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Breaking News: Rudy Giuliani hints at dropping out

January 28, 2008 | 12:17 pm

Giuliani_jvd3hwnc Rudy Giuliani appears to be pondering an end to his long pursuit of the Republican presidential nomination.

In a meeting in the back of his chartered plane en route to St. Petersburg, Fla., a short while ago, the onetime, longtime GOP front-runner told a small group of reporters, including The Times' Louise Roug: "The winner of Florida will win the nomination."

He then went on to predict he would win. And his spokeswoman, Maria Comella, said later he was speaking with confidence.

But that's an unusually categorical statement suggesting that only a total first-place upset by Giuliani, who trails both Mitt Romney and John McCain in all major polls for Florida's Republican primary tomorrow, will keep him in the competition, despite previous repeated vows to continue.

Giuliani's campaign, which led in national polls when it began and stayed there for many months, is showing signs of serious financial fatigue. This month his top staffers are foregoing their paychecks so the maximum amount of money can be invested to salvage his political fortunes in the Sunshine State, which was where Giuliani's late-state strategy was to kick into high gear.

So far, he's yet to finish first anywhere and ended up behind Rep. Ron Paul in Iowa and Nevada.

In his meeting with reporters today, Giuliani added that, no matter what happens Tuesday, he  definitely would  participate in the Republican debate co-sponsored by The Times on Wednesday at the Reagan Library.

--Andrew Malcolm

Photo credit: Don Emmert AFP/Getty Images

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