The Magazine

The Speech He Needs to Give

Giuliani and social conservatives.

Oct 22, 2007, Vol. 13, No. 06 • By FRED BARNES
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When I asked Giuliani last week about the elements of such a statement, he seemed receptive. Abortions declined in New York when he was mayor, and he suggested the same might happen nationally during a Giuliani presidency. And should Congress pass a bill repealing the Hyde amendment, he said he would veto it.

Perkins says such a statement would "help" to ease anti-Giuliani feeling among social conservatives. Bauer says it would be "a major step." While Land acknowledges that Giuliani "could minimize the damage with statements like that," he says that, as a matter of conscience, he still couldn't vote for Giuliani.

If Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee against Giuliani, that will create a dilemma for social conservatives--but not as much of one as the Giuliani camp might think. Social conservatives won't vote for Clinton, who they see as intensely pro-abortion. "ABC, anybody but Clinton, is not enough to attract social conservatives" to vote for Giuliani, Perkins insists.

This is particularly true of young evangelical Christians. They tend to be independents who vote for Republican candidates because they're anti-abortion. A pro-choice Republican would have little appeal to them, even as the lesser of two evils. "It's not enough to scare them with Hillary," says Bauer.

Giuliani told me that he and social conservatives "have the same goal in mind, a society with no abortions. We have a difference on how to get there." Indeed, there is a difference, and that's the core of the problem confronting Giuliani.

Fred Barnes is the executive editor of THE WEEKLY STANDARD.