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ELECTION 08: Giuliani win ‘would help’ pro-choice movement, abortion rights leader says

WASHINGTON (BP)–The political director of one of the nation’s largest abortion rights groups isn’t endorsing Rudy Giuliani, but if a Republican must win the White House, he’s apparently her pick.

Elizabeth Shipp of NARAL Pro-Choice America told The Huffington Post in an Oct. 10 story that it “would help” the abortion rights movement if Giuliani proves it’s possible a pro-choice candidate can win the Republican nomination and the presidency.

“The Republican Party used to be about the conservative principles of limited government intervention in private life,” Shipp said. “It seems to me if they went back to that and stood out from the rigid mainstream, anti-choice agenda, I think yeah, it would be good for the movement.”

Giuliani’s views on abortion have been controversial among social conservatives, a large part of the Republican base. He has tried to appease them by pledging to appoint “constructionist” judges, although he has remained committed to his pro-choice views.

During a Republican debate in May, he was the only candidate who didn’t support overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court case that legalized abortion nationwide.

“It would be OK to repeal. It would be OK also if a strict constructionist judge viewed it as precedent,” he said. “I think a judge has to make that decision.”

Would NARAL support Giuliani?

“I don’t know yet,” Shipp told The Huffington Post. “He has said some very concerning things since getting into this race. If you have to grade him compared to everyone else you have to give him an incomplete.”

Several prominent conservative leaders, including Richard Land and James Dobson, publicly have said that as private citizens they would not support Giuliani as the Republican nominee.

NARAL formerly was known as the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League.

EVANGELICAL LEADER PROMOTES ROMNEY — A prominent evangelical publicist is urging conservative leaders to support Mitt Romney, saying he’s the only remaining Republican candidate who has a legitimate chance of defeating Rudy Giuliani for the nomination.

The five-page letter from Mark DeMoss, founder of The DeMoss Group, was written to approximately 150 conservative leaders and warns them of what is at stake in the 2008 election. The DeMoss Group serves as a publicist for several prominent conservative groups, including the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and the American Center for Law and Justice.

“Currently, conservatives (whether evangelical or not) are dividing their support among several candidates,” he wrote. “In the long run, this only helps Rudy Giuliani, who clearly does not share our values on so many issues.”

DeMoss believes the GOP nominee will be either Giuliani or Romney, based on polls in early states, fundraising, staff size and organization. The next president, DeMoss said, “is almost certain to appoint two-to-four Supreme Court justices.”

“Perhaps most troubling to me is the idea I keep hearing that electing someone like Hillary Clinton would ‘actually be good for the conservative movement,’ since it will ‘galvanize our forces, enable us to build our mailing lists and raise more money … therefore, I’m not going to vote for anyone this time around.’ Well, I am not willing to risk negatively changing the Supreme Court, and our entire judicial system, for the next 30 years in exchange for building our conservative mailing lists and operating budgets for the next four or eight years. That, in my opinion, is selfish, short-sighted and dangerous.”

DeMoss has worked with the Romney campaign for more than a year and says he has not been paid. He believes Romney shares his values on the “sanctity of life, the sacredness of marriage, the importance of the family, character and integrity, free enterprise and smaller government.” DeMoss acknowledges he has concerns about Romney’s Mormon faith but concludes, “I am more concerned that a candidate shares my values than he shares my theology.”

“As a Southern Baptist evangelical and political conservative, I am convinced I have more in common with most Mormons than I do with a liberal Southern Baptist, Methodist, Roman Catholic or a liberal from any other denomination or faith group,” DeMoss said. “The question shouldn’t be, ‘could I vote for a Mormon,’ but, ‘could I vote for this Mormon?’ After all, Mitt told me there are Mormons he couldn’t vote for (I presume Harry Reid, for example); and there are Southern Baptists I couldn’t vote for (Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, to name a few).”

HILLARY BETTER THAN BILL? — Eastern University professor Tony Campolo personally knows Bill and Hillary Clinton, and he says the latter may be an even better presidential candidate than the former.

“She is the most effective candidate I’ve ever seen,” Campolo told the Marion Daily Republican newspaper. “I’ve watched and worked with her through one major campaign. When she ran for senator, everybody knew she would carry New York City, but what nobody expected was that she’d carry the northern tier of New York, which is extremely conservative. It would probably match Marion in ideology and commitment.”

Campolo met with the Clintons often during Bill Clinton’s two terms in the White House.

“She may be the most astute political genius of our time,” Campolo said. “It’s a strong statement, but I’ve known a lot of politicians and in terms of developing strategy, Bill Clinton is a great strategist, but in terms of knowing constituencies, nobody beats this woman.”

BROWNBACK & TANCREDO CONSIDER OPTIONS — Republican presidential candidates Sam Brownback and Tom Tancredo say their finish in the early states will determine if they stay in the race.

Brownback said if he does not finish in the top four in the Iowa caucus, he will drop out, while Tancredo said if he does not finish in the top three in either Iowa or New Hampshire, he’ll drop his candidacy. Neither one is in the top five in the latest polling in those states. The comments from both men were reported by the Associated Press.
Michael Foust is assistant editor of Baptist Press.

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