Giuliani to right: ‘You have nothing to fear from me’

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) went into the lion’s den Saturday morning and urged members of the religious right to overlook their significant disagreements on social issues.

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Speaking to the Family Research Council’s Values Voters Summit, the former mayor spoke at length about “our shared values and our shared goals.”

“I’m not going to pretend to you that I can be all things to all people. I’m just not like that,” Giuliani said. “You know we have some areas of disagreement.
“Please know this, you have nothing to fear from me.”

Giuliani did not shy away from the abortion question, which drove many religious leaders to loudly criticize the former mayor before his plane even landed.

“People of good conscience come to different conclusions about whether abortion should be legal in some circumstances,” Giuliani said. “But you and I share the same goal: An America without abortions.”

It is unlikely that Giuliani satisfied the leaders of the evangelical movement with his speech, but he was warmly received by the crowd, and the applause appeared to be more than just a polite formality.

There was a moment of levity in an otherwise solemn speech when the former mayor inadvertently mixed up his words and almost said he wanted to increase abortions and decrease adoptions. The crowd responded with nervous laughter.

But all in all, Giuliani passed a major test Saturday by focusing on his strengths, namely his repeated assertion that he cleaned up New York City.

Giuliani asked the crowd if they had been to Manhattan, and after many raised their hands, he said: “I bet you’re not afraid to come there anymore.”

Though he repeatedly talked of praying for forgiveness, Giuliani was unapologetic about his beliefs.

“What you’re entitled to from me is what I really believe,” he said.

Giuliani began his speech in an apparent attempt to ask the crowd to include him in their consideration for the presidency.

“We’ve got to find a way to be more inclusive,” he said. “Christians and Christianity is all about inclusiveness.”

Some audience members were won over.

Sheldon Kisel said he was “much more impressed than I expected to be,” and added that Giuliani “did what he had to do” and “neutralized a lot of people that were hostile to him.

Annie Franklin quickly added, “I was much more impressed than I wanted to be.”

In related news, The Hill caught up with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) Saturday morning.

When asked if Sen. Sam Brownback’s (R-Kan.) withdrawal from the race for the GOP nomination had helped his chances, Huckabee joked “What’ll help me is if they all drop out.”

Huckabee had just flown in from the early voting state of New Hampshire where he said “good things are starting to happen” for his candidacy.