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During MSNBC's January 19 coverage of the Nevada caucuses and the South Carolina Republican primary, while discussing Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani's chances of winning the upcoming Florida primary, NBC Washington bureau chief Tim Russert predicted that Giuliani will get support from "ex-New Yorkers and people who still have memories of September 11th." In assuming that "people who still have memories of September 11th" will support Giuliani, Russert echoed a tendency by many in the media to tout Giuliani's actions as mayor of New York City on September 11, 2001, without mentioning that his performance before, during, and after the terrorist attacks has been questioned and criticized.
From the 6 p.m. ET hour of MSNBC's coverage of the January 19 Nevada caucuses and the South Carolina Republican primary:
CHRIS MATTHEWS (host of MSNBC's Hardball): Who is McCain's base? I mean, if he does begin to look like the leader of this party, what's his base?
RUSSERT: Veterans. Certainly he's proving that in South Carolina throughout this campaign, in terms of getting them out. A hard line on foreign policy. His position in favor of the surge has won him support with that particular community. But you go to Florida in a four-way race, Chris, evangelicals go to Huckabee. Rudy, I guess, ex-New Yorkers and people who still have memories of September 11th. How does it divide up?
I think money will be important. Mitt Romney has his own money, and you can't underestimate that. I read one of the stories today that Rudy Giuliani was calling for people to come make phone calls on his behalf, but bring your own cell phone, which I interpreted to be perhaps a shortage of money. So, you pick it in Florida. Who knows? But what I do know is, if you win Florida, going in to Super Tuesday, you really do have a lot of free media momentum on your side.