Appearing on today's "Morning Joe," CNBC's John Harwood made a strong defense of Rudy Giuliani's announcement that the avid Yankee fan is rooting for the Red Sox in the World Series. And by the end, he even got University of Alabama alum Joe Scarborough to admit that under certain circumstances he would root for Auburn -- the Tide's arch in-state rival. Then again, Harwood failed to persuade at least one Bronx native . . .
The issue arose in the context of Hillary's campaigning.
JOHN HARWOOD: You notice she got in a little dig about Giuliani and the whole Red Sox thing.View video here.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Yeah, I like that. Tell our viewers about that.
HARWOOD: Well, Giuliani the other day said he was rooting for the Red Sox. and people thought it was a flip-flop because he's a famous Yankee fan, who was citing the Hillary Clinton episode where Hillary Clinton used to say that she was a Cubs fan and also a Yankees fan [before she ever moved to New York]. I've got to say that I've been with Giuliani in New Hampshire when he was needling Red Sox fans for the Yankees while the pennant race was going on. So I don't think this is as much of a flip-flop. He says he's an American League guy. Do you think that's a reasonable argument?
SCARBOROUGH: I actually do. A lot of my friends growing up would always cheer for the AFC [was Joe mixing baseball and football?] Now Willie you're shaking your head because you just simply don't root for the Red Sox.
WILLIE GEIST: There's an exception to that rule: Red Sox/Yankees. You wouldn't root for Auburn if they were playing somebody.
SCARBOROUGH: No, I definitely would not.Mika, relegated to the sidelines by all this sports talk, chimed in with a judicious "hmm."
That's when Harwood made his best argument.
HARWOOD: You would not root for the SEC team in the national championship game if it's not Florida?
SCARBOROUGH: OK, that is a good point. Especially if they were playing somebody in the Big Ten. Actually, you know, if it were, if Auburn was playing Ohio State, I would be wearing my War Eagle [Auburn] blue and orange. No doubt about it.
Harwood made his case impressively, and did wangle that admission from Joe. But I'm going with Willie on this one. Speaking as someone born in the Bronx and raised till age seven just off the Grand Concourse so close to Yankee Stadium we literally could hear the cheering, and despite generally being an American League fan, there is no way -- no way! -- that I would root for the Red Sox in the World Series. Roll Rockies.
Update | 10-26 5:25 PM: Hillary tried to exploit Rudy's Red Sox rooting with this line at her birthday fundraiser yesterday:
I have been a fan, and I remain a fan of the New York Yankees — no changes, no looking to curry favor with anyone else.
On this afternoon's "Hardball," Chris Matthews described Hillary as a "phony" over the issue. For that matter, NB readers might recall that I'm not a huge David Shuster fan. But in his "Hardball" set-up report, Shuster pointed out that before she ran for the senate, Hillary was a Cubs fan, and even flashed a photo of Clinton in a Cubs hat.
And speaking of Hillary-The-Big-Yankee-Fan, I would venture that -- unless she's been prepped by a cagey advisor -- Hillary couldn't name four current members of the Bronx Bombers.