Incidentally, I see shades of both John McCain and Mitt Romney in Rudy Giuliani’s comments on taxpayer-funded abortion yesterday. Like Romney in 1994 and 2002, Giuliani is in a tough position: He is a pro-choice candidate trying to make overtures to pro-life Republicans. As Romney learned, both critics and the media are quick to detect these overtures and respond by prompting the candidate to reaffirm his pro-choice position. That’s what happened to Romney in his YouTube-worthy moments in Massachusetts and it’s happening to Giuliani now, resulting in more emphatic and less nuanced pro-choice statements.
But in one respect, Giuliani is more like McCain than Romney. One of McCain’s problems with the conservative base is that he finds it difficult to stay “on message” when the message conflicts with his feelings or beliefs, causing him to blurt out what he really thinks, sometimes in less than diplomatic language. It looks like Giuliani is going to have a similar problem on abortion, where he does not want to seem like a flip-flopper and where he does appear to have some genuine pro-choice convictions. This tendency speaks well of both McCain and Giuliani personally, but it does them no favors politically.
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