With the resurgent campaign of John McCain (still more hype than reality, but there is indeed some incremental movement) laying the wood to Mitt Romney as an unprincipled liberal flip-flopper, the chief beneficiary is none other than Rudy Giuliani.
There appears to be a mindset established over the past two weeks or so in which the GOP field is accepting the fact, reluctantly, that Giuliani is indeed being institutionalized as the front runner — especially as the latest FEC data is closely analyzed. Meanwhile, the rest of the field is begining to cannibalize itself in the hope of becoming the number two canddiate — the perch upon which to theoretically launch an all out assault on Rudy.
Romney, still in a strong position but looking a bit wobbly of late — especially compared to Rudy — had hoped to begin chopping the former New York mayor down to size at about this time. Instead, he’s under assault from McCain and to a lesser extent, Fred Thompson.
Bottom line: Rudy gets more time to consolidate his front-runner standing at this critical juncture in the campaign while Romney must fend-off the dogs. The other good news for Rudy is it appears Bernie Kerik is looking to come to an accomodation with prosecutors. The Rudy-Bernie stories are still on their way, but a plea deal would mitigate some of the damage.
The big losers at the moment: Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson, who, inexplicably, continues to offer no rationale for his candidacy — and other than throwing out an ill-advised prpposal to cut social security benefits continues to be a newsmaking wallflower on the campaign trail.