Theodore Olson, the stalwart conservative lawyer and former solicitor general for the Bush administration, told the Spectator he will be supporting Rudy Giuliani’s presidential bid.
“I admire his character, his capacity for leadership, his instincts, and his principles,” Olson said over the phone this afternoon. He said he will help Giuliani raise money as well as offer advice on legal issues and domestic policy matters that involve constitutional questions.
Olson and Giuliani have been longtime friends since serving in the Reagan Justice Department from 1981-1983, when Olson was assistant attorney general in charge of the office of legal counsel and Giuliani was associate attorney general. Olson said they met with Attorney General William French Smith every morning and worked closely on a number of issues.
The support of Olson should help Giuliani in his quest to win over social conservatives who remain skeptical of his pledge to appoint strict constructionist judges.
“I’ve known him for 26 years and we’ve talked about this many times,” Olson said. “He feels very strongly that people like Justice Scalia, Chief Justice Roberts, Sam Alito, Clarence Thomas, are the type of people that he would put on the court…I’m quite convinced that this is a genuine viewpoint that he has.”
When asked about differences conservatives have with Giuliani on issues such as abortion and gay rights, Olson said: “Rudy’s views on many, many issues are going to be very compatible with people in the conservative political community and the political legal community. Nobody’s going to be able to find a candidate with whom they agree with 100 percent on every issue. Overall, Rudy’s strength of character, his capacity for leadership in a time when a strong executive is important, his energy level, his ability to provide the kind of leadership that Ronald Reagan did — I think that is going to be very persuasive with conservatives.”
Olson gave a $2,100 contribution to Giuliani’s presidential exploratory committee in December, according to FEC filings. Records also show that Olson contributed $2,000 to Giuliani’s U.S. Senate campaign in 1999, before Giuliani dropped out of the race because of his battle with prostate cancer. As solicitor general, Olson was a tireless legal advocate for the Bush administration’s policies in the War on Terror. In 2004, he and Giuliani co-signed a letter to Congress in support of the PATRIOT Act.
Olson will remain a partner at the law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, but said he would help Giuliani “in any way he wants.”
“The more the American people see Rudy, and relate to him, and listen to him, the more they’re going to be supporting him,” Olson said.