Tasked with defending John McCain for his leadership on the financial market bailout -- and criticizing Barack Obama on the same topic -- Rudy Giuliani was fed a steady diet of surreal softball questions during a conference call on Wednesday.
Only three people were called upon. All, it seemed, came from conservative outlets. One questioner corrected Giuliani's assertion that Obama had no budgetary experience by noting that he served on a board with William Ayers. Another pondered aloud whether voters would respond better to Sarah Palin's ability to quickly learn on the stump (was he watching the same campaign?) versus Joe Biden's "fluff and stuff."
Here was the second of the three questions from a man named Chuck Pardee*:
"Thank you Mister Mayor. Some of these comedians like Tina Fey and some of these journalists that are out there seem to actually be making a living embellishing the facts. Do you think embellishing the facts is actually what the concerned voter is after? And specifically, Joe Biden seems to embellish and forget facts just to kind of impress people but when you take Sarah Palin she seems to impress others with her quick study without embellishing the facts. In other words do you think people want a straight shooter or do they want the stuff and fluff?"
Here is the third of the three questions from a woman named Sherry*:
"You had mentioned that Barack Obama has no experience when it comes to a budget and I would like to beg to differ. He was involved with Ayers as the chairman of the Annenberg project. And apparently from the research I have done, he was able to help decide where $450 billion went into spending for education projects ... he always spent the money on educational programs that were socialistic in their agenda or their genre. My research shows each one of them failed. Isn't that a huge point to bring up?"
The first question was a bit more challenging, but nevertheless designed to goad Giuliani into a red meat response. Asked Matt Lewis of the conservative site Townhall.com:
"Two quick questions, one is Sen. McCain today described Gwen Ifill as a highly respected professional who will do a thoroughly objective job. I wanted to get your comment on that. Secondly, you said that Sen. McCain got us from four Republicans TO 65 Republicans on the bailout. Wanted to get your take. Are you saying that Sen. McCain was solely responsible for getting us from four to 65? "
*Spelling may be incorrect.