Rudy Brings Gun To A Knife Fight

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There was a time when comparing your opponent in a Republican presidential primary to a Clinton was considered so below-the-belt that it would backfire. That’s what happened to John McCain in South Carolina back in 2000, when he went on the air with an ad accusing then-Gov. George W. Bush, not unreasonably, of twisting the truth “like Clinton.” Bush fired back immediately with an ad full of righteous indignation. A lot of other factors were involved, of course, as this NYT article recalls, but the McCain ad backfired and was pulled.

Now Rudy Giuliani may be about to find out whether the old rules have changed. In a blistering press release attack today, the Giuliani campaign suggests that GOP rival Mitt Romney is, or at least once was, a Hillary Clinton clone. It’s a clever, but risky, strategy: Giuliani is essentially arguing to social conservatives that Romney used to be as liberal as he is on social issues but that he can’t be trusted because he’s changed his mind, getting right with the social right as a matter of political expediency rather than conscience. The question is whether social/religious conservatives will buy what the Mayor is selling: that it’s better to have an admittedly pro-choice president than a president who converted to the pro-life position just as he was about to launch a presidential campaign.

Here’s the press release the top of the very long press release*, the entirety of which can be found here:

MITT & HILLARY SINGING FROM THE SAME SONG SHEET

“Mitt Romney’s latest political pandering proves yet again he is merely a candidate of convenience. Mitt’s ever-changing positions and negative attacks scream of a losing candidate who has spent millions of his own money only to find Republican voters want something he cannot buy — true leadership.”

– Katie Levinson, Communications Director

MITT AND HILLARY HAVE IDENTICAL STANCES …

On “It Takes A Village”

Clinton: “When I Am Talking About ‘It Takes A Village’, I’m Obviously Not Talking Just About Or Even Primarily About Geographical Villages Any Longer, But About The Network Of Relationships And Values That Do Connect Us And Binds Us Together.” (Hillary Clinton, Speech At Harvard’s Kennedy School Of Government, Cambridge, MA, 10/4/96)

Romney: “Hillary Clinton Is Very Much Right, It Does Take A Village, And We Are A Village And We Need To Work Together In A Non-Skeptical, Non-Finger-Pointing Way…” (“For City Problems, Future Solutions,” The Boston Globe, 3/1/98)

On Abortion

Hillary Clinton: “I Am And Always Have Been Pro-Choice, And … It Is Not A Right That Any Of Us Should Take For Granted.” (Adam Nagourney, “Hillary Clinton Vows To Fight To Preserve Abortion Rights,” The New York Times, 1/22/00)

Romney In 1994 Said He Believed “Abortion Should Be Safe And Legal In This Country; I Have Since The Time That My Mom Took That Position When She Ran In 1970 As A U.S. Senate Candidate.” (“Excerpt From Debate By Kennedy And Romney,” The New York Times, 10/26/94)

2002 Romney Campaign Website Stated He Would “Protect The Current Pro-Choice Status Quo,” As “The Choice To Have An Abortion Is A Deeply Personal One. Women Should Be Free To Choose Based On Their Beliefs, Not The Government’s.” “As Governor, Mitt Romney would protect the current pro-choice status quo in Massachusetts. No law would change. The choice to have an abortion is a deeply personal one. Women should be free to choose based on their own beliefs, not the government’s.” (Romney For Governor Website, Accessed Via Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine: http://web.archive.org/web/20021003090527/www.romney2002.com/issues/, Accessed 6/18/07)

On Roe V. Wade

Clinton: “I Am So Pleased To Be Here Two Days After The 32nd Anniversary Of Roe V. Wade, A Landmark Decision That Struck A Blow For Freedom And Equality For Women.” (Sen. Hillary Clinton, Remarks To The NYS Family Planning Providers, Washington, DC, 1/24/05)

Romney In 1994: “I Believe That Roe V. Wade Has Been The Law For 20 Years, That We Should Sustain And Support It, And I Sustain And Support That Law And The Right Of A Woman To Make That Choice.” (“Excerpt From Debate By Kennedy And Romney,” The New York Times, 10/26/94)

On The Morning After Pill

Clinton: “I Am hopeful That The FDA Will Come To Its Senses And Announce A New Policy Making Plan B [Emergency Contraception] Available …. Emergency Contraception [Is] A Basic Tool That Could Help Rape Victims Prevent The Trauma Of Unintended Pregnancies, Avoid Abortions, And Safeguard Their Reproductive And Mental Health.” (Sen. Hillary Clinton, Remarks To The NYS Family Planning Providers, Washington, DC, 1/24/05)

Romney In 1994: “My Understanding Is It’s An Effective Morning-After Pill, And I Think It Would Be A Positive Thing To Have Women Have The Choice Of Taking The Morning-After Pill … I Would Favor Having It Available.” (Andrew Miga, “Romney Leans Toward Abort Rights Camp,” Boston Herald, 5/19/94)

On The NRA

Hillary Clinton: “When The NRA Says Jump, Too Many Members Of Congress Say, ‘How High?’” (Steve Turnham, “Gunfight,” CNN.com, 2/26/04)

Romney In 1994: “I Don’t Line Up With The NRA.” (Scott Helman, “Romney Retreats On Gun Control,” The Boston Globe, 1/14/07)

On Gun Control

Clinton: “I Think [We Need To] Think Hard About What We Can Do To Make Sure We Keep Guns Out Of The Hands Of Children And Criminals And Mentally Unbalanced People.” (Editorial, “Beware Of Those With Easy Answers,” Boston Herald, 7/31/99)

Romney On Gun Control In 2002: “We Do Have Tough Gun Laws In Massachusetts. I Support Them. I Won’t Chip Away At Them. I Believe They Help Protect Us And Provide For Our Safety.” (Massachusetts Gubernatorial Candidates Debate, Springfield, MA, 9/24/02)

* I originally posted the entire press release, but it was too long. The sample above gives you the idea. And the whole attack can be found at the link above.