Instant correction: Those of you who perused Muckraker early this morning or over the weekend may have read that New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) was prepared to sign a major letter from mayors and other local officials calling for the federal government to do more to combat global warming.

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Well, forget it. After appearing ready to sign on the dotted line, thanks to some arm twisting from Chicago Mayor Richard Daley (D), Giuliani’s office backed out late last Friday night and will not be an official party to the declaration.

Giuliani’s reversal took us somewhat by surprise, as we imagined the New York mayor might have relished the opportunity to establish a beachhead on an issue of serious concern to upscale, suburban voters in Westchester County, New York’s bellwether region.

We were not the only ones taken by surprise. Brandon MacGillis at Ozone Action, one of the letter’s sponsoring groups, says he had been working with Giuliani’s office for a month before coming up empty-handed.

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“He could have used the environmental support” in an expected Senate bid against First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, MacGillis said.

Instead, Giuliani lands in the camp (which includes Texas Gov. George W. Bush) of those who say they are concerned about global warming but are not willing to endorse current federal efforts to combat the phenomenon.

MacGillis originally thought Giuliani might be enticed to sign the letter after Joel A. Miele, commissioner of New York’s Department of Environmental Protection, wrote Ozone Action back in June saying New York was in “strong support of the purposes” expressed in the global warming letter. Note, however, the use of the word “purposes.” The letter went on to say that the “scientific understanding” of global warming “remains incomplete.”

While Giuliani’s decision not to sign robs the letter’s sponsors of a major news-making presence, they have nonetheless compiled a huge list of signatories, some 567 mayors and other officials from 47 states. The letter, to be released Tuesday, calls on the federal government to do more to combat a problem local officials say costs them dearly in clean-up costs from increasingly severe hurricanes, floods, droughts, and other disasters potentially linked to global warming.

Signers include Chicago mayor Daley and mayors from Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Denver, Portland, New Orleans, San Francisco, Seattle, Cincinnati, Miami, Minneapolis, Atlanta, St. Louis, and elsewhere. Pres. Clinton is expected to issue a statement in support of the letter on Tuesday.

Hungry Like the Wolf

Last week, we told you all about the squealing pig the Sierra Club brought to a Washington press event at which the group unveiled a new report on corporate hog farms.

This week, we turn to Defenders of Wildlife and the gray wolf they brought to their reception at a conference of the Society of Environmental Journalists in L.A. last week.

Alas, we could not be there to see the fanged, furry beast in person (and we are hurt that we weren’t invited), but we have received canine reports and, as ever, endeavor to bring you the story.

Unlike the Sierra Club’s pig-with-no-name, this wolf actually had a moniker: Ambassador Wolf Kenai (sounds like a geeky Star Trek character, doesn’t it?).

And Kenai was not, despite some early reports, in any kind of a cage.

On loan from the San Diego Zoo, he was, in fact, simply led around the Defenders event on a leash and allowed to lick several reporters’ faces. He even reportedly nuzzled up to some officials from the Interior Department, though we find this hard to believe.

Defenders also apparently had all the necessary permits allowing them to bring an endangered species to their event. So there doesn’t appear to be a scandal here. Defenders’ spokesperson Joan Moody did acknowledge, though, that Kenai was “more scared of the people than they were of him.”

Friend or FoE?

Al Gore’s presidential campaign has had it rough of late, getting mauled in the press over recent polls in New Hampshire, New York, and elsewhere showing Bill Bradley drawing close to even and continuing his amazingly long media roll as the enigmatic, upstart threat to Gore. (We wonder when Gore will become the upstart threat to Bradley.)

So one can hardly blame the Gore camp for looking to score points, any points, against Dollar Bill, which they attempted to do last week by peddling this line of attack: Bradley, by accepting the endorsement of Friends of the Earth, which once argued against continuing the federal subsidy for ethanol producers, demonstrated a callous lack of respect for Iowa’s corn farmers.

Okay. So if Gore should get the nod from the NAFTA-hating AFL/CIO, will he be selling out all the moderate New Dems who constantly spout off on the need to dump old protectionist thinking and step into the light of unfettered globo-capitalism? Will Gore say thanks but no thanks, you opposed NAFTA, GATT, and fast-track trade negotiating status for my boss, so take your nomination and shove it? We doubt it.

Political Potpourri

It’s not looking good for Marta Brown, widow of late Rep. George Brown (D-Calif.), who appears to have narrowly lost the Democratic nod in the special primary to fill Brown’s seat, despite the enthusiastic backing of the Sierra Club and some gun-control activists. Brown, however, has not yet conceded the Dem nod to state Sen. Joe Baca. On the GOP side, 1998 candidate Elia Priozzi cruised to the nomination as expected. … Infamous foot-fondler Dick Morris, in his column in the D.C. newspaper The Hill, touted recent poll numbers, both his own and John Zogby‘s, showing that likely GOP primary voters, particularly those under 35, strongly support candidates willing to use the government to protect the environment. … Remember that flap over Ted Stewart, the would-be federal judge in Utah whom enviros love to hate? Well, the Clinton administration’s decision to nominate him for a judgeship was supposed to clear the decks for a number of judges Clinton actually wants on the bench. Hasn’t happened. The Senate is still tied up in knots over Stewart. Which confirms the findings of Citizens for Independent Courts, a bipartisan group that released a study in Washington showing that the average time it takes the Senate to act on judicial nominations has skyrocketed from 38 days in 1977-78 to 201 days in 1997-98.