On the Corner this morning, a transcript of a back and forth on Special Report with Brit Hume:
MORT KONDRACKE: I think [Giuliani's] got a shot. I wouldn’t say he’s favored by any means–I think McCain is favored.
BARNES: I think he has a good shot. I think, look, who draws the big crowds? I mean, he campaigned for everybody, so did McCain, so did Romney they were campaigning for Republican candidates all over the country. All I heard was…Giuliani was getting the big crowds, particularly in the South, where supposedly his social views, which are very liberal, would cause him trouble….If they’re looking for some guy who’s a proven leader and someone who stood up during a crisis like 9/11, well then you have Giuliani.
HUME: How big a problem would Mitt Romney’s Mormonism be with that element of the Republican base?
KONDRACKE: Look, Richard Land who’s with the Southern Baptist Convention said all Mitt Romney has to do is have a Houston Council of Ministers session like John F. Kennedy did so explain that his Catholicism was not going to govern in his presidency and he does the same thing with the–a large Evangelical audience and he can get over this in the situation that they’re going to be tolerant of him.
MARA LIASSON: I think Romney has been, by all accounts, running an excellent campaign. He’s been out there, he’s developing all kinds of infrastructure that Giuliani is only now just beginning to do and he has a policy achievement under his belt, health care and he’s an executive…
Here in Tennessee, I have conversations with moms who are just now tuning in to the 2008 race–you know those normal people with lives and children who aren’t checking Hotline every ten minutes like a heroine addict checks his stash?
When I ask them about Rudy, they’re all shocked to hear of his position on say, partial birth abortion and other matters. The Southern popularity Rudy has is a legitimate appreciation of his leadership after 9/11. There’s no doubt about that. The jury’s still out on how these social conservatives will react when they find out that Rudy, well, isn’t one. When I talk to the moms in my playgroup, they all look a little startled and surprised to hear about his positions–not to mention all the drama in his personal life.
I predict these scandal-fatigued Republicans will still adore him–as we all do and should–but will vote for someone who represents their values.