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ELECTION 08: Dobson says he wouldn’t vote for Giuliani

EDITORS’ NOTE: This story is part of a regular series of stories focusing on the most recent news about the presidential candidates’ views on faith and morality.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Focus on the Family’s James Dobson May 17 became at least the second major Christian conservative leader in recent weeks to say he would not vote for Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani in a general election.

Writing in a WorldNetDaily column, Dobson said Giuliani’s liberal positions on abortion and “gay rights,” as well as his personal life, should trouble conservatives. Richard Land, head of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, also has said he would not vote for Giuliani in a general election.

“Speaking as a private citizen and not on behalf of any organization or party, I cannot, and will not, vote for Rudy Giuliani in 2008,” Dobson wrote. “It is an irrevocable decision. If given a Hobson’s -– Dobson’s? -– choice between him and Sens. Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, I will either cast my ballot for an also-ran –- or if worse comes to worst -– not vote in a presidential election for the first time in my adult life. My conscience and my moral convictions will allow me to do nothing else.”

Giuliani, who leads the GOP field in most national polls but trails in the latest polls in Iowa and New Hampshire, is seeking to become the first pro-choice Republican nominee for president since 1976.

“How could Giuliani say with a straight face that he ‘hates’ abortion, while also seeking public funding for it?” Dobson asked. “How can he hate abortion and contribute to Planned Parenthood in 1993, 1994, 1998 and 1999? And how was he able for many years to defend the horrible procedure by which the brains are sucked from the heads of viable, late-term, un-anesthetized babies? Those beliefs are philosophically and morally incompatible. What kind of man would even try to reconcile them?”

Giuliani, Dobson said, “opposed the Marriage Protection Amendment” in Congress and supports domestic partnerships for homosexual couples. The former New York mayor also has been married three times, Dobson noted, “and his second wife was forced to go to court to keep his mistress out of the mayoral mansion while the Giuliani family still lived there.”

“Unlike some other Republican presidential candidates, Giuliani appears not to have remorse for cheating on his wife,” Dobson wrote.

Land said on MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews” May 10 that he would not support Giuliani in a general election.

“I don’t think I could sell [Giuliani] to most [Southern Baptists and evangelicals], and I wouldn’t try,” Land said. “I would say, ‘Vote your values, vote your beliefs and vote your convictions,’ and have to leave it to them to connect the dots. I don’t endorse candidates, but I’m negatively endorsing [Giuliani].”

GIULIANI AND ADOPTION — Giuliani said during the second GOP presidential debate May 15 that under his administration as New York mayor, adoptions in the city increased 133 percent and abortions declined 16 percent. Although those stats generally are true, The New York Times reported May 17, they “mirrored national trends,” and adoptions were increasing before he took office.

Additionally, The Times said, the adoptions statistic refers only to “city agencies involving children in the foster care system” and does not refer to private adoptions. Giuliani is credited with helping reform a broken New York foster care system by creating the Administration for Children’s Services, which helped “improve caseworker responses to reports of neglect” and helped find foster care children permanent homes. But “little if anything in the public record suggests that he was promoting adoption as an alternative to abortion,” The Times story said.

As mayor, the newspaper reported, Giuliani “continued a strong tradition of supporting abortion rights, including using public money to provide poor women with abortions, as well as contraceptive services.”

Maria Comella, a spokesman for Giuliani’s campaign, said Giuliani’s creation of the Administration for Children’s Services, his implementation of welfare reform and other initiatives helped contribute to an increase in adoptions.

“When you’re creating an environment that encourages adoption as a choice that will naturally lend itself to decreasing the number of abortions,” Comella told The Times.

HUCKABEE SAYS ABORTION ISSUE ‘CRITICAL’ — Would Republican candidate and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee consider a vice presidential slot alongside a pro-choice presidential nominee? He’s not sure, saying he’d have to think “long and hard” before making a decision to such an invitation.

“This is an issue to me that is very critical,” he said, according to the Associated Press. “It’s one of the reasons that I got into politics because I believe the manner in which we treat innocent life and the matter in which we respect human life, at whatever stage … is an incredibly powerful statement about who we are as a people.”

Abortion, he said, “is not just some peripheral political position.”

CLINTON VIDEO CRITICIZED — Some pro-life Catholics are criticizing Hillary Clinton’s campaign for releasing a five-minute video showing her in a photo side-by-side with Mother Theresa. The late Catholic nun was a staunch pro-lifer, and in 1994 — with the Clintons in attendance — delivered a memorable speech to the National Prayer Breakfast where she called abortion the “greatest destroyer of peace today.” Conservatives applauded. The Clintons did not.

“And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?” she said, according to a transcript. “… Please don’t kill the child. I want the child. Please give me the child. I am willing to accept any child who would be aborted and to give that child to a married couple who will love the child and be loved by the child.”

Joseph Cella, president of Fidelis, a pro-life Catholic organization, said it is “wholly inappropriate, disrespectful and disturbing” for the Clinton campaign to be using the picture.

“Mother Teresa tirelessly fought to protect unborn children, while Hillary Clinton staunchly supports abortion on demand in all nine months of pregnancy, including partial birth abortion and taxpayer funding of abortion,” he said in a statement.

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  • Michael Foust