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   Author  Topic: In Houston, Giuliani Defends Abortion Sauce  (Read 498 times)
Walter Watts

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In Houston, Giuliani Defends Abortion Sauce
« on: 2007-05-11 20:57:42 »
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I guess I should have my eyes checked. The subject line
above came across as very strange until I read it more
PS--Getting old sucks!
The New York Times
May 11, 2007

In Houston, Giuliani Defends Abortion Stance


HOUSTON, May 11 – Rudolph W. Giuliani directly challenged Republican Party orthodoxy on Friday, asserting that his support for abortion rights, gun control and gay rights should not disqualify him from winning the party’s presidential nomination and that Republicans need to be tolerant of dissenting views on those issues if they want to hold the White House.

In a forceful summation of the substantive and political case for his candidacy, delivered to a conservative audience at Houston Baptist College, Mr. Giuliani, the former mayor of New York, acknowledged that his views on social issues were out of line with many Republican primary voters.

But Mr. Giuliani argued that there were even greater matters at stake in the election, starting with which party would better protect the nation from terrorism. Mr. Giuliani suggested that his record in New York -- leading the city after the attacks of Sept. 11 and overseeing a decline in violent crime during his eight years in office – made him the most electable of the Republican candidates, no matter his stand on social issues like abortion.

“If we don’t find a way of uniting around broad principles that will appeal to a large segment of this country, if we can’t figure that out, we are going to lose this election,” he said. The speech by Mr. Giuliani reflected a decision – other campaigns suggested gamble might be a better word -- to address head on a fundamental obstacle to his winning the nomination: his long history as a moderate Northeast Republican in a party increasingly dominated by Southern and Midwestern conservatives. As such, it loomed as a potentially important moment in the party’s efforts to decide how to compete against the Democrats in 2008 and what it should stand for in a post-Bush era.

“The mere fact that I am standing here running for president of the United States with the views that I have, that are different in some respects on some of these issues, shows that we much more adequately represent the length and breadth and the opinions of America than the other party does,” Mr. Giuliani said.

Since the late 1970’s, national Republican candidates have increasingly taken conservative positions on social issues. In that sense, Mr. Giuliani is bucking what many members of his party consider to be a powerful trend and confronting what is often assumed to be a wall of opposition among Christian conservatives, among other constituencies that play influential roles in the nominating process.

Both his leading opponents – Senator John McCain of Arizona and Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts – oppose abortion rights. Mr. McCain regularly referrers to his life-time opposition to abortion rights. Mr. Romney also regularly talks about his opposition to abortion rights, though he is more perhaps politically constrained because he supported abortion right through much of his political career in Massachusetts.

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, a group of conservative Christians, dismissed Mr. Giuliani’s speech in an e-mail he sent to supporters Friday afternoon. “When people hear Rudy Giuliani speak about taxpayer funded abortions, gay ‘rights’ and gun control, they don’t hear a choice, they hear an echo of Hillary Clinton,” he wrote.

Mr. Giuliani’s speech came a week after he gave a convoluted answer to questions at a debate about his view on abortion rights, setting off a storm of criticism by conservative groups and raising questions. On Friday, he offered a lengthy explanation of his view on abortions, saying he personally opposed it but that government should not prohibit it, while acknowledging that views differed from many of those in the audience.

“Where people of good faith, people who are equally decent, equally moral and equally religious, when they come to different conclusions about this, about something so very very personal, I believe you have to respect their viewpoint,” he said. “You give them a level of choice here.” Mr. Giuliani asserted that his differences with his audience on gun control and gay rights were probably less sharp. He defended his advocacy for tough gun control measures while he was mayor of New York, but said that was central to his strategy to reduce crime in the city. He described himself as an advocate of a view of the 2nd Amendment which holds that it permits citizens to bear arms. Mr. Giuliani said that he supported allowing gay and lesbians to enter into domestic partnerships, but opposed allowing them to marry.

Mr. Giuliani’s speech appeared to reflect two calculations by his campaign. The first was that Republicans were so alarmed at the prospect of losing the White House, particularly after Democrats took over Congress last year, that they would be willing to overlook differences on issues like abortion. The second is that voters often reward politicians who disagree with them on issues for candor and independence.

He drew a standing ovation from his audience, many of whom, in interviews after the remarks, praised Mr. Giuliani for what they described as his candor in presenting his position on difficult issues. But leaders of some evangelical and conservative groups quickly denounced Mr. Giuliani and predicted that it would lead to his downfall.

“The mayor’s position on abortion couldn’t be more repugnant to pro-lifers” said Richard Land, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention. “It shows a moral obtuseness that is stunning.”

Marc Santora reported from Houston, and Adam Nagourney from Washington.

Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

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Walter Watts
Tulsa Network Solutions, Inc.

No one gets to see the Wizard! Not nobody! Not no how!
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