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Hizzoner to Critics: Analyze This

SAN FRANCISCO -- Rudy Giuliani thinks it's all "psychobabble."

One of his predecessors wrote a book about him titled "Nasty Man." A newspaper once dubbed him "a human hand grenade." The former head of the New York City Council described his favorite leadership technique as the "sledgehammer approach."

But in an interview Monday, the former New York mayor dismissed such concerns about his temperament and aggressive governing style as so much armchair psychology that should be ignored in favor of an evaluation of his record of accomplishments. What matters, Giuliani said, is how he would manage the country's economy or respond to a terrorist attack "rather than this touchy-feely, let me try to figure out how you do psychobabble on somebody."

Giuliani also brushed aside efforts by former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney to portray himself as the ultimate family man by releasing a video of a family vacation filled with scenes of giggling grandchildren.

"He has a right to emphasize the things he wants to emphasize," Giuliani told The Post after a speech on energy policy in San Francisco. "I never emphasize those things."

And for good reason. Giuliani said voters are well aware of his various personal crises--his divorces, his strained relationship with his son. "Some fair, some unfair, some true, some untrue," he said of the stories. But he said he hopes those will not be the measurements by which people judge him when they choose a GOP nominee next year.

"All of it gets tested against having been in public office for that entire time and somehow, it didn't affect my performance," he said. "At moments of great personal crises, some people perform really well, some
people perform horrible. That's kinda what you gotta know."

In the interview, Giuliani acknowledged a reputation as an aggressive, combative mayor whose style often angered people.

"People who agree with you politically, your style is always wonderful. People who disagree with you politically, your style is always terrible," he said. "That's all subjective."

Subjective, perhaps.

But as he campaigns for the presidency this year, opinions about Giuliani are shaped by more than a decade of infamous clashes with police officers, school officials, civil rights activists, city council members and advocates for the poor, among others. By 1995, only a year into his first term as mayor, the New York Times called him "the most
combative and occasionally abrasive Mayor in memory."

And he was just beginning.

By the time he left office seven years later, his legacy included months of battle with his schools chancellor, who eventually quit. There were Giuliani's refusals to meet with leaders of the black community. He famously threw former Palestinian Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat out of Lincoln Center. And he
repeatedly battled the city's liberal Democrats over the budget and welfare policy--winning, but with an abrasive label permanently attached.

In the interview, Giuliani professed frustration with such critical labels. "I can take any public figure...and I can find all sorts of things that people have said that's strange about them," he said.

Really? Do dish, Mr. Mayor.

"I don't do that," he added quickly. "The bottom line is it comes down to results. Somebody else can analyze all that."

-- Michael D. Shear

By Post Editor  |  July 24, 2007; 1:31 PM ET
Categories:  A_Blog , Candidates , Interview , Rudy Giuliani  
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