FIGHTING BACK AGAINST NASTY….Sometimes it’s wise to just keep your mouth shut. The U.S. Attorney scandal earlier this year didn’t really take off until Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty put his foot in his mouth and told Congress that the prosecutors in question had been fired for “performance-related” reasons. Until then, the firees had mostly been willing to take their lumps and move on, but McNulty’s comment pissed them off and they started talking. The rest is history.

Likewise, Rudy Giuliani probably should have kept his mouth shut a week ago instead of telling Tim Russert, “How can I not have pretty good judgment about the people who work for me and not been able to turn around the United States attorney’s office?” In the New York Times today, the U.S. Attorney whose office Giuliani supposedly “turned around” fires back. According to John Martin, Giuliani made no major changes in the staff or leadership group he inherited; the idea of prosecuting organized crime families under the RICO statute originated a year before he took office; his famous securities fraud cases originated in a tip from Merrill Lynch; and the trial of Bronx Democratic leader Stanley Friedman originated with the Chicago FBI office. He concludes:

There is no question that Mr. Giuliani is an able lawyer. It is unfortunate, however, that he feels he must denigrate the accomplishments of others to advance his own political interests.

That’s unfortunate all right, but it’s also part of Rudy’s DNA. You don’t get one without the other.