Well, it’s finally over. The dream of Rudy and Hillary duking it out to be the next president died last night with Giuliani’s third-place finish in the Florida primary. As the Daily News notes on its front page, “The Fat Lady’s Singin’,” and it’s a sad, sad song.
You can almost picture the looks of resignation in the respective newsroom as the story broke. The papers have been gearing up for this defeat over the past week, but now it’s here. There’s no way to write about a comeback kid (unless that “kid” is the quite geriatric John McCain) and how America’s Mayor will be America’s Leader. Now’s the time for damage control.
The News backpedals by covering Giuliani’s “tragic collapse” in the Florida race. David Saltonstall’s analysis of the campaign recaps the issues, complete with mentions of News exclusives, that plagued the former mayor in the past few months: his relationship with troubled top cop Bernard Kerik, the taxpayer-mistress scandal, the constant trumpeting of 9/11 and his misguided choice to ignore any state that wasn’t Florida. Maybe Rudy should have heeded the wisdom of Homer Simpson: “Florida? That’s America’s wang.” Saltonstall peppers the article with Floridacentric similes about how McCain and Mitt Romney were “passing Giuliani faster than the cars on NASCAR’s famed Daytona track.” The failure of Giuliani is emphasized further in the News’ “Seven Blunders of Rudy’s World,” which include no defining vision and his poor strategy.
Humiliation is the theme through out the Post’s coverage of Giuliani’s defeat. The word appears on the lead on the front page, declaring “RUDY’S RUIN” and in Carl Campanile’s piece on the election results. The Post had a similar idea as the News, using a numbered list to outline the reasons for the results. The difference, however, is that the Post emphasized why McCain won as opposed to why Rudy lost. Both tabs include a photo of Giuliani blowing a kiss to the crowd during his concession speech. The action shot looks more like he’s flicking his hand under his chin, an “eff you” to his detractors.
The Post also is emphasizing Rudy’s friendship with John McCain. Maggie Haberman argues that Giuliani’s refusal to air “contrast ads” (that’s what they’re calling negative ads these days?) about McCain in Florida hurt the former mayor’s campaign. Haberman also refers to the “political perfect storm” of scandal that contributed to Rudy’s plummet in the polls. What is played up in the Post is how “classy” Rudy Giuliani is for supporting McCain despite this humiliating defeat. They’re good friends, remember?
The Florida Democratic primary doesn’t receive much play in either paper because, as the Post notes, it’s an empty victory. Since the DNC is punishing the state for moving the election date up, none of the delegates are to be seated at the convention. Now that Hillary Clinton has won in Florida, she is vowing to get the state’s delegates seated. The Post took this opportunity to bash Hill, saying that despite the meaninglessness of the results, her victory speech in Broward county was somewhat over-the-top, “a rally worthy of a historic victory.”
The Clinton story getting more play in the Post today is of the “photo that has women furious,”, a picture of Ted Kennedy and Barack Obama whispering before the State of the Union Address. Clinton is just a few feet away, chatting with someone else. The Post spins this like something out of Gossip Girl: “OMG! Did U see Hillary dissed by Barack and Ted?” The article continues to emphasize the discord in the Democratic party between the two front-runners.”
In other news, there is some sport called “baseball” that has shoved the Giants and their Super Bowl antics off the front page of the Daily News. How are we supposed to know that there’s only “4 Days To Go!” until the Super Bowl? Oh, we see. Page 18 of the News reminds us. The Post kept a mention of Big Blue on the front and covered Johan Santana’s trade to the Mets.
The big Super Bowl news today is that Mayor Bloomberg and Boston mayor Tom Menino have hammered out their wager on the game. Both papers cover this If New York wins, Bloomberg will get 100 cups of Legal Sea Food’s New England Clam Chowder, 42 pounds of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, 12 Boston cream pies and 12 dozen Parker House rolls along with 100 hot dogs, 20 pizza, five cases of ice cream and yogurt bars and 100 servings of organic yogurt. If the Patriots go 19-0, Menino receives 42 Carnegie Deli pastrami and corned beef sandwiches, a case of beef and chicken patties from Golden Krust Bakery, 20 pounds of “Super Steak” from Peter Luger and six bottles of steak sauce, along with rugelach from Junior’s, Goodfella’s pizza and “Big Blue Cheese Eli Mann-Eater Burgers” from Gallagher’s Steak House. Our question is: doesn’t the city have enough ways to access Dunkin’ Donuts coffee already?
Finally, one local story gets two completely different treatments today. The Post’s coverage of the suicide of a Brooklyn pharmacist who had a bit part in the baseball and NYPD steroid scandals plays it straight, noting that the investigation will not be derailed by John Rossi’s death. The article is on page 27. The News placed the story on page 3 and reports on a potential mob connection to the incident. Apparently the building that houses Lowen’s Pharmacy is owned by Julius Nasso, a one-time movie producer who spent a year in prison on conspiracy charges in relation to an attempted $3 million shakedown of actor Steven Seagal in 2001. The News story notes that the death of Rossi may cause other witnesses to clam up. Looks like you got scooped, Post! And while we’re at it, the Voice had the story way back in December in Sean Gardiner’s “Cops on Steroids” cover story.
$ Watch: Only one $ in the Po$t today, making this week’s tally stand at seven. What a $hame we haven’t found more.