THE VILLAGES, FLA. -- As soon as he said the words, the clouds opened, thunder clanged, and a downpour began to thrash the auditorium rooftop.
Rudy Giuliani, after weeks of holding his fire against his Republican opponents, broke a long-held vow and went on the attack against John McCain and Mitt Romney for their records on taxes.
"I'm running against good men, some very fine, all of whom have very good motivation. But there's a big difference," said Giuliani.
"I supported the Bush tax cuts. John McCain voted with the Democrats against the Bush tax cuts -- twice. And Mitt Romney did not, clearly, support the Bush tax cuts."
Tossing away the "11th Commandment" that Giuliani has sworn by -- not to go after fellow Republicans unless defending his own record – Giuliani has struck the first blow as he prepares to face his GOP rivals in Florida's Jan. 29 primary.
Giuliani campaign strategist Brent Seaborn has said repeatedly that Giuliani would make contrast between himself and other candidates when "the circus comes to town," and it seems Giuliani started a day ahead of schedule as his opponents wrap up the primary in South Carolina and head here tomorrow.
The eve before an intensive two-day bus tour, Giuliani made the accusations, which he called "distinctions" and not attacks, before a crowded auditorium of nearly 400 supporters after he was introduced by actor Jon Voight.
Waving farewell to the crowd to do several live cable interviews, Giuliani called out, "Let's show them all that Florida is Rudy Country!"