Bush Aides Like What They See In Rudy Giuliani

While the White House is taking a hands-off approach to the 2008 GOP presidential primaries so far, former New York Mayor
Rudy Giuliani is quietly seeing an administration cheerleading section grow.

One insider said that it is built on the fact that Giuliani continues to beat Sen.
John McCain in the polls and also because he is offering to stick with several Bush programs, including an aggressive stance against terrorists, and promises to name conservative judges to the court. One Bush official today noted Giuliani's pledge to nominate conservative judges and applauded the New Yorker for making that claim in liberal California.

"He didn't back away just because he was in California. In fact, he went there to make that statement. That's a very important signal," said the insider. Interestingly, even White House conservatives are showing support for Giuliani.

"He's the front-runner, and he's doing everything so far very good," said another official. "He isn't bending to what people want to hear. He kind of sounds like Bush did in 2000."

Not everyone is happy with his California appearance, however. Gun advocates today were circulating Giuliani's weekend suggestion that he would keep with his controversial gun control program in New York. He said, however, that it would not affect hunting and said he understood that the Second Amendment allows the right to bear arms.

But a gun advocate told U.S. News, "If Rudy really 'understands the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms,' then he understands that it has absolutely nothing to do with hunting. It appears that Rudy Giuliani is campaigning as the lone antigun 2008 presidential candidate; even none of the Democrats are talking about gun control. "

By Paul Bedard