One of the takeaway lines was: "There are always disagreements. And then some people just won't be able to vote for you. You got to live with that. Reality is you got to be who you are. You got to be honest with people." Reading between the lines, this shows that Giuliani knows that there are a lot of social conservatives that he simply won't be able to win over. So, what he is aiming to do is try to make those conservatives who like him for other reasons more comfortable with him by making them feel that whatever his philosophical differences are, in practice, his presidency won't be about imposing a liberal social agenda on the country.
So here's how he's going to try and make social conservatives feel better.
He said he would support a ban on partial birth abortion as long as there was an exception for the life of the mother. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that the partial birth abortion ban he opposed when initially running for the Senate in 2000, did have an exception for the life of the mother. So, this appears to be a reversal on Rudy's part.
He also reiterated his support for judges in the Alito/Scalia/Roberts mold. "I would appoint judges that interpreted the constitution rather than invented it. Understood the difference of being a judge and a legislator….I don't think you have a litmus test. But I do think you have a general philosophical approach that you want from a justice. I think a strict instruction would be probably the way I describe it. "
However, he wouldn't say Roe v. Wade was wrongly and should be overturned, instead he said it was for the courts to decide. Although, no doubt to the chagrin of pro-lifers, he said, "at this point its precedent." On abortion itself he said, "I oppose it. I don't like it. I hate it. I think abortion is something that is a personal matter I would advise somebody against. However, I believe in a woman's right to choose. I think you have to ultimately not put a woman in jail for that. I think ultimately you have to leave that to a disagreement of conscience and have to respect the choice that somebody makes."
On guns, he took a federalist approach, and put his support for the 1994 crime bill and assault weapons ban in the context of his trying to cut homicide in
On immigration, he talked about tougher border security and earned citizenship, with an English language requirement and understanding of American history at the end of the road. He also talked about differentiating between those who come here to deal drugs and commit crimes, who should be deported, and those came here as maids or restaurant workers.
On gay marriage, he reiterated his position that he supports domestic partnership rights, but believes marriage should be between a man and a woman.
Will this be enough to win over social conservatives who otherwise like him for his record as a tax-cutting, crime fighting, mayor and 9/11 hero? We'll know in about a year.
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