COMMENTS: Republican Round-up

All three networks filed reports on the Republican race for the Presidential nomination. ABC had Jake Tapper (no link) file a Fact Check on three issues. He called a Mitt Romney direct mail message in New Hampshire "false" when it asserted that a trio of his main rivals--John McCain, Fred Thompson, Rudolph Giuliani--supports amnesty for illegal immigrants. Tapper contradicted Giuliani's characterization of the violent crime rate in Massachusetts under Governor Romney--it did not deteriorate; it improved. And he corrected Mike Huckabee on same-sex marriage: both he and Giuliani have "consistently opposed" legalization.

NBC had Lisa Myers look at Giuliani's personal wealth since he left New York's City Hall with a net worth of only $7,000 at the end of 2001. "Now financial documents indicate Giuliani could be worth as much as $70m." His business empire includes motivational speaking, corporate consulting, now-sold investment banking, a law firm and the provision of security services. Most of Giuliani's client list is secret, Myers admitted, but she was aware that his team helped the painkiller OxyContin cope with an investigation into hundreds of overdose deaths. His firm represents Citgo, the state-owned oil firm of Venezuela, controled by the regime of "strongman" President Hugo Chavez.

Huckabee, the ordained Baptist minister and Iowa frontrunner, whose campaign consisted of "a skeleton staff, an empty bank account and an asterisk in the polls" as recently as August, earned a profile from CBS' Jeff Greenfield. Greenfield attributed his success to his "plainspoken, often humorous, eloquence" and his appeal to the Christian conservative base, as exemplified by a speech that "blew the roof off" a Family Research Council gathering: "Our party may be important but our principles are even more important than anybody's political party." Greenfield predicted that Huckabee will face challenges on his record of tax hikes, his lack of a hard line on immigration, his lack of foreign policy credentials--and Wayne Dumond, that paroled rapist that ABC's Brian Ross investigated on Wednesday.


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