Giuliani Clipped

Hotline points out that the now infamous YouTube clip from 1989 of Rudy supporting public funding for abortion was edited to make him look worse:

The clip shows Giuliani describing his opposition to Pres. George H.W. Bush‘s public-funding-for-abortion bill veto by saying: “There must be public funding for abortions for poor women. We cannot deny any woman the right to make her own decision about abortion because she lacks resources. I have also stated that I disagree with President Bush’s veto last week of public funding for abortion.”

The clip omitted the following sentence: “That I disagree with President Bush’s veto last week of public funding for abortions for rape or incest victims.” Giuliani now says he supports the Hyde Amendment as currently constituted and would not seek to change the law.

A single sentence makes a world of difference.

Yes, it does. The Hyde Amendment bars federal financing of abortion, but still allows it in the cases of rape, incest, or the life of the mother. So, in 1989, he wasn’t arguing against the Hyde Amendment, but a more restrictive version of the Hyde Amendment. Though this won’t repair the damage he did last week in his comments to CNN, or remedy his broader problem on the abortion issue, with the added context, it allows him more room to stand by his support of the Hyde Amendment without being branded a flip-flopper.

Viewing the video in full context reinforces something I wrote last week, which is the importance of “relentless preperation” for the Giuliani campaign. The YouTube clip, which is what prompted the question by CNN’s Dana Bash that caused problems for Giuliani in last week’s interview, had been floating around for weeks. Had Giuliani known of it ahead of time, and had he been aware that it was edited, he could have responded to Bash by saying that the video had been edited to make him look worse, that at the time he opposed denying funding in to rape or incest victims, and he still holds that view, but he supports the Hyde Amendment because it includes an exception.

It may be unrealistic to expect Giuliani to know about every detail of every little item that’s making the rounds on the Internet, but when it comes to the abortion issue, which going in he knew would be the most difficult for him to navigate, he should have his position down cold, and be ready to discuss every angle. The next shoe to drop may be partial birth abortion, which he now says he supports banning, but he opposed the ban as a Senate candidate in 2000. At some point, an interviewer will ask him why he made the shift, and he better be able to field the question. So far, he’s been saying he supports a ban as long as it has an exception for the life of the mother, but that’s a moot point because the legislation he opposed in 2000 did have that exception.

UPDATE: Over at RedState, Erick says emphasizing the additional sentence is just “disengenuous spin.”

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