Monday, October 22, 2007
Chasm May be too Wide for Giuliani
By Peter Wallsten, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer October 21, 2007
WASHINGTON — With some leading social conservatives threatening to boycott the Republican Party if Rudolph W. Giuliani wins the presidential nomination, the former New York City mayor sought Saturday to assure activists in this crucial GOP voting bloc that they have "absolutely nothing to fear from me."
Giuliani told more than 2,000 evangelical activists that despite his support for abortion rights and other liberal views, Christians would have a voice in his administration, and that, though he has not always been comfortable discussing it in public, faith "is at the core of who I am.""I come to you today as I would if I were your president, with an open mind and an open heart," Giuliani said. "And all I ask is that you do the same."
Although Giuliani was interrupted several times by applause and some stood to clap as he concluded his 40-minute address, it was clear that he remained a distrusted figure among those gathered here from across the country.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, an evangelical organization and primary sponsor of the annual Values Voter Summit, called Giuliani's speech sincere but said he could not ignore the difference of opinion on abortion."It's not something that can be paved over easily," Perkins said, adding that he had not changed his mind about looking elsewhere for a candidate should Giuliani win the GOP nomination. "My position remains the same, as I think it does for a number of pro-life conservatives -- that we draw a line that we will not cross in supporting a pro-abortion-rights candidate."
Giuliani finished eighth out of nine GOP candidates in a straw poll of more than 5,000 people who attended the conference or voted online. The winner was former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, followed closely by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, though it's not clear how meaningful the poll was.