Ahead of his speech tonight before the Conservative Party of New York, Fred Thompson spoke with Fox’s Neil Cavuto and went after Giuliani for not being a conservative. “I don’t think the mayor has ever claimed to be a conservative,” Thompson said, and argued that Republicans won’t be able to win by acting like Democrats.
While that might be the start of a promising line of attack for Thompson, oddly, Thompson avoided any mention of Giuliani’s greatest vulnerability: social issues. Thompson said he was a “consistent conservative” because he supported “tax cuts, welfare reform, and conservative judges.” But Giuliani has a strong record on the first two of those issues, and has pledged to appoint strict constructionists. Thompson could have mentioned abortion, but didn’t.
Thompson also complimented Giuliani for his handling of crime and the aftermath of 9/11, then said, “But we’re talking about the future security and future prosperity of our country. What’s going to bring about prosperity? And what about the unity of the American people?” Again, Giuliani’s record and current campaign is perfectly consistent with a security and prosperity definition of conservatism.
Why is Thompson holding back on going after Giuliani on the abortion issue, especially at a time when some social conservtives are making noise about a third party?
In other news, Thompson said he would support any of the other Republican candidates if he weren’t the nominee, but that he wouldn’t want to run as a VP.
UPDATE: Giuliani spokeswoman Maria Comella passes on the following response: “Fred Thompson can talk about labels all he wants, but labels are meaningless without results. Mayor Giuliani has done more than just talk like a Conservative, he’s governed like one and has the record to prove it.”