The Republican who finished second in Iowa’s 1988 Caucuses has endorsed Rudy Giuliani’s 2008 bid for the White House. Reverend Pat Robertson made the endorsement public this morning and Giuliani spoke with Radio Iowa by phone shortly afterwards.
“Pat, after all, was a candidate for president of the United States. He has support all over the country. He is obviously very well known among Christian conservatives and people that are considered social conservatives,” Giuliani told Radio Iowa. “…His advice and his support means a great deal.”
Giuliani suggested the Robertson backing sort of inoculates him from critics in his party who want the next president to appoint justices to the U.S. Supreme Court who would overturn Roe v. Wade, the decision which legalized abortion. “It says to people that my commitment to appoint strict constructionist conservative judges is one they can trust. After all, Pat Robertson trusts it,” Giuliani said. “…The reality is that that is exactly what I would do.”
Some conservatives in the Republican Party had vowed to back a third-party candidate next year if Giuliani becomes the GOP’s nominee. Giuliani points to Robertson’s endorsement as evidence “a substantial number” of social conservatives support him. “Pat makes the point that every single poll that’s been taken makes which is that I get a plurality of voters among people who describe themselves as social conservatives,” Giuliani said. “I think they find me far more acceptable than in some cases some of…their leaders find me.”
Robertson has gained attention recently for making inflammatory statements, but Giuliani said no one in public life can escape controversy from time to time. “Pat Robertson supports me not because he agrees with me on everything and I don’t agree with him on everything. He supports me because we agree on what we think are the primary issues facing Americans: dealing with Islamic terrorism, dealing with the war on terror, dealing with the out-of-control spending in Washington,” Giuliani said. “He sees me…as having been one of the most effective conservatives in the way that I ran New York City fiscally.”
Robertson was the surprise victor of the 1987 Iowa Republican Party Straw Poll and finished ahead of then Vice President George Bush in the ’88 Caucuses — signals Christian conservatives were becoming a force in GOP politics. Giuliani has not waged as aggressive a campaign in Iowa to date, but hinted that’s in the works.
“Our whole strategy has been to build up and then near the end spend a great deal of time working on trying to win or do as well as we can in Iowa and New Hampshire, South Carolina and just to show you that’s correct, today (and tomorrow) I’m going to be in both South Carolina and Iowa,” Giuliani said. “…We’re spending a good deal of time trying to make sure that we do as well as we can in what are now described as the early states.”