New York CityÂ's Mayor Rudolph Giuliani has never been one to shy away from controversy. So it should be no surprise that he did a little campaigning in the home state of his most likely opponent in next yearÂ's Senate race -- Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Giuliani went for the first lady where she lives - at least, where she used to live, the Arkansas governor's mansion, CBS News Correspondent Diana Olick reports.
"It's an opportunity to raise money," Giuliani said.
And perhaps to play politics.
"Oh gosh, I would never do that," the mayor said.
Giuliani was in Arkansas at the request of Gov. Mike Huckabee, who told CBS This Morning Co-Anchor Thalia Assuras the mayor's trip Â"was a lot of fun. The mayor was relaxed. He had a great time. We treated him to some good olÂ' Southern hospitality. I think he enjoyed himself.Â"
Neither the first lady nor the mayor has officially entered the race.
Â"Well, he made mention of the fact that he never had been in Arkansas, never lived in Arkansas, never went to school here but was thinking about running for some major office here,Â" said Huckabee. Â"He was mostly here to listen. He was on a listening tour of Arkansas.Â"
But whether you support the mayor or the first lady, Huckabee thinks the race will be worth watching.
Â"I think it will be wonderfully entertaining,Â" he said, Â"and whether one lives in Arkansas, New York or the West Coast, this is one that everyone ought to get a ticket for.Â"
CBS News Political Consultant Bob Beckel, a Democratic strategist, called the mayorÂ's tactics Â"classic Giuliani. There is not anything subtle about this. The guy uses a hydrogen bomb when he does something like this ... I think if I were the Hillary Clinton campaign, I would pay for his ticket and ask him to make a regular visit.Â"
But CBS News Political Consultant Fred Barnes, a conservative commentator, said Â"this shows the lighter side of Rudy Giuliani ... HeÂ's a guy not known for a great sense of humor. I think this is effective. It shows his joker side, and when he teases somebody like Hillary, she really gets upset.Â"
While Giuliani stumped in Arkansas, his aides back in New York got a jab in at Mrs. Clinton, hoisting the Arkansas state flag above City Hall. The mayor had promised to fly the state's flag to express his appreciation for the hospitality he received during his visit.
Giuliani netted $40,000 for his campaign in Arkansas, and raised up to $50,000 later at a reception in Ne Orleans' French Quarter. Events were planned for Wednesday in the Huntsville, Tuscaloosa and Birmingham, Alabama.
He'll raise an estimated $150,000-$200,000 on his swing through the South.
©1999 CBS Worldwide Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report