by Steven Ertelt
February 16, 2007
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor, enjoys substantial leads in both national polls of Republicans and surveys of likely GOP voters in Iowa and New Hampshire. However, a new poll from Fox News finds a substantial number of Republicans don’t know that he backs legalized abortion.
Though no pro-abortion Republican has been nominated for president since Gerald Ford in 1976, Giuliani is playing well to GOP voters because of his handling of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
That may be all many voters know about the former mayor.
A new Fox News poll released yesterday finds that only 42 percent of GOP voters correctly identified Giuliani as pro-abortion. Some 21 percent say he’s pro-life and another 36 percent don’t know where he stands.
Giuliani’s high poll numbers will likely drop once more voters find out he supports abortion.
That’s because the poll showed 46 percent of GOP voters are less likely to support a pro-abortion candidate — with 36% a lot less likely and 10 percent somewhat less likely. Only 22 percent are more likely to support an abortion advocate.
That means nearly half of the people who will make the decision at the ballot box in early 2008 as to who will represent the Republican Party in the next election will be less inclined to back Giuliani and about 60 percent of GOP voters have yet to find out that he supports abortion.
Those numbers could be why Giuliani has been soft-peddling his pro-abortion stance in recent media interviews.
During a CNN interview this week where he said he was definitely running for president, 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.”
Richard Land, the Chairman of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Convention, agrees.
Land said “the vast majority” of pro-life voters will not vote for the former mayor even if he gets the nomination.