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Movement Afoot To Keep Giuliani In Mayor's Office

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Mayor Rudolph Giuliani has been showered with praise for his handling of the World Trade Center disaster, and many in the city are suggesting that he head up the city's impending reconstruction efforts. However, in the following report, NY1's Andrew Kirtzman explores a movement to keep the term-limited mayor in office.

He's a battlefield general, leading his troops. He's a father figure, calming the city's worst fears by saying, "Were going to become a stronger nation as a result of being tested like this."

In the span of a week, Rudy Giuliani, one of the city's most polarizing figures, has been transformed into an almost universally acclaimed leader. The New York Times calls him the "Mayor of the Moment." The Daily News wants the next mayor to keep him on to lead the reconstruction efforts. And a growing number of his fans don't want him to leave at all when his term expires in December.

"I don't think anybody could be better," says retired firefighter John McSweeney. "As a matter of fact, I hear there's a movement to keep him and his commissioners on for another year, which I think would be a good idea."

Queens developer Heskel Elias thinks so too. He's launched a campaign to do just that.

"I'd like to have the state legislature postpone the election for one year and give us a chance to recoup from what's happened," says Elias.

Election law experts say the legislature and the governor actually could postpone the election, or lift the term limits preventing Giuliani from running again. But it's not likely.

Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver told NY1 he is against the idea. So are Democratic candidates for mayor Mark Green and Peter Vallone.

All say postponing the election would be a victory for the terrorists. They say the already-delayed September 11 primary should proceed as re-scheduled on September 25.

A spokeswoman for Giuliani declined to comment on the idea. But the fact that it's being discussed at all is a testament to Giuliani's rising popularity. One reason is his icy persona has melted away as he's tried to keep the city together.

In an astonishing moment at St. Patrick's Cathedral Sunday, he healed his most searing wound by hugging the man he's fought on and off since 1994: Governor George Pataki. The two lost friends in the calamity, and have been working side by side ever since.

He's even grown kind to the press corps, which has so irritated him over the years. This was Giuliani in Long Island Sunday after the funeral of Fire Department Chief Pete Ganci: "Thank you very much for the very tasteful and beautiful way in which you've covered this."

The amount of goodwill towards Giuliani is noticeable wherever he goes. When he left for his car for the service Sunday, the crowd of mourners applauded him for the third time.

- Andrew Kirtzman
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