Is Rudy Mitt's Best Friend In Florida?

From CBS News' Scott Conroy:

ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. -- Mitt Romney delivered one of his harshest attacks against John McCain in weeks today but he had nothing but kind words for Rudy Giuliani.

"I think Mayor Giuliani certainly has the capacity to call on the American people to come to a greater cause," Romney said to reporters. "He certainly demonstrated that in New York City."

The kind words for the former New York mayor came after Romney deflected an opportunity to grill McCain on a question of his choice during last night's debate and instead lobbed a softball at Giuliani on international trade.

As recent polls show Romney jockeying with McCain for the lead in Florida, with Giuliani falling behind, the former Massachusetts governor knows it's in his interest to keep the mayor viable. McCain and Giuliani compete for more independent-minded GOP voters, while the majority of Romney's support comes from more conservative Republicans.

"I think it's a race that's beginning to narrow to Sen. McCain and myself, based on the polling that you're all seeing," Romney said. "But you know, things can change pretty quickly … particularly with regards to Mayor Giuliani, I think he has very real prospect of seeing a spike in the poll, in the polls, rather."

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    Scott Conroy is a National Political Reporter for RealClearPolitics and a contributor for CBS News.