Via the Corner:
Giuliani made his sharpest case for moving beyond social issues this weekend in Iowa, telling The Des Moines Register, “Our party is going to grow, and we are going to win in 2008 if we are a party characterized by what we’re for, not if we’re a party that’s known for what we’re against.”
Asked about abortion, he said, “Our party has to get beyond issues like that.”
UPDATE: John Podhoretz urges caution on believing the newspaper report of Rudy’s comments above, which is probably the correctly skeptical way to be when it comes to the media.
A tiny bit of caution here about the Rudy abortion quote. All we have to go on here is a single sentence quoted by a single reporter who assures us he was speaking about abortion and offers no context or elaboration. The reason I have doubts about Giuliani saying something like that so unqualifiedly is that it flies in the face of what he has been doing quietly for two years now, which is to speak respectfully and guardedly about social issues and indicate that while he might not be a pro-lifer himself, he understands how deeply and passionately others feel about the matter. For what it’s worth, which may be nothing.
Rich Lowry says that he’s put in call to the Giuliani campaign and to the reporter, but hasn’t heard back yet. He also points out this:
After the house party, the mayor met with his hosts and a few influential Republicans in the bar at the hotel where he was staying and where a few reporters had also decamped. In a voice loud enough to be overheard on the other side of the room, he outlined his view that the other candidates would divide up the “right-wing,” voters, as he called them, leaving him to consolidate the moderates and the economic and military conservatives who aren’t fixated on social issues.
CHARLES adds: Here’s the context. I’ll admit I don’t find it terribly compelling:
AUDIENCE MEMBER: I have a question about the former platform in the Republican Party allowed abortion in the case of rape, incest, and life of the mother. I believe in that and I believe that because of the abortion issue in the Republican Party it is dividing this party so badly that we may not be able to elect a Republican president and I hope-I’d like to hear what your thoughts are on that.”
MAYOR GIULIANI: “What my thoughts are on the big question? I can tell you my thoughts on both.”
AUDIENCE MEMBER: “The big question.”
GIULIANI: “On the big question my thoughts are we shouldn’t allow it to do that. Electing a Republican in 2008 is so important to the war on terror, the ability to keep up an economy that’s an economy or growth, or from the point of view of what we believe as Republicans to really set us in the wrong direction. Democrats are entitled to think something different but I think that there will be a major difference in the direction of this country whether we have a Republican or Democrat in 2008 and 2009. On abortion I think we should respect each other. I think that’s what we should do and we should respect the fact that this is a very difficult moral question and a very difficult question and that very good people of equally good conscience could come to different opinions on it. My view of it is I hate abortion. I think abortion is wrong. To someone who I cared about or cared to talk to me about it and wanted my advice, the advice I would give them is not to do it and to have adoption as an option to it. When I was the Mayor adoptions went way up, abortions went down but ultimately I respect that that’s somebody else’s decision and that people of conscience can make that decision either way and you can’t put them in jail for it. (applause) And then I think our party, our party has to get beyond issues like that where we can have people who are very good people who have different views about this, they can all be Republican because our party is going to grow and we’re going to win in 2008 if we’re a party that is characterized for what we are for and not if we’re a party that’s known for what we are against. …” (Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Campaign Event, Des Moines IA, 4/14/07)