Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Giuliani to be Forthright on Abortion

Frankly, I welcome this news:

After months of conflicting signals on abortion, Rudolph W. Giuliani is planning to offer a forthright affirmation of his support for abortion rights in public forums, television appearances and interviews in the coming days, despite the potential for bad consequences among some conservative voters already wary of his views, aides said yesterday.

At the same time, Mr. Giuliani’s campaign — seeking to accomplish the unusual task of persuading Republicans to nominate an abortion rights supporter — is eyeing a path to the nomination that would try to de-emphasize the early states in which abortion opponents wield a great deal of influence. Instead they would focus on the so-called mega-primary of Feb. 5, in which voters in states like California, New York and New Jersey are likely to be more receptive to Mr. Giuliani’s social views than voters in Iowa and South Carolina.

That approach, they said, became more appealing after the Legislature in Florida, another state they said would be receptive to Mr. Giuliani, voted last week to move the primary forward to the end of January.

The shift in emphasis comes as the Giuliani campaign has struggled to deal with the fallout from the first Republican presidential candidate debate, in which he gave halting and apparently contradictory responses to questions about his support for abortion rights.

We've noted many times that Giuliani has been inconsistent and contradictory on abortion. Let's start off by saying that if this means he is going to clear the air about what he thinks, so much the better. His problems in speaking about the issue were undercutting his effectiveness as a campaigner in general.

We'll see how much changes substantively. I don't imagine the Mayor is going to suddenly announce an intent to impose a pro-Wade litmus test on Supreme Court nominees. Nor does it seem likely that he will backtrack too much on the Hyde amendment. This could all wind up much more about style than substance.

In many ways, Mayor Giuliani is the strongest candidate in the GOP field. It's clear that he has tried to moderate his positions to appeal to social conservatives, and it wasn't working all that well.

Let's see the real Rudy Giuliani and find out whether his views are all that bad.

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