Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Melbourne, Fla., says hello to 'Ruuuuudy' Giuliani

Rudy Giuliani, a hopeful presidential candidate, shakes the hand of a man who soooo butted in front of me. Not really. I couldn't let an old Florida retiree push me around.

Politicians are rarely on time.

As a reporter, I have been late to cover government meetings. But that was never a problem because the people holding the things hadn't arrived by the time I did.

So it wasn't a surprise that presidential too-hopeful Rudy Giuliani was more than an hour late to a public rally today at Melbourne International Airport.

When I arrived, a local campaign worker asked me for my e-mail address. I totally rejected him. Then the guy asked me to take his photo with his camera. "You look like you're good at this," he said, pointing at my Nikon D40.

This time, I obliged.

That got me onto his good side. He then said Rudy had just arrived and that security personnel were plotting his walking route around the airport and driving route throughout Brevard County. But I was skeptical. Isn't that stuff planned well ahead of time?

Seeking real answers, I talked to a Rudy fan who wasn't supposed to know anything. You see, she wasn't a politician, so she was a great source for reliable information. The woman said that she had heard his plane was delayed in Jacksonville. That sounded more accurate.

As everyone waited, above, people talked about the proper manner in which to address Giuliani.

"Can we call him Rudy?" one woman asked.

"Of course," another answered. "I think he would get mad if we called him Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer."

(I remember that when I was working at Newsday, which covers the former New York City mayor closely, Rudolph declared that his preferred name is indeed Rudy. Copy editors such as myself had to ensure "Rudolph" didn't slip into print.)

When Rudy finally arrived, the crowd was a bit tuckered out from waiting. Many of the fans were elderly. Some of them were veterans, such as the one above being interviewed by a FLORIDA TODAY photojournalist.

"You think this is hot?" one older man said. "No. Vietnam is hot. We would take off our helmets, and we could pour out the sweat."

Yeah. That sounds hot all right.

The fans shook off the sweat and mostly just yelled, "Ruuuuudy! Ruuuuudy! Ruuuuudy!" One of the youngest fans at the rally joined in, above.

As usual, there were plenty of dissenters on the scene - particularly, supporters of rogue GOP candidate Ron Paul, above.

It seems there are many Paul people here in Florida. Many of them, such as the one above, held signs decrying a "media bias," most likely a reference to Paul's poor play in the press. Hmm. "Media bias makes me do this"? Yeah, that's usually my excuse, too.

Some of the anti-Giuliani folks were angrily yelling questions toward Rudy as the candidate made his way along the edge of the crowd. It seemed as though most of the questions had something to do with war, crime or war crimes. They weren't about the tax cuts that Rudy is very fond of.

As he strolled the tarmac, Rudy signed campaign signs, above.

He shook hands, above.

He posed for photos, above.

Oh man. Taking photos of this guy was difficult. The bright Florida sunshine hitting his follicle-challenged head was so bad. The above photo makes him look like a presidential candidate straight out of the X-Files.

After a hot 15 minutes, Rudy went back toward his chartered jet and waved goodbye, above. Wait, where is he going? Maybe he's got a sweet limo back there?

Anyway, after this photo and at this writing, he is supposed to be off to his next stop in Brevard - Harris Corp., a large employer here in Melbourne where he is to participate in a "town hall" meeting with workers.

Then he should stop by FLORIDA TODAY. We'll see if he's on time.


Anonymous said...

I found an error!

Can you find it, too? Should I give you a hint, Mr. Perfect?


Andrew Knapp said...

Yes, I "found" it.

Andrew Knapp said...

I wrote that on deadline. It was rough.

Anonymous said...

since when do you make excuses?

Andrew Knapp said...

Not an excuse. Just saying it was rough.