Gary Bauer thinks that Pat Robertson’s endorsement this morning of Rudy Giuliani will help the former mayor’s campaign.
"It’s clearly a positive for Giuliani," said Bauer, the conservative leader.
Just how much it matters, though, he’s not prepared to say.
Bauer isn’t committed to any primary candidate but has said he finds Giuliani’s social positions incongruous with those of the Republican base.
He made clear that he doesn’t think the Robertson endorsement of Giuliani is in any way decisive where the evangelical vote is concerned, pointing to Paul Weyrich’s endorsement of Mitt Romney this week and Sam Brownback’s endorsement of John McCain.
The point, he said, is that with Hillary Clinton on the horizon, conservatives are still scrambling to find the candidate that they think could best beat her while also representing their views on social issues, economic policy and foreign policy.
"I don’t want to in any way downplay Pat Robertson’s influence," he said, but "this time, endorsements mean less than they would otherwise."
Still, when pressed, Bauer allowed the possibility that without evangelical leaders rallying around one candidate, the individual endorsements could actually mean more. (A few weeks ago, the group of evangelical leaders including Bauer gave up its search for a consensus candidate and, in his words, "basically released everybody to do what they wanted to do.")
Bauer says that Giuliani’s promise to appoint strict constructionist judges was not as convincing an argument for him as it appears to have been for Robertson, who he said might have received more detailed assurances from Giuliani about specific appointments the former mayor had in mind.
"Saying you want to appoint strict constructionist judges helps close the deal when it is Fred Thompson or Mitt Romney saying it," said Bauer. "But for Giuliani the bar is little bit higher."