I know this is just a result of his being busted on his donations to Planned Parenthood, but it's kind of nice to see a Republican POTUS candidate stand up to the religious right, even if it's only because pandering didn't work. Giuliani to Support Abortion Rights Published: May 10, 2007 After months of conflicting signals on abortion, Rudolph W. Giuliani is planning to offer a forthright affirmation of his support for abortion rights in public forums, television appearances and interviews in the coming days, despite the potential for bad consequences among some conservative voters already wary of his views, aides said yesterday. At the same time, Mr. Giulianis campaign seeking to accomplish the unusual task of persuading Republicans to nominate an abortion rights supporter is eyeing a path to the nomination that would try to de-emphasize the early states in which abortion opponents wield a great deal of influence. Instead they would focus on the so-called mega-primary of Feb. 5, in which voters in states like California, New York and New Jersey are likely to be more receptive to Mr. Giulianis social views than voters in Iowa and South Carolina. That approach, they said, became more appealing after the Legislature in Florida, another state they said would be receptive to Mr. Giuliani, voted last week to move the primary forward to the end of January. The shift in emphasis comes as the Giuliani campaign has struggled to deal with the fallout from the first Republican presidential candidate debate, in which he gave halting and apparently contradictory responses to questions about his support for abortion rights. Mr. Giulianis aides were concerned both because the responses opened him up to a new round of criticism from abortion critics, who have never been happy with the prospect of a Republican presidential candidate who supports abortion rights, while threatening to undercut his image as a tough-talking iconoclast who does not equivocate on tough issues. The campaigns approach would be a sharp departure from the traditional route to the Republican nomination in the last 20 years, in which Republicans have highlighted their antiabortion views. Mr. Giuliani hinted at what aides said would be his uncompromising position on abortion rights yesterday in Huntsville, Ala., where he was besieged with questions about abortion and his donations to Planned Parenthood. Ultimately, there has to be a right to choose, he said. Asked if Republicans would accept that, he said, I guess we are going to find out. Mr. Giuliani acknowledged that his stance on abortion alone might disqualify him with some voters, but he said, I am at peace with that. His aides said that in focusing on the Feb. 5 and Florida primaries, they were not writing off Iowa, New Hampshire or South Carolina, acknowledging the historic importance of those states and arguing that Mr. Giuliani could do well in South Carolina and New Hampshire. But they said the events of the past week had reinforced the notion that later states were more promising for a moderate Republican, particularly one who was a political celebrity with a big campaign bank account. Along those lines, campaign aides said they were still debating whether Mr. Giuliani would participate in a nonbinding straw poll of Iowa Republicans. That huge Republican gathering this summer is a critical early test for anyone taking part in the caucuses next January. At the same time, Republicans in New Hampshire said yesterday that Mr. Giuliani had been a notably infrequent visitor there, causing annoyance among party activists and speculation that he has given up on the state. Giuliani advisers, describing their strategy in what has emerged as one of the most challenging weeks of his campaign, said Republican primary voters would forgive their concerns about him on abortion and other social issues if they concluded that his positions on those issues would actually appeal to Democratic voters and thus make him the strongest Republican presidential candidate in 2008. From that perspective, Mr. Giuliani benefits from the fact that his major opponents, Senator John McCain of Arizona and Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, are also viewed by Republicans as flawed in some respects. It was revealed yesterday, for instance, that Mr. Romneys wife had also donated to Planned Parenthood. We have so many candidates out there and there is no one emerging candidate that electability is clearly an issue, and people are judging that, said Saul Anuzis, the Michigan Republican Party chairman. There is a pretty big fear with respect to a President Hillary Clinton and even Barack Obama. And people saying we want to make sure we can beat them. Mr. Giulianis aides argued that Republican voters had been aware of his support for abortion rights before last Thursdays debate. And they argued that abortion and other social issues were not as decisive for Republican primary voters in this election, providing Mr. Giuliani with an opportunity to break from a 30-year tradition and run as a Republican nominee who supports abortion rights. His aides said polling had found a relatively small number of voters who would base their vote solely on abortion. They argued that Mr. Giulianis appeal was based on what many Americans see as a tough leadership style that helped turn New York City around in the 1990s, and carry it through the attacks of Sept. 11. Conventional wisdom says he cant win the nomination, said Mike DuHaime, Mr. Giulianis campaign manager, who then played down the significance of the discordance between Mr. Giuliani and much of his party on abortion and other social issues. But we believe that based on his record in New York City, based on his leadership when America was tested on Sept. 11, that he can. The risks for Mr. Giuliani are clearly high. Polling continues to show abortion is a major concern of Republican primary voters. In a New York Times/CBS News poll in March, 41 percent of Republicans thought abortions should be prohibited, compared with 23 percent of Americans in general; in addition, 53 percent of Republicans said they wanted a Republican presidential nominee who would make abortions more difficult to get. The first President Bush supported abortion rights early in his political career. He opposed abortion rights after he ran for vice president, with Ronald Reagan, and when he was elected president in 1988. Mr. Romney also moved from supporting abortion rights to opposing them as he approached the 2008 presidential election. Some conservative Republicans said abortion alone was a major hurdle for Mr. Giuliani. I think its a big problem for him, said Phyllis Schlafly, a longtime opponent of abortion. The Republican Party has been pro-life in its platform ever since 1976, the first platform after Roe, and I think most of the Republicans understand they cant afford to lose the pro-life constituency. Rich Lowry, editor of National Review, the conservative magazine, said, You cant win as a pro-choicer who is going to deliberately set on challenging the partys orthodoxy on the issue. It doesnt have to take him down, Mr. Lowry said of Mr. Giuliani and the abortion issue, but if he continues to mishandle it, its going to be a real problem for him. One of the big ironies for him is he doesnt care about abortion.