Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Did Crist Aide Steal Rudy's PlayBook










By
MAGGIE HABERMAN


- Suspicion ran high yesterday that Rudy
Giuliani's lost White House campaign playbook was swiped by aides to
Florida's new governor - while the ex-mayor was helping him win
election, sources told The Post.


Giuliani's aides were tightlipped about how it disappeared, but said
it happened during a private plane ride on the campaign trail for
2006 candidates. They included Florida Gov. Charles Crist.


"During one leg of his campaign travel, all luggage was removed
from a private plane and later put back on," said Giuliani's
spokeswoman, Sunny Mindel.


"However, one staffer's bag was not returned. After repeated
requests over the course of a few days, the bag was finally
returned with the document inside.


"Because our staffer had custody of this document at all times
except for this one occasion, it is clear that the document
was removed from the luggage and photocopied," she added,
stopping short of saying it was stolen.


"Voters are sick and tired of dirty tricks. They are
interested in substantive issues and want leaders like Rudy
who are as well," Mindel said.


But operatives outside Giuliani's camp said the book was
taken during a campaign swing for Crist - a Republican,
like Giuliani - whose inauguration to replace Jeb Bush as
Florida's governor took place yesterday.


Crist's aides didn't return calls for comment.


Both Giuliani and Sen. John McCain campaigned for
Crist during the fall.


Giuliani aides repeatedly refused to detail the
specific plans of the internal document, which is
believed to belong to Giuliani's national
fund-raiser, Anne Dickerson, and is described as a
cash-raising plan.


The book, made public in a report yesterday, also
contained notes about Giuliani's potential
personal liabilities, including ex-wife Donna
Hanover and scandal-scarred former Police
Commissioner Bernard Kerik.


Losing control of internal documents was a
public embarrassment as he embarks on a
potential presidential run.


Mindel described it as an outdated book that
wasn't part of central planning, saying, "It's
about as relevant today as a grocery list in
early October . . . in pencil."


But the book was potentially damaging for
Giuliani among political insiders and
uncommitted donors, whom McCain has been
moving to lock up on his side.


McCain strategist John Weaver said his
team knew nothing about how the book went
public and mocked Giuliani over losing
track of it.


Weaver, in a reference to the former
mayor's private-sector business, told
the Politicker blog: "I thought it was a
security company."


The information in the book reportedly
puts Giuliani's fund-raising goals at
$100 million for 2007, a number
political experts called low.


maggie.haberman@nypost.com






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