Rudy and the Club for Growth

In a private address to a conservative group last weekend in Florida, Rudy Giuliani described himself as the only real fiscal conservative in the presidential race. He also took a hard line on security policy, and stressed the notion that his views were consistent.

The speech and the following question and answer session, which I reported on in this week’s paper, also showed how Giuliani is continuing to try to smooth over his differences with conservatives on social issues.

Talking about fiscal discipline to members of the Club for Growth, Giuliani said, “We need a president who has actually practiced it, there in the battlefields, and won battles for fiscal discipline and I’m the only one that’s done that.” On the subject of security, he said that Democrats aspired to a foreign policy that would “appease” terrorists.

He seemed to take a dig at his Republican rivals, who have been criticized of pandering to the Republican base by reversing some of their positions. “When a candidate for president starts twisting up all their views to get your support now,” Giuliani said, “it reduces their effectiveness to lead.”

He then proceeded to offer carefully calibrated answers to questions about his positions on immigration, gun control and abortion rights.

To a questioner who said that more people died from abortion than in Sept. 11th, Giuliani replied, “What you are saying I take very, very seriously.”

“I’ve thought about if for many, many years,” he continued. “I’ve discussed it, prayed about it, and I respect very much your view. I’m against abortion, I think abortion is wrong. If it were a personal decision I advise anyone not to have an abortion,” said Mr. Giuliani, who added “We have to leave it to individual choice.”

– Jason Horowitz