In a lackluster debate with a mediocre field, ten GOP Presidential contenders tonight reached to the right on abortion as the lone semi-pro-choice candidate, Rudy Giuliani, said he would not defend Roe v. Wade.
"It would be okay to repeal it. It would be okay also if a strict constructionist viewed it as precedent,"Giuliani said of Roe. The other nine candidates clearly welcomed the day that a court might overturn Roe, with Sen. Sam Brownback calling it a "glorious day for human life and freedom."
As the lone moderate, Giuliani has been attempting to make himself more appealing to social conservatives by saying "strict constructionist" in every other sentence for weeks now as he erodes his pro-choice credentials. His only chance at the nomination seems based on his character, leadership and integrity overshadowing his liberal record on social policies and conservatives holding their nose to vote for him. Pandering seems to undercut his strength.
“All 10 candidates tonight told Americans that, if elected, they will continue George W. Bush’s divisive attacks on a woman’s right to choose,” said Nancy Keene, President of NARAL Pro-Choice America.
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“Americans are tired of politicians interfering in our most personal, private medical decisions," Keene said. She contrasted tonight's debate with the Democrats' one week ago saying, the Democrats, "endorsed common sense policies that would prevent unintended pregnancies and thereby reduce the need for abortion, without making it more dangerous or difficult."
Giuliani tried to have it both ways on a question about expanded federal dollars for stem cell research, saying he supports it so long as we are not "creating life to destroy it." Only McCain was clearly supportive of expanded funds for scientific research, with Thompson sitting on the fence saying the field is fluid because of the amount of research.