"They're both Type-A personalities, and Rudy's good company," said Mark Salter, one of McCain's top aides and his co-author on several books, when asked why the two became such good friends.
Added Carbonetti: "They're both guys who don't sit back and let things happen. They're very alike and they speak their mind and they do things."
By the time the 2000 Republican primaries rolled around, Giuliani was calling McCain a personal hero. He broke from the New York Republican Party line and voiced support for the inclusion of McCain on the state party's primary ballot. His political committee made campaign donations to both Bush and McCain, and even on primary day, after voting for Bush, Giuliani told reporters, "I think they're both excellent men. I think both of them would make great Presidents."
McCain was a big supporter of Giuliani's short-lived senatorial bid in 2000. After Giuliani disclosed he had prostate cancer, McCain said he would be happy to campaign on his behalf during his recovery. "Rudy's a good friend of mine, he's a fine and decent man," McCain said on Fox News Channel. "I still believe and will believe until my dying day that Rudy Giuliani would make an outstanding senator, he's been a great mayor and he's a good friend of mine."
Giuliani joked, "it might actually be better if he did the campaigning and I stayed at home. He's a much better campaigner."
That was seven years ago, of course, and it's much easier to be welcoming to a surrogate than a rival. Only one person can win the Republican presidential nomination, and with Giuliani and McCain in many ways competing for the same voters it was bound to happen that the two Type-A competitors would start behaving as such.
The tensions began coming to light on Oct. 24 in Davenport, Iowa, after the president of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, asked Giuliani whether he believed water boarding is torture.
"It depends on how it's done," Giuliani said. "It depends on the circumstances. It depends on who does it."
McCain, a former prisoner of war during the Vietnam conflict who was tortured, has led the legislative effort to ban interrogation techniques prohibited by the Geneva Convention. Upon hearing Giuliani's comments, McCain seemed clearly offended.
"Anyone who knows what water boarding is could not be unsure," McCain told asserted in Sioux Center, Iowa. "It is a horrible torture technique used by Pol Pot and being used on Buddhist monks as we speak."
In Allison, Iowa, McCain added, "I think, very frankly, that those who are running for president who have never had any military experience or much national security experience — like Rudy Giuliani, like Mitt Romney, like Fred Thompson — to say we ought to go ahead and do this water boarding I think shows a fundamental misunderstanding of our national security."
On Bloomberg Television, Giuliani was asked whether he believed he knew more about torture than McCain.
"I can't say that I do," Giuliani said. "But I do know a lot about intensive questioning and intensive questioning techniques. After all, I have had a different experience than John. John has never been — he has never run city, never run a state, never run a government. He has never been responsible as a mayor for the safety and security of millions of people, and he has never run a law enforcement agency, which I have done."