The Intersection of Cynicism and Modern Politics

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This summer Rudolph Giuliani has twice interrupted himself in the middle of a speech to answer his cell phone. Was it a revealing mistake or a calculated political gimmick?


This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

Talk about public figures being accessible. Twice this summer, Rudolph Giuliani has interrupted himself in the middle of a speech to answer his mobile phone.

Mr. RUDOLPH GIULIANI (Former Republican Mayor, New York): Lets' see now, this is my wife calling, I think.

(Soundbite of cell phone ringing)

Mr. GIULIANI: Hello, dear. I'm talking to the members of the NRA right now, would you like to say hello? I love you and I'll give you a call as soon as I'm finished, okay? Okay, have a safe trip. Bye-bye. Talk to you later dear, I love you.

SIMON: Now some people have voiced suspicions about the spontaneity of those calls. Would Mr. Giuliani truly forget to turn off his phone before he begins a major campaign speech or even carry it in his pocket instead of giving it to an aide? Are the calls funny little mistakes that reveal his warm, human side or calculated political gimmicks to display a warm human side?

I don't like that kind of reflexive…

(Soundbite of cell phone ringing)

SIMON: Excuse me. Hello? My wife - darling, yeah, I know. I could hear it when I left at five. I know it's awfully early, but you know, if our 4-year-old is going to perform at Carnegie Hall next month, she's got to practice her violin. Tell you what, you get a nap and a massage after I get home while I prepare that coco balm(ph) that you love. I love you, darling. Goodbye.

Sorry. Anyway, the kind of cynicism that pervades the system now, you know, politicians are…

(Soundbite of cell phone ringing)

SIMON: Sorry, sorry again. Hola. Penelope. Oh, Penelope, yo te amo, too, but as a friend. I'm already happily married to the most beautiful woman in the world. Oh, please, please don't cry. You'll love again and it won't be Tom Cruise, I'm sure. You're a great a kid, Penelope. Take care of yourself, okay? Bye-bye.

Sorry, people just call up the darnest(ph) times. (Unintelligible) it's this cynicism, I think, that's destroying the system. Politicians are out - sorry.

(Soundbite of cell phone ringing)

SIMON: Hello? Sister Muriel(ph), nice to hear from you. Well, that's very kind. But actually I prefer my generosity to remain anonymous. I think it makes it more sincere. Well, you're very kind to do that, but I know the Nobel committee gets a lot of nominations. So just knowing that you and all those homeless children are doing well, it's a reward enough for me. Thank you, sister, goodbye.

Now. Sorry. Now, where was I?

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