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New Yorkers Need Not Apply: Pataki, Giuliani Too 'Pro Gay' For GOP

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New Yorkers Need Not Apply: Pataki, Giuliani Too 'Pro Gay' For GOP

by Marc Humbert, Associated Press

April 27, 2006 - 3:00 pm ET

(Albany, New York) The nation's senior governor was in New Hampshire on Thursday while "America's Mayor" was preparing to fly to Iowa as they continue their explorations of the 2008 presidential landscape.

But ask Phyllis Schlafly what chance New Yorkers George Pataki and Rudolph Giuliani have of being the Republican presidential nominee and her answer comes quickly:

"Not much."

"I don't think Giuliani or Pataki will resonate with grass-roots Republicans or Midwest Republicans," said the Kansas-based conservative activist. "They are SO New York."

Schlafly's out-of-hand dismissal of the former mayor and the three-term governor mirrors what many pundits and party activists have been saying: Giuliani and Pataki, supporters of abortion and gay rights as well as tough gun control laws, are too liberal for the conservative Republicans who tend to dominate the presidential primaries.

That reality has not deterred Giuliani or Pataki.

Pataki, who is not seeking a fourth term this year, was to be in New Hampshire on Thursday night and Friday. He was to deliver the keynote address at Delaware's state GOP convention on Saturday. New Hampshire hosts the nation's first primary with Delaware following soon thereafter.

Giuliani visits Iowa, site of the caucuses that kick off the presidential nomination process, to boost Rep. Jim Nussle's GOP campaign for governor and deliver a motivational speech in Des Moines. The next day, the former mayor headlines a National Republican Senatorial Committee fundraiser in Washington.

Both have carefully crafted story lines: Giuliani, the resolute leader in the face of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks; Pataki, the Republican who won three terms in an overwhelmingly Democratic state. Omitted from the on-the-road biographies is mention of the liberal social policies that have helped win elections in New York, but could prove a liability with voters elsewhere.

"I just cannot see them pulling the lever for Rudy or for Pataki," said Chuck Hurley of the Iowa Family Policy Center.

Abortion is the fatal issue, according to Schlafly.

"The battle has been fought at Republican National Conventions over a long time," said Schlafly, who has been to every GOP convention since 1952, 11 as a delegate or alternate. "It's a done deal for the Republican Party."

"His personal life is no help," she added, noting the highly publicized breakup of Giuliani's second marriage in 2000 while he was squiring Judith Nathan, now his third wife, around town. "That really doesn't fly out here."

The recent dominance of social conservatives in selecting GOP presidential candidates has not escaped the attention of Pataki's inner-circle.

"The political center has disappeared, and the Republican Party has become the party of the Christian right more so than in any other period in modern history," reclusive Pataki strategist Arthur Finkelstein told an Israeli newspaper in an unusually frank interview after President Bush's 2004 re-election.

"Bush's victory not only establishes the power of the American Christian right in this candidacy, but in fact established its power to elect the next Republican president," Finkelstein added.

Pataki denounced the remarks as "wrong and stupid" and said he felt "the Republican Party is a big tent."

Nonetheless, independent pollster Lee Miringoff said if Giuliani and Pataki decide to run, they will have to deal with the "litmus issues."

"It's a question of whether they can effectively make counter arguments. I assume they will talk about their values and what their vision of the Republican Party is," said Miringoff, head of Marist College's Institute for Public Opinion in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. "I don't think they're in a position to say, 'That's not really what I meant.'"

"Rudy is who Rudy is," said Giuliani adviser Sunny Mindel.

Arguing the former mayor's positions on social issues are well known, Mindel said the Republican Party "is a big tent and his record stands for itself. Authenticity counts tremendously, as do his bona fides on issues relevant to security."

Giuliani has also been courting the right.

He spoke to a Global Pastors Network conference of evangelicals in Florida in January and will headline a May 18 fundraiser in Atlanta for Ralph Reed, the former Christian Coalition leader now running for lieutenant governor in Georgia.

While recently telling CNN he would "never speak an ill word about him because he means so much to America," the Rev. Jerry Falwell said he could also not support Giuliani for president because of "irreconcilable differences on life and family and that kind of thing."

At the moment, Giuliani is riding high in national polls that show him and Sen. John McCain of Arizona leading the pack of potential 2008 GOP presidential contenders. Those polls have Pataki as a statistical afterthought.

But Miringoff said GOP voters nationwide generally don't know where Giuliani stands on abortion, gay rights and gun control. Voters know even less about Pataki.

"When we ask voters about Rudy Giuliani, they don't think of him as a liberal, they think of him in his 9/11, heroic way," the pollster said.

The 9/11 legacy is nothing to sneeze at for Giuliani or Pataki, according to some influential GOP leaders.

"They both have great, proven records in leading New York through some very difficult times, which New Hampshire voters appreciate," said Jayne Millerick, a former Granite State GOP chairwoman.

"Giuliani or Pataki could make an early run," said Nelson Warfield, an aide on Bob Dole unsuccessful 1996 GOP presidential campaign. "But, as the race narrows and a conservative front-runner pulls away, liberal views on social issues will hobble Giuliani or Pataki."

Schlafly said Republicans across the country will be happy to have Pataki and particularly Giuliani -- "He's kind of a celebrity" -- raise money for them, but when it comes to picking a presidential candidate, even the former mayor will be quickly nudged aside.

"They'll let him make a speech and get applause at the convention, but I think that's as far as it's going to go," she said.

"He will not be jeered. He will not be hissed," said Iowa's Hurley. "People will say good job, but we can't have you supporting our Supreme Court."

©365Gay.com 2006

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