Sunday, January 28, 2007

NH Conservatives Like Rudy

More evidence that Giuliani's positions on social issues are not a deal-breaker for conservatives:

I spent Saturday in Manchester, NH where Rudy Giuliani was the keynote speaker at the annual meeting of the Republican State Committee. I plan to write a longer piece on this for our main website on Monday, so I don't want to go into too much detail here. But the bottom line is that the speech was very well received, and after speaking extensively to NH Republican activists, it became clear to me that the primary is very much in play for Rudy, and social issues, while an obstacle, will not be a deal breaker for him here. The closest thing I found to a consensus view was that it's very early, voters want to get to know each of the candidates a lot better before making a decision, but the door is definitely open for Giuliani. It also became clearer that Rudy is unlikely to flip flop on social issues, emphasizing the things that Republicans agree on --fiscal discipline, cutting taxes, personal responsibility, national defense, staying on offense against terrorism. He acknowledged that conservative voters may not agree with him on every issue, but nobody agrees with any candidate 100 percent of the time. He also sounded very much like a candidate, saying, "when I promise you things, if I do, when I do, as I do, I'll promise them because I've done them before," and then boasting about his accomplishments as mayor.

I still wouldn't label him a favorite; we'll have to see how primary voters react when the campaign commercials start. I'm not sure how this plays in South Carolina:

Rudy in drag notwithstanding, the point remains that analysts cannot dismiss his chances simply because of his views on abortion, gay rights, gun control, and immigration.

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