Giuliani puts potential 2016 GOPers in a tough spot

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By Aliyah Frumin,

from MSNBC,

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani created a firestorm this week when he argued that President Obama doesn’t love his country and then later doubled down, insisting his remarks weren’t racist because the commander-in-chief was “brought up by a white mother.” And, now, those remarks are putting potential 2016 Republican candidates in an awfully tough spot.

White House hopefuls have a fine line to walk – they need to hammer the country’s Democratic president to appeal to a conservative base that is sick and tired of Obama, but going too far risks alienating mainstream voters who find the over-the-top rhetoric off-putting, if not downright vile.

There’s a rule for all 2016 candidates, said Republican strategist and former John McCain campaign adviser, Ford O’Connell: “Never take aim at the president personally, only his or her policies.” O’Connell says that potential candidates need to distance themselves from personal rhetoric as much as possible. “This type of thing fires up Democrats and continues to perpetuate the myth that Republicans are mean and nasty.”

So far, however, potential Republicans aren’t taking a page out of McCain’s playbook. They’re either staying quite, expressing indifference or even agreeing with Giuliani.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker told CNBC, “The mayor can speak for himself. I’m not going to comment on whether—what the president thinks or not. He can speak for himself as well. I’ll tell you, I love America.” Walker was with Giuliani at a private dinner with several prominent GOP financiers when the ex-mayor made the remarks.

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