Several Republican presidential candidates on Friday and Saturday discussed abortion and other issues at the "Values Voter" summit hosted by the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C., the Washington Post reports.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani on Saturday at the summit called on religious and social conservatives to overlook differences on abortion and other issues. "People of good conscience come to different conclusions about whether abortions should be legal in some circumstances," Giuliani said, adding that he believes "all Americans share the same goal. A country without abortions." Giuliani added that if elected president, he would appoint judges who would strictly interpret the Constitution.
FRC President Tony Perkins said Giuliani's speech was sincere but added that he likely would be unable to overlook Giuliani's support for abortion rights. "It's not something that can be paved over easily," Perkins said, adding that his position on abortion rights "remains the same, as I think it does for a number of pro-life conservatives -- that we draw a line that we will not cross in supporting a pro-abortion-rights candidate".
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee at the summit said that social conservatives should continue to oppose abortion rights. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney at the summit said that if elected, he would oppose taxpayer funding of abortion, so-called "partial-birth" abortion and abortions performed at military clinics. He added that he would "work to ban" human embryonic cloning. Former Sen. Fred Thompson (Tenn.) said that if elected, he would veto any legislation that "funds or supports" abortion. Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) emphasized his consistent opposition to abortion rights, saying he is the "only major candidate in either party" who has been "pro-life" his or her "entire public career".
Romney led a straw poll conducted during the summit, for which votes could be cast online, with 27.6% of the 5,775 votes cast. Huckabee came in second with 27.1%, followed by Rep. Ron Paul (Texas) with 15%, Thompson with 9.8% and Giuliani with less than 2%. McCain finished last among the nine candidates, the New York Times reports.
Sen. Sam Brownback (Kan.) over the weekend officially withdrew from the 2008 presidential race. Brownback -- who "spent much of his campaign talking about Christian values and stressing his stance against abortion" -- withdrew after announcing that his campaign had $94,000 in cash. "We're out of money," Brownback said.
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation