COVER: "Rudy's Roots" (p. 30). Senior Writer Suzanne Smalley looks at GOPpresidential candidate Rudy Giuliani's background and influences that explainhis moral code, which is at once rigid (in public) and flexible (in privatelife). The roots of Giuliani's outsized, complex adult personality can betraced back to his childhood and youth in New York City and Long Island, to afamily of cops and hoods and to a Catholic culture with a strict moral codebut always holding out the possibility of redemption and grace. On the onehand, Giuliani has been a crusader against outlaw policemen, as well asmobsters, pornographers, drug dealers, crooked businessmen and politicians anddeath-dealing jihadists. He now offers himself as the presidential candidatewho would deliver us from evil, from terrorism abroad and corruption at home.With Investigative Correspondents Mark Hosenball and Michael Isikoff, ReligionEditor Lisa Miller and Miami Bureau Chief Arian Campo-Flores.
THE MONEY CULTURE: "The Sermon on the Mall" (p. 22). Senior Writer DanielGross writes about the holiday shopping season and the annual doom and gloompredictions that come with it, and never really pan out. "Hardy Americanconsumers have clearly conditioned themselves to shop till they drop in thefrenzied five-week period between Thanksgiving and New Year's, no matter thedistraction," Gross writes. And evidence suggests that buying toys forchildren, jewelry for spouses and "fruitcakes for those random folks for whomwe have to buy presents isn't a matter of choice. It's compulsory at somelevel."
IRAQ: "There's No Place Like ... Iraq?" (p. 38). Baghdad CorrespondentLarry Kaplow, Chief Foreign Correspondent Rod Nordland, and SpecialCorrespondent Silvia Spring report that thousands of Iraqis are finallyreturning to Baghdad, lured by news of lessening bloodshed in the city andincreasingly unwelcome in the neighboring lands where they tried to escape thewar. Although they're scarcely a fraction of the roughly 2.2 million who havefled into exile since 2003, they represent a big shift: for the first timesince the war began, more Iraqis seem to be reentering the country thanleaving.
CAMPAIGN 2008: "Barack Strikes Back" (p. 42). Senior White HouseCorrespondent Richard Wolffe reports from the Barack Obama campaign, where theoblique, exceedingly polite Obama has vanished. The new Obama exchanges blowswith Hillary Clinton -- in his own voice. Obama wanted to run a differentstyle of campaign, true to his central message and he wouldn't sling mud. Thatapproach seemed sure to fail. Clinton's message that she was tough andexperienced, and Obama wasn't, was defining him and he wasn't responding. Soat a debate in Philadelphia last month, he confronted his main rival head-on.
MIDDLE EAST: "Messiah On a Hill" (p. 44). Jerusalem Bureau Chief KevinPeraino reports on Palestinian billionaire Munib al-Masri, who, like aPalestinian Ross Perot, recently announced he was forming a movement calledthe Palestine Forum to challenge the two major Palestinian factions. Al-Masrihas a couple things going for him. One is the depth of Palestinian anger.Since its May coup in Gaza, Hamas has been strangled by Israeli andinternational sanctions. "If elections were held today, there's no chanceHamas would win," says Palestinian pollster Khalil Shikaki.
BUSINESS: "Ben & Jerry's Bitter Crunch"(p. 50). Senior Writer SuzanneSmalley reports on some Ben & Jerry's embittered franchisees who say thecompany misled them into investing their life savings in stores that weredoomed to failure and did little to help them stay afloat. Ben & Jerry's saysthe complaints are either exaggerated or just plain wrong, and don't representthe experience of most of its franchisees. <