Giuliani a no-show at Hilton Head party (but Elvis to make an appearance)

November 6, 2007 

Liz Mead is miffed, but still determined to throw a fine party. And while Rudy Giuliani won't be there as expected, Elvis will make an appearance.

Mead, a North Forest Beach resident, was scheduled to host a fundraiser for the Republican presidential candidate and former New York City mayor Wednesday morning at her beachfront home on Dune Lane on Hilton Head Island.

But the event was called off Sunday by Giuliani's national campaign, which apologized to Mead for the inconvenience.

The apologies didn't assuage Mead. She wouldn't say how much she'd spent putting patriotic bunting on her home, painting, landscaping, cleaning, setting aside a rental home she owns to house her six dogs during the event and other preparation efforts, but she indicated it wasn't cheap.

Mead wasn't even a Giuliani backer. She agreed to host the $250-$500 per seat event at the request of a family friend.

"If you can't make it to your own fundraiser, I'll be damned if I can depend on him as a president," she said.

Mead said she was embarrassed that she invited friends to pledge money to come to the event and now has to let them know it has been canceled less than 48 hours in advance.

Her preparations, however, won't be wasted. She's hired an Elvis Presley impersonator to entertain at a party starting at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

"We're having a huge party...," Mead said. "And guess what? It isn't a fundraiser; it's free."

Giuliani also was scheduled to speak at Sun City Hilton Head on Wednesday, but that event also has been canceled.

Elliott Bundy, a spokesman for the Giuliani campaign, wouldn't say why the events were canceled, just that an announcement on replacement events would be made soon.

"We take every step to make sure last-minute changes don't occur, but sometimes they do," Bundy said.

Giuliani probably would have reached hundreds of Republican voters at Sun City. Sen. John McCain drew a crowd of 650 there in February. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney drew more than 400 people there in March. Former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson spoke to more than 450 people at Sun City in October.

Sun City Hilton Head Republican Club Secretary Sherri Zedd said Giuliani probably would have drawn a pretty large crowd not only because of the number of community residents from the Northeast, but because "there are a lot of people here who haven't made up their minds yet, too."

This was the second time Giuliani has pulled out of a Sun City visit. He was supposed to speak to the community in October, said Rachel Buie, president of the Republican Club.

"It doesn't leave a very good taste in people's mouths," she said.

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