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Romney steals some Giuliani thunder

January 29, 2008 | 10:55 pm

It probably wasn't needed, but if Rudy Giuliani needed any extra motivation to enlist in John McCain's presidential campaign -- and thus probably hinder Mitt Romney's bid for the Republican nomination -- he got it Tuesday night.

Faced with his distant third-place finish in the Florida primary that he spent the last two months -- to the exclusion of virtually any other campaigning -- trying to win, Giuliani appeared before his supporters in the state to deliver what obviously was going to be his swan song. All the cable news networks were broadcasting it. And then Romney stepped on his message.

Giuliani was about two-thirds or so through his remarks, reaching the part where he would sum up what he had tried to accomplish in his White House quest, when Romney, the night's second-place finisher to McCain, began giving his concession speech to his backers. The cable stations cut to him -- Giuliani, after all, had collapsed as a viable candidate, while Romney clearly was still in the fight.

To some degree, Giuliani had only himself to blame. His wrap-up speech, much like his campaign over the last few weeks, had a wandering, undefined quality to it. Still, having the spotlight yanked from him before he was finished gave him one more cause for ill will toward Romney, the rival he sparred most frequently with back in those bygone days when he seemed a top contender in the GOP race.

-- Don Frederick