Giuliani on abortion
Republican presidential candidate Rudolph W. Giuliani yesterday defended his stance on abortion.
“Ultimately I believe it’s an individual right and a woman should make that choice,” the former New York mayor said during a press conference at the South Carolina Statehouse in Columbia.
“I tell people what I think. I tell them [to] evaluate me as I am and do not expect them to agree with me on everything. I don’t agree with me on everything,” Mr. Giuliani said. “If that’s the most important thing, then I’m comfortable with the fact you won’t vote for me.”
The comments came as South Carolina lawmakers push a measure that would require women seeking abortions to first view ultrasound images of their fetus. If the South Carolina measure is approved, the state would be the first to make such a requirement. Other states require the images be made available to women.
Mr. Giuliani said states should make the call on such issues. “The Legislature of South Carolina should make its decision about that,” he said, adding that states should make the decision whether to use public money for abortions.
Mr. Giuliani’s campaign aides say that if elected, he won’t seek to change current federal law, which only allows public funding for abortions in the cases of rape and incest or when the mother’s life is in jeopardy.
Romney the hunter
Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney has told audiences on several occasions, most recently this week in New Hampshire, that he has been a longtime hunter. But it turns out he has been on only two hunting trips.
In a question-and-answer session Tuesday in Keene, N.H., Mr. Romney spoke of his experience with hunting in a manner that suggested a close affiliation with the sport.
“I purchased a gun when I was a young man. I’ve been a hunter pretty much all my life,” he told a man sporting a National Rifle Association cap.
Yet the former Massachusetts governor’s hunting experience came during two trips at the bookends of his 60 years: As a 15-year-old, when he hunted rabbits with his cousins on a ranch in Idaho, and last year, when he shot quail on a fenced game preserve in Georgia, the Associated Press reports.
An aide said Wednesday that Mr. Romney was not trying to mislead anyone, although he confirmed that the candidate had been hunting only on those occasions.
“Governor Romney’s support for the Second Amendment doesn’t come from the fact he knows how to handle a firearm; it comes from his appreciation of the Constitution and the rights enshrined in it, including the right to keep and bear arms,” campaign spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom said.
“Some people were dumbstruck that Mitt Romney won the GOP presidential campaign’s first ‘money primary,’ raising $23 million to Rudy Giuliani’s $15 million and John McCain’s $12.5 million. They shouldn’t have been,” writes David Reinhard in the Oregonian newspaper.
“Now, some of the same people are brushing off Romney’s win, pointing out — correctly, to be sure — that big gobs of campaign cash don’t always buy convention delegates (John Connally, Phil Gramm and Howard Dean, for instance) and that Romney is polling behind McCain, Giuliani and some Republicans who aren’t yet running (Fred Thompson). They shouldn’t be dismissive either.
“Why? Because the same thing that accounted for Romney’s first-quarter fundraising totals will allow him to translate that cash into higher poll numbers and, ultimately, convention delegates.
“And that same thing is?
“Mitt Romney himself.
“It’s that simple. The more people come to know Romney — his record as a businessman, head of the 2002 Winter Olympics and Massachusetts governor, his deftly articulated governing philosophy and his toughness and decency — the better he’ll do. He’s that kind of special, and I write this as [a noncommitted] someone who’s hoping conservative Fred Dalton Thompson, the ‘Law and Order’ actor and former Tennessee senator, jumps in the race.”
“Two thousand years ago on the road to Damascus, Saul of Tarsus was struck blind, fell off his donkey, heard the voice of the Lord and became St. Paul,” the New York Post’s John Podhoretz writes.
“This week on the road to Damascus, riding on the Democratic donkey, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was struck blind by a prideful ambition — the ambition to conduct a foreign policy for the United States toward the terrorist nation of Syria separate from the one conducted by the president,” Mr. Podhoretz said.
“On the road to Damascus, St. Paul became one of the revolutionary figures of world civilization.
“Nancy Pelosi — not so much.
“[Wednesday], following a meeting with Syria’s tyrant in Damascus, Pelosi proudly informed the world that ‘I conveyed the message from [Israeli] Prime Minister [Ehud] Olmert that Israel is ready to restart negotiations as well as to talk peace.’
“Almost instantly, Olmert’s office issued a clarification saying that Pelosi had mischaracterized Israel’s position: The Jewish state will not negotiate with Syria until it ceases its sponsorship of terrorist organizations, stops destabilizing Lebanon and stops making common cause with Iran.
“Pelosi said she had come to Syria ‘determined that the road to Damascus would be the path to peace.’ How nice. Too bad Syria is about as interested in peace with Israel as Pelosi is interested in peace with George W. Bush.”
Nuts for Pelosi
“In visiting Syria this week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi no doubt meant well,” the Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Claudia Rosett writes.
“She wants dialogue. As a woman, mother, and now the third-highest-ranking elected official in American politics, she has achieved a great deal in life by talking with people. On this trip she made a point of showing how easy it is to interact with Syrians, with an itinerary that included a visit to a souk in Damascus — where she was photographed holding out her hand while a cheerful vendor gave her some nuts,” the writer says.
“Unfortunately, that photo-op sums up the best that can be said about Pelosi’s trip: Nuts.”
In an effort to manage the flood of debate requests the presidential contenders receive, the Democratic National Committee announced yesterday it would sanction six debates before the early voting contests begin in January.
The debates will take place once a month between July and December, with specific cities and news partners still to be worked out, the Associated Press reports.
Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or firstname.lastname@example.org.