In what may be one of the most important speeches of his campaign thus far, Mayor Giuliani will make his pitch [today] to Christian conservatives, aiming to convince them that his bona fides on leadership and fiscal discipline should trump his views on social issues like abortion.
Mr. Giuliani is speaking at Regent University, the Christian school founded by the prominent evangelist, Pat Robertson. But rather than focusing on his support for abortion rights and gay rights, which could meet with a chilly reception, the former mayor is expected to play it safe. A campaign spokeswoman, Maria Comella, said he is likely to discuss his proposals to cut taxes and reduce wasteful government spending, which he detailed in a policy speech in Iowa last week.
That would not surprise the dean of Regent’s Robertson School of Government, Charles Dunn, who predicted Mr. Giuliani would steer away from the hot-button social topics. “I expect him to stick with his game plan, to stay with what got him here,” Mr. Dunn said. “I doubt he will say much of anything about his social views.”
While that might disappoint some of the more than 600 people who bought tickets to the luncheon speech, Mr. Dunn said, it could be a smart move for a candidate whose message to conservatives has been that he, more than his rivals, is the one who can win a general election and keep the White House in Republican hands.
Mr. Giuliani has maintained his lead in many national polls, but the rise of a former Massachusetts governor, Mitt Romney, and the likely candidacy of a former Tennessee senator, Fred Thompson, have cut into his support in early voting states such as Iowa and South Carolina, where social conservatives heavily influence the Republican primaries.