Biden Debates 2
What we can learn from Biden's past debate performances
02:37 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

It’s personal between Rudy Giuliani and Joe Biden. Way back when the presidency was just a twinkle in Trump’s eye, the pair were already fighting for it.

Giuliani was not always a cable TV carnival barker. As mayor of New York, he was a steadying presence at Ground Zero in the terrible hours after 9/11 – drawing comparisons to Winston Churchill while President George W. Bush was nowhere to be seen. Dubbed “America’s mayor,” he was tough on crime, hawkish on foreign policy and socially liberal on paper – and pundits tipped him as a formidable 2008 Republican presidential candidate.

But Giuliani’s campaign fizzled – not least because his onstage repertoire heavily relied on old yarns about the world’s worst terror attack. Biden, then fighting for the Democratic nomination, mercilessly mocked him with the legendary debate zinger: “There’s only three things he mentions in a sentence – a noun, a verb and 9/11.”

Rudy Giuliani speaks to members of the media at the South Lawn of the White House in 2018.

Sign up here for more analysis of US politics for global readers

Giuliani, now Trump’s top flamethrower, is back in Biden’s sights after accusing the Biden family of “selling Joe’s office to a Ukranian crook.” At the news that Republicans had invited Giuliani to speak to the Senate Judiciary Committee about Ukraine, a Biden campaign spokesperson responded, “All that comes out of Rudy Giuliani’s mouth is just a noun, a verb, and disproven lie about Joe Biden.”

It’s the equivalent of an aging easy rock band strumming a golden oldie hit, but the jab did rekindle a simmering feud. And it raises the question of Giuliani’s motives. Just as Trump is still fuming at Obama’s 2011 mockery, could his fellow trash-talking New Yorker still hold a grudge of his own, born of a long-ago humiliation?

This analysis was originally published in the October 9 edition of email newsletter Meanwhile in America. Sign up here to receive it every morning of the week.