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G.W.B. (Giuliani Watch Blog): Rightward, Christian Soldier!

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Run run Rudolph, and try to keep up with John McCain's conservative credentials.

The trouble is, that's never an easy or a graceful gallop if you're a former mayor of a heavily Democratic city who once counted the Liberal Party as a key ally and stayed at the home of a same-sex couple when your marriage was on the ropes.

At a fund raiser for former Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed Thursday, Giuliani gingerly acknowledged his support for some gay rights while emphasizing that heterosexual marriage is "inviolate" and should remain so.

He should know. He's had three.

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Giuliani's Southern appearance also brought out his political side -- a lawyerly, needle-threading manner of speaking to the press that's not nearly as well known as his headline-friendly penchant for finger pointing.

Asked if he'd solicit Reed's help in a presidential race, Giuliani was careful if not exactly tactful: "When you run for president, you ask for everybody's help."

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The mayor's former city hall associates were very upset with the Bloomberg administration this week for appealing a workers' compensation claim filed by a Giuliani deputy mayor who contends he has serious respiratory ailments as a result of his work near ground zero on and after Sept. 11, 2001.

Their pointed criticism seemed heartfelt, and Giuliani's mayoral successor quickly dropped the appeal. But, listening to them, it's difficult not to be reminded of Giuliani's no-holds-barred assurances about the air quality at ground zero back then.

"The air quality is safe and acceptable," he told shell-shocked New Yorkers on Sept. 28, 2001, when the stench of contamination was still caustic and thick. "I know there are people concerned and worried about it, but that's just the reality."

At the time, he was resolved to reopen downtown, basing his assurances on similar ones by federal Environmental Protection Agency chief Christie Whitman. Since then, he has remained mum on the topic, as on so many topics, even as the EPA's performance and candor has come under fire and a Manhattan federal judge ruled (in February) that Whitman could be sued by New Yorkers who returned to downtown within a week of the terror attacks.

Maybe Giuliani was just too busy raking in speaking fees to comment on the health claims of people other than his trusted former deputy.

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Speaking of business, Giuliani may look to remain silent on still another hot-button issue: $3-a-gallon price shock at America's gas pumps.

As Republicans in the House, feeling heat in an election year, search for ways to revoke billions of dollars worth of government incentives to oil and gas producers, Giuliani will presumably have to balance the interests of his Big Oil law clients with his immediate political calculations.

Bracewell & Giuliani -- until recently the venerable Houston law firm Bracewell & Patterson -- has a formidable roster of oil, refinery, natural gas and power-producer clients, according to Newsday.

Ties to the oil industry didn't hurt George W. Bush's chances, of course, but when he ran, gas was only $1.50 or so a gallon.