HAMPTON, N.H. Mayor Giuliani is attacking his closest rival for the Republican presidential nomination, Mitt Romney, for failing as governor of Massachusetts to lower taxes, fight illegal immigration, and stand by politically tarnished allies and friends. Mr. Giuliani embarked on two-day bus tour across the Granite State over the weekend as a political controversy surrounding Mr. Romney rippled across New England.
Prosecutors in Washington State have charged Daniel Tavares Jr. who was freed in July by a Massachusetts Superior Court judge appointed by Mr. Romney, Kathe Tuttman in connection with the murder of Brian and Beverly Mauck. The story has played out on the front page of a local tabloid, the Boston Herald, whose reach extends into the voter-rich districts of southern New Hampshire, where Mr. Giuliani campaigned yesterday.
On Saturday, Mr. Giuliani told the Associated Press that Mr. Romney would "have to explain his appointment." Yesterday, Mr. Romney, also in New Hampshire, lambasted Mr. Giuliani, likening his position on abortion to that of Senator Clinton.
The former governor also faulted his rival's relationship with Bernard Kerik, who served as New York City police commissioner until Mr. Giuliani's term as mayor ended in 2001 and has been indicted in federal court on corruption charges. "He put somebody in place as Commissioner who had a very questionable past and then recommended to President of the United States this person be made the Secretary of Homeland Security," Mr. Romney said, according to a transcript provided by his campaign.
While Mr. Giuliani sought to remain above the fray yesterday, marching with a smile down Main Street for Salem's Christmas parade, two of his key surrogates went to work on Mr. Romney, who has called on Judge Tuttman to resign.
One of Mr. Romney's predecessors, Paul Cellucci, challenged Mr. Romney's handling of the matter. "It's Mitt Romney who has to defend an appointment, and apparently he doesn't like doing it," said Mr. Cellucci, who served as Massachusetts governor from 1997 to 2001 and referred to Mr. Romney's comments as a "Mitt Fit."
Mr. Giuliani's campaign manager, Michael Duhaime, likened Mr. Romney's attempt to distance himself from Judge Tuttman to his quick jettisoning of Senator Craig of Idaho from his campaign when the senator's arrest in a Minnesota airport restroom was disclosed. "This is part of a larger pattern," Mr. Duhaime said. "Whether it was Senator Craig or this particular judge, he's always throwing that person under the bus."
Greeting patrons at Suzie's Diner in Hudson, Mr. Giuliani said of Mr. Romney: "He's going to have a hard time with his record as governor."
Later, speaking outside at a house party in Windham, Mr. Giuliani boasted of his record as a tax cutter, saying he, unlike his opponents, had achieved at least 15, if not 23, tax cuts, depending on who is counting.
With Mr. Giuliani's campaign bus blaring Christmas music as it rolled through Salem's parade, some evidence appeared to indicate that the issue of Judge Tuttman's release of Tavares was beginning to resonate. "I'm not in favor of that at all," a spectator clad in a Veterans of Foreign Wars jacket, David Thompson, said. "These judges are too damn liberal."
Mr. Thompson, who subsequently shook Mr. Giuliani's hand, said he would not make a decision on voting until the week before the January 8 primary.
Appearing later in the day at a town meeting in Hampton, Mr. Giuliani took the opportunity to criticize President Clinton for his handling of defense and intelligence matters, saying the 42nd president did not do enough to confront "Islamic terrorism" and that he cut both budgets too much.
"We will undo the damage that Bill Clinton did," Mr. Giuliani said to applause. "He repeated the mistake at the end of the 20th century that America made twice in the 20th century," Mr. Giuliani added, referring to the defense cuts after World Wars I and II.
Mr. Giuliani's campaign declined to comment on a story published in Newsweek this week depicting his upbringing and early years as an assistant United States attorney.