CLEVELAND – Playing part stand-up comic and part political boxer, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani delivered a sequence of heavy punches to Hillary Clinton Thursday morning.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the political line, Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota – an actual comedian-turned-politician – traveled to Cleveland to deliver a few jabs to the Donald Trump-Mike Pence ticket.
And another Democratic senator, Cory Booker of New Jersey, made the case for fighting with love.
Call it another sparring match between political surrogates that’s being waged through speeches and press conferences.
Speaking at a breakfast for New York’s delegation to the Republican National Convention, a highly expressive Giuliani savaged Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, and her husband, former President Bill Clinton.
"In the last 20 years, the biggest war on women has been conducted by Bill Clinton," Giuliani said. "Bill Clinton was a predator president."
To combat the portrayal of Hillary Clinton as a woman who will empower and fight for other women, Giuliani brought up the Clintons’ handling of the late-1990s scandal surrounding the then-president’s relationship with a White House intern.
"If Monica Lewinsky hadn’t come up with the dress, they would have destroyed her," Giuliani said, referring to a clothing item that had Bill Clinton’s DNA. "This is a woman who cares about women?"
Several people in the audience yelled out, "Noooo!"
Giuliani also criticized the now-closed investigation over Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state under President Obama.
He referred to her as the "quintessential Washington insider" and added, "She really should be the quintessential Fort Leavenworth insider."
People in the crowd started chanting, "Lock her up! Lock her up!"
If Trump becomes president, Giuliani added, the email case can be reopened.
"She’s going to be running to prevent getting an orange jumpsuit," he said.
As Giuliani’s remarks concluded, a small group of Democrats were convening their own press conference just a few blocks away.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, who’s also the chair of the Democratic National Committee, met reporters with Franken and Booker.
Wasserman Schultz, who has been holding press conferences on each of the four mornings of the RNC, opened by noting that the Republicans booed their own speaker Wednesday night.
(She was referring, of course, to Sen. Ted Cruz – who, it should be noted, drew almost as much ire at the New York breakfast as Clinton. New York Republican Chairman Ed Cox said Cruz "committed political suicide last night.")
At the Democratic press conference, Franken, a famous comedy writer and performer before his Senate career began in 2009, made a lighthearted reference to Wednesday’s speech by the Republican vice presidential nominee, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.
"It was refreshing to see someone say something good about Trump who wasn’t actually related to him," Franken said.
Booker, who is in contention to become Clinton’s vice presidential running mate, called out the "lies," and the "intensity of the hate and cruelty coming from the floor and the speakers" at the RNC.
Booker invoked his own religion in calling out his opponents.
"In a convention where people are getting all upset because ‘there’s a war on Christmas,’ this Christian, I wish I saw life," he said. "I wish I saw compassion. I wish I saw some Christian kindness. I wish I saw that when people were standing up to verbally stone a woman, that somebody would have stood up ... That’s the kind of love this country needs right now."
The Democrats will get a chance to do that starting Monday in Philadelphia, when the convention to nominate Clinton begins.