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Oh-eight (R): Best friends forever

GIULIANI:

The New York Times takes a look at the close relationship between Giuliani and Fox News chair Roger Ailes. "Now these allies and friends find themselves on largely uncharted political turf. Mr. Giuliani, 63, is a leading Republican candidate for president. Mr. Ailes, 67, is head of Fox News, the pre-eminent media outlet for likely voters in a Republican primary… Whether their friendship would ever affect coverage — Fox insists that it has not and will not — it is nonetheless the sort of relationship that other campaigns have noted, though none wanted to speak publicly for fear of offending the station."

More: "This year through July 15, Mr. Giuliani appeared for 115 minutes in interviews on Fox, according to The Hotline, the political journal. More than half of those minutes, 78, were spent with Mr. Hannity, co-host of the 'Hannity & Colmes' talk show. Mr. Hannity, a conservative who has spoken of his admiration for Mr. Giuliani, makes his own decisions about bookings, a spokeswoman said.

"Mr. Giuliani's on-air time on Fox was 25 percent greater than that of his Republican competitor Mitt Romney, and nearly double that of Senator John McCain of Arizona. Fred D. Thompson, who has yet to formally announce his candidacy, came in second to Mr. Giuliani with 101 minutes of Fox interviews."

Factcheck.org put its researchers on the IAFF video that accuses Giuliani of putting firefighters at risk during 9/11. On the issue of the firefighter deaths, factcheck.org said the union "plays loose with the facts." But it agrees that "then-Mayor Giuliani failed to provide FDNY emergency radios that functioned properly."

Page Six reports that Giuliani raked in about $350,000 at a Greenwich, CT fundraiser. "Giuliani good-naturedly griped about the hated Red Sox picking up [pitcher Eric] Gagne before launching into a 40-minute speech at Villa Leoncelli, the mansion of real estate mogul Joe Beninati, to more than 100 donors including hedge fund wizard Cliff Asness of AQR Capital and Doug Korn of Bear Stearns Merchant Banking."

Also yesterday, the campaign announced the hiring of 8 more field reps for California. The campaign already has more than a dozen staffers in the biggest state holding a primary on Tsunami Tuesday.

MCCAIN:

The AP does a "what's the campaign trail like now" for McCain since he restructured (translation: downsized) his campaign. Apparently last week, he left an event in a car with a flat tire. McCain "travels without staff or with a single aide and rarely with national media crews. Last week, he arrived in Manchester, N.H., on a commercial flight. He carried his own bags through the airport and his top two aides in the state drove him to his hotel. The entire event was captured for local television… McCain's loss of the trappings of a top-tier candidate come at a cost. On Monday, he missed a fundraising breakfast in Pittsburgh because his commercial flight was canceled. He called in by speakerphone to the 30 supporters in a hotel conference room."

ROMNEY:

Here's an interesting way for the former governor to show distance with the Bush Administration: "Romney complained Wednesday that one of the Bush administration's chief domestic security accomplishments - the Department of Homeland Security - is inefficient and requires major restructuring." At a New Hampshire stop yesterday, "Romney said the department does some things well, but it has challenges rooted in the fact that it is made up of different agencies 'stuck in one big bureaucracy.'" Romney also didn't limit his criticism to homeland security. Separately, "Saying he supports an expanded private health insurance system instead of one run by the government, Romney added: 'The last thing I want is the guys managing the Katrina cleanup managing my health care system.'"

In fact, the mention of Katrina is something that's much more rare on the GOP side of this campaign than on the Dem side. "If he were elected president, Romney told the audience of 75 that he would work to restore the region. "'At this stage, we would continue to invest to return New Orleans and a major portion of our country to economic viability and livability,' Romney said."

F. THOMPSON:

Bob Novak writes on the influence Jeri Thompson has on the fledgling campaign. Apparently at a fundraiser earlier this week, Thompson jokingly introduced his wife as "my campaign manager." More Novak: "As the actor-lawyer-politician nears his long-awaited official announcement, Mrs. Thompson is slurred as a 'trophy wife' -- privately by her husband's opponents for the Republican nomination and publicly by the media. Even Thompson supporters grumble that Jeri, 40, is too alluring, that she should modify the way she dresses and that, even then, she should not practice her skills as a professional political operative on behalf of her 64-year-old husband."  But Novak defends her credentials and notes she'll be an 'asset, not a liability.'"