A long-standing aide of Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani is in trouble with the law. This is particularly interesting because Bernard Kerik is a former police commissioner of New York, back in the days when Giuliani was mayor, and has since been his business partner, as well as a member of his inner circle of advisors. Kerik faces various corruption allegations dating back to his service in the NYPD.
Kerik's been in the news for the wrong reasons before. He served as interior minister in the ill-fated Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, and his nomination to be US Homeland Security Secretary failed when we found out some embarrassing things about his personal life. The fact that he was still close to Giuliani despite all that isn't exactly surprising, as there's nothing wrong in theory with standing by your man, but Giuliani's decision to stand so closely by Kerik over the years means this scandal could be very bad news for his candidacy. The man who has based his appeal on his ability to make the right judgements at the right time (on occasions it seems all Giuliani talks about his 9/11), seems to have made a bad call on this one.
It needn't end Giuliani's hopes of the White House. Certainly some of his opponents will need to be willing (or desperate, as John McCain must now be) enough to want to exploit the problems of a still-innocent-until-proven-guilty man, for much mud to really stick to the self-styled America's Mayor. But with Iowa just a couple of months away, the back foot is the last place anybody wants to be. And that's where Giuliani is today.