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NEW YORK (AP) - Rudolph Giuliani once loomed large over New York City and was lauded as "America's mayor" for his leadership after the Sept. 11 attacks.

His endorsement of Michael Bloomberg helped swing the 2001 mayor's race, and he left office with sky-high approval ratings.

One of his closest aides, Joe Lhota, is now vying to be the Republican nominee for mayor. But Giuliani has appeared infrequently on the campaign trail and will be out of the country during the primary's crucial home stretch.

Pundits say Giuliani has become a divisive figure. One consultant says he "couldn't get elected" in New York City today.

Giuliani has made a few appearances for Lhota and stars in the campaign's new TV ad.