The collapse of Rudy Giuliani's presidential campaign in Florida may have been perceived as a sudden if not spectacular political phenomenon. But the man who preceded Giuliani as mayor of New York says that Giuliani's shortcomings as a candidate were always there. The media were just too scared to write about them.
In a phone conversation with the Huffington Post, former New York City mayor David Dinkins offered a blunt assessment of Giuliani's presidential bid: Rudy's veil had merely been lifted.
"I can only say that I'm not surprised," Dinkins said. "I don't think he should ever have been so high in the polls and I might add that I really blame the local media for that. They knew of his frailties and flaws and skeletons in his closet. But they didn't write about it or the stories just didn't have legs. And the reason is Rudy is very vindictive and [the press] was afraid of being denied access. So the general public is just catching up to stuff local people have always known."
Dinkin's remarks were a rare reflection on the man he battled twice - wining in 1989 and losing in 1993 - in mayoral elections. The Harlem Democrat has traditionally shied away from discussing his political successor, concerned about the impression his comments would leave.
"I have avoided talking to the press about Rudy because I felt that before his fall from grace - as it were - that anything I said would be taken as sour grapes," said Dinkins, "that I would be piling on, which is how I feel now that he has fallen."
Not all former New York City mayors feel such restrictions. Within hours of Giuliani's third place finish in Florida, Ed Koch, who once supported Giuliani and then soured (even writing the book "Giuliani: Nasty Man") offered a concise take on how he felt.
"The beast," he said, "is dead."