Giuliani takes McCain out to the ballgame

July 20, 2008 6:17:54 PM PDT
With Democrat Barack Obama on the other side of the planet, Republican presidential candidate John McCain stayed closer to home Sunday, visiting Yankee Stadium with former Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

The two high-profile Republicans are longtime friends, despite having campaigned against each other in the GOP primaries in which McCain ultimately prevailed. When Giuliani bowed out of the race, he immediately endorsed McCain.

Could Giuliani, who moonlights as the No. 1 Yankee fan, become the No. 2 on the Republican ticket?

"You hear all kinds of stuff, but I'm not thinking about anything but helping to get him elected," Giuliani said. "Beyond the fact that he's the candidate of my party, he's a very good friend."

Before the game, McCain, Giuliani and Giuliani's wife, Judith, went onto the field, chatting with Yankees manager Joe Girardi and Oakland A's manager Bob Geren.

When Geren asked McCain what it's like to run for president, McCain answered, "It's like being in AA (minor league baseball) and all of a sudden you're playing in Yankee Stadium."

The politicians then walked down the third base line, waving to the fans who showed up early. At first, few seemed to recognize McCain, instead hollering out "Rudy" in recognition of the former mayor. McCain visited Monument Park, where plaques honor the Yankee greats, including Babe Ruth.

Plenty of people are making pilgrimages this year to the House that Ruth Built, which is in its final season. In 2009, the Yankees will open a new ballpark next to their storied home in the South Bronx.

The ex-mayor, whose name is also bandied about as a possible candidate for New York governor, said Obama's trip abroad highlights the gap in experience between the two candidates. Obama is traveling to Afghanistan, the Middle East and Europe.

"I think the fact that Barack Obama is kind of making his first tour, in essence, of the world, gives you an indication that John McCain is the man with the experience. John doesn't have to go for the first or second time to these places. He's been going for 20, 30 years. He knows the world," Giuliani said.

While Democratic candidate Barack Obama is overseas, McCain spent a low-key weekend in the Big Apple. On Friday night he appeared on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien," then spent Saturday in the Hamptons raising campaign money, including at the home of Ron Perelman, a billionaire whose controls Revlon Inc.

Sunday morning he had a private meeting with New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein, whom McCain has publicly praised for his education reforms. Klein declined to comment as he entered McCain's hotel for the meeting.