He's tan, calm, and smiling, and his bus says "Tested. Ready. Now." Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani is making his last campaign swing through Florida, a state he set up as make-or-break — and which supporters fear will break him today.
"That first fundraiser," state Representative Carl Domino, Giuliani's Palm Beach County coordinator, nostalgically says to the former mayor at the campaign's Broward County headquarters. Domino hosted a fundraiser for Giuliani in his home on March 31.
"You've been there from the beginning," Giuliani says, giving him a hug.
But Domino seems resigned to an imminent end to the campaign. "Obviously the polls show the momentum is with two other people," Domino tells ABC News, referring to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. "When you get in politics, sometimes you pay attention to such things."
The Giuliani Strategy
Domino says he thinks Giuliani's strategy of largely bypassing the early states and focusing everything on the Sunshine State was a mistake.
"You gotta show you can compete," he says, adding that decent showings in New Hampshire and South Carolina would have helped Giuliani immeasurably. "He didn't have to win, he just had to be competitive," Domino says. "But they didn't ask me."
Giuliani grabs one of the cell phones volunteers are using for phone banking.
"Javier asked me to call and see if you'd go out and vote for me," Giuliani says to the voter on the other end. "You will?"
He sounds almost surprised.
Actor Jon Voight — Giuliani's Chuck Norris — is nearby, smiling and looking trim.
"So, whaddaya think, Jon?" Giuliani asks.
"This is the best-looking group I've seen," Voight says.
Contemplating the Race With and Without Giuliani
Just a few feet away, two Giuliani supporters – matronly women from the area – are conspicuously talking about whom they will support next.
"Romney's better than McCain," Diane Bee, a Coconut Creek resident and a member of the Broward County Republican Party, tells Egle Calvino of Coral Springs. "I don't know what I'm gonna do if that McCain gets in there!"
Before entering the local headquarters, Giuliani takes a few minutes to join his traveling staff in throwing around a Nerf football and a baseball. Those who criticize his lack of foreign policy credentials don't understand that he "taught [former Japanese] Prime Minister [Junichiro] Koizumi how to throw out the first ball," he says.
At the "Lox Around the Clock" deli in Del Ray Beach, Giuliani - joined by his wife Judith - went table to table, asking former residents of the Bronx and Brooklyn for their support.
"We're focused on winning here today," Giuliani told what must seem like the 3,000th reporter to ask him if he would drop out tonight if he doesn't win. "We want to say to the people of Florida, don't listen to the polls. Look at what happened in New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton was supposed to lose by seven or eight points."
Asked - yet again - about his campaign strategy, Giuliani said "it was the right strategy for us, our major message today is to get out and vote and you'll make that strategy correct."
Giuliani started the day with his suit jacket off, in Sunny Isles Beach, at a diner called Wolfie Cohen's Rascal House. He had some coffee and raisin bran.
"I voted already," Jane Weintraub, a transplanted New Yorker, tells Giuliani. More than 440,000 Florida Republicans have already voted through early voting and absentee ballots. Giuliani's campaign has banked on those early votes, which started a few weeks ago, before his plummet in Florida polls was apparent.
"Already?" Giuliani says.
"I voted for Rudy Giuliani for president, are you crazy?" Weintraub asks.
A local criminal defense attorney, she says she switched parties to vote for Giuliani.
"I think he's gonna do a lot better than polls say," she says. Members of the New York diaspora and Miamians who have visited Manhattan and seen how Giuliani cleaned it up will turn out for him, she says. "Times Square is packed and clean! It's Disney on Broadway!"
Banking on Momentum
"We're gonna win today," Giuliani says at the diner. And then he will share in the "momentum in the national polls" that other candidates have enjoyed. "I believe we're gonna win that and that's gonna change that," he says.
His focus is on today, he says, refraining from discussions of his future plans should he not win tonight. "Hypotheticals about the future are counterproductive."
He asks for the check. "Don't let it be said that we don't pay our bill!" he jokes, an apparent reference to Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., who was criticized for not tipping an Iowa waitress.
Just yards from the Atlantic Ocean, Giuliani walks out into the daylight. "I feel terrific," he says. "It's a beautiful morning. We've got great support."