As Mayor of New York City, he reduced crime in the city, continued his fight against organized crime, and agressively attempted a program of urban renewal (including his work to turn Times Square into more of a tourist destination).
On September 11, 2001, it was Rudy's actions leading the response to the World Trade Center attack that seemed to cement his position as "America's Mayor" (and Time Magazine's 2001 "Person of the Year).
And now, Rudy Giuliani™(© 2006) has declared his candidacy for President of the United States (although most people already knew it was coming).
Oddly, though, not everybody seems to appreciate this paragon on virtue and leadership. Jonathen Alter explains in Newsweek why Rudy's temperament might make him a risky pick for president. Ezra Klein suggested that Rudy might be a bit autocratic for the job. And over on Blah3, they expand on that point to highlight evidence that the man is thin-skinned, autocratic, and prone to using the power of his office to pummel his opponents. Even the lower-profile blogs are digging up fascinating information on the man, like his role as a George Bush cheerleader ever since 2001.
And during the 2004 election, Jimmy Breslin, whose name is practically synonymous with New York City, had this to say about Rudy.
He was a nobody as a mayor and in one day he became a hero. This sudden career, this door opening to a room of gold, all started for Rudolph Giuliani when his indestructible bunker in World Trade Center building blew up. He had personally selected it, high in the sky, and with tons of diesel fuel to give emergency power.Can America's Mayor become America's President? (Or might he make a better First Lady?)
And Guiliani walks on. He walks from his bunker, up Barclay Street and went on television. Went on and announced his heroism and then came back every hour or so until he became a star, a great figure, a national hero, the mayor who saved New York.
Most of this comes from these dazed Pekingese of the Press. As this was being written on Friday night, the television announcers kept saying that Martha Stewart would go to a country club federal prison. The fools. Try any jail on any day. At five o'clock, you can't go home. Giuliani was a hero with these news people. He did not pick up a piece of steel or help carry one of the injured off.