recent private gatherings, his supporters have been reaching out to industry sources as they prepare for a wave of fund raisers, and Giuliani has made the rounds himself in Southern California. Among those who have contributed to his leadership PAC are Paramount Chairman Brad Grey and Brillstein-Grey’s Jonathan Liebman, as well as Carl Icahn, Kelsey Grammer, former Viacom exec Michael Dolan and James L. and James M. Nederlander.