by Steven Ertelt
February 15, 2007
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor said Wednesday night that he is definitely running for president in 2008. However, his pro-abortion stance will likely turn off a large percentage of the pro-life voters who make up the overwhelmingly majority of the Republican Party voters he’ll need to secure the nomination.
Giuliani made the statement he’s aiming to become president in an interview on CNN’s Larry King Live on Wednesday night.
"Yeah, I’m running," Giuliani told King. "I think I can make a difference."
"I think I can make a difference. I believe that the country needs leadership," Giuliani said.
Most of the potential GOP candidates for president fall somewhere along the scale ranging from reliably pro-life to opposing abortion but supporting embryonic stem cell research. Rudy Giuliani falls squarely in the pro-abortion camp, though he’s been trying to reassure pro-life voters lately he’s not that bad.
During the CNN interview, he tried to play down his pro-abortion views.
"I am pro-choice, but I am also, as you know, against abortion. Hate abortion. Never liked it,” Giuliani said.
He indicated he thought GOP voters could support him based on other issues.
"There is understanding that you can’t find a candidate you agree with 100 percent of the time," Giuliani said. "I think they will vote for a candidate based on leadership.”
Giuliani has always been in favor of legalized abortion — even supporting the grisly partial-birth abortion procedure that kills an unborn child halfway through the birthing process.
But, on the Fox news program Hannity & Colmes last week, he used some pretty strong language against abortion, though he admitted he still is pro-abortion when it comes to whether it should be legal.
"Where I stand on abortion is, I oppose it. I don’t like it. I hate it. I think abortion is something that, as a personal matter, I would advise somebody against," he said.
"However, I believe in a woman’s right to choose," Giuliani admitted. "I think ultimately you have to leave that to a disagreement of conscience and you have to respect the choice that somebody makes."
The former mayor tried to reassure pro-life advocates by saying he would appoint judges in the mold of the ones President Bush nominated and pro-life advocates supported.
"I think the appointment of judges that I would make would be very similar to, if not exactly the same as, the last two judges that were appointed," Giuliani said.
"If I had been president over the last four years, I can’t think of any, you know, that I’d do anything different with that," he said, referring to Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito.
"I would appoint judges that interpreted the Constitution rather than invented it, understood the difference between being a judge and being a legislator," he said. "I do think you have sort of a general philosophical approach that you want from a justice, and I think a strict constructionist would be probably the way I’d describe it."
On the program, Giuliani was asked about partial-birth abortions. He previously told CNN’s Inside Politics in a 1999 interview, that he does not support even a modest ban on the gruesome partial-birth abortion procedure saying, "No, I have not supported that, and I don’t see my position on that changing."
Yet, on the Fox News show, Giuliani said that he supports a ban on partial-birth abortion as long as there is a provision to protect the life of the mother.
"If it has provision for the life of the mother, then I would support it," he told the Fox News program.
Giuliani also said he supported parental notification laws as long as their is a judicial bypass for cases when a teenager is abused by her parents.
"I think you have to have a judicial bypass. If you do, you can have parental notification," he said.
Will these concessions and apparent flip-flop on partial-birth abortion be enough to gain the support of pro-life advocates?
Connie Mackey, senior vice president of the legislative arm of the Family Research Council says no.
There are some who say, ‘Well, all we need from Giuliani, for instance, is a promise that he’ll put in a judge that will be a good constitutionalist,’" she told Congressional Quarterly on Friday. "And we would disagree with that.”
Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, was more blunt.
He says he thinks Giuliani is too pro-abortion to deserve support form the overwhelming majority of Republican voters who are pro-life. Perkins also says he doesn’t think he will be able to capture the party’s nod.
Should Giuliani get the party’s nod for president, Perkins said it would likely hand the White House over to the Democratic candidate because pro-life voters would have no one to support.
The last several elections have been between pro-life Republican and pro-abortion Democratic candidates and a Giuliani nomination would change that dynamic.
"If by some chance Giuliani were to gain the Republican nomination it would set up a very similar scenario that we had last November," Perkins told CBN. "An unenthusiastic Republican base which will suppress turnout and set up a Democratic victory."
Republican voters have previously turned away pro-abortion candidates from capturing the primary nod, including former California Gov. Pete Wilson and Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter. Republicans haven’t had a pro-abortion nominee since Gerald Ford in 1976.
Arizona Sen. John McCain and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney are the top two candidates in the polls apart from Giuliani.
Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee are also running and drawing significant support from the pro-life community.
Other potential Republican candidates include pro-life former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, pro-life Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, pro-life Reps. Duncan Hunter of California and Tom Tancredo of Colorado, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, and former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson.