Kate: The Observer piece you cite makes things appear worse than before. Rudy’s campaign didn’t seem to understand how damaging the “tryst fund” story would be. They clearly did not understand this when they spoke to the reporter who broke the story, Ben Smith of the Politico:
Mr. Carbonetti…said that the story’s angle had been misrepresented to him…Mr. Carbonetti said that (Sunny) Mindel told him after she spoke to the reporter, but before the story was published, that “it was strictly a budget issue.”
But the “misrepresentation” could only have been internal to the campaign. Smith was very clear about what he was doing:
[T]he reporter who broke the story, Ben Smith (who used to be a reporter for this newspaper), responded to Mr. Carbonetti’s assertions about not disclosing the nature of the story by showing The Observer a copy of the e-mail he sent to Ms. Mindel, in which he described the nature of the expenses that he found and explicitly pointed out that the trips to Southampton occurred while Ms. Nathan lived there.
“My main question,” Mr. Smith wrote in the e-mail, “is why these expenses were attributed to obscure agencies, and whether City Hall was trying to hide them.”
Now Giuliani’s people are forced to argue over accounting practices. I doubt that most voters will care about that as much as they care that public funds may have been spent on trysts and long-distance transportation for the mayor’s then-girlfriend. And as long as they’re out there defending the accounting procedures, the story persists.