COLUMBIA, S.C – He keeps an itinerary that has all the makings of a full-fledged presidential candidate: South Carolina this weekend, New Hampshire the one before.
Which is what Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor, says he's leaning toward becoming.
"There's a real good chance," Giuliani said Saturday, after a 30-minute speech and question-and-answer session with party leaders in South Carolina.
On Giuliani's first visit to New Hampshire last weekend since setting up the committee, he told reporters he'd received a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and support from people.
But he said he had not yet decided whether he could make a "unique contribution" toward strengthening the nation that would justify a run for president.
He has emphasized his steady hand dealing with the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. However, his moderate stances on gun control, abortion, gay rights and other social issues could be liabilities for him in a GOP presidential primary that includes hard-core conservatives as a central voting group.
Giuliani formed a presidential exploratory committee in November to prepare for a possible bid for the GOP nomination in 2008. It lets him raise money and travel the country, gauging how much support there could be for him.
In his few first weeks, Giuliani took in $1.4 million. He collected donations online, and held a major fundraising event in New York in December.
Financial documents show that by the start of this year Giuliani had about $1 million available, having spent money to set up campaign headquarters, buy equipment and hire workers.