George Smitherman’s “Furious George” persona made him the perfect enforcer for his mild-mannered premier, but his abrasive approach may not be as welcome at city hall if he wins in his bid to become Toronto’s next mayor.

Still, the government’s self-described “attack poodle” says his straightforwardness, honesty and experience make him the best fit to run his city, a move that could signal a promising new start for one of Premier Dalton McGuinty’s brightest stars.

“George was a larger-than-life kind of guy, all kinds of energy, all kinds of enthusiasm and he was just a very strong driver when it comes to bringing about reforms,” said McGuinty.

While the Liberal leader said he regrets losing his deputy premier, he’s proud to see him continue his career in public service.

“That passion is something in particular that was a really important characteristic.”

What McGuinty calls passion others term volatility, part of Smitherman’s mercurial nature and the key reason why former NDP leader Howard Hampton dubbed him “Furious George.”

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