Rudy Giuliani may be one of the "four or five best known Americans in the world," but on Friday he may not be one of the four or five most popular guys in the room when he speaks before the National Rifle Association's Celebration of American Values Conference at the Washington Capitol Hilton.
Fresh off a statesman-like trip across the pond, the former mayor jumps right back into the deep end of Republican primary politics and delivers remarks at 11:30am ET
Giuliani told reporters this afternoon that he will outline in "great detail, well not in great detail, but some detail" his approach on gun control and dealing with criminals who use guns, ABC News' Jan Simmonds reports.
Giuliani acknowledged that he is going before a crowd that he does not see eye-to-eye with on this issue so he will emphasize the "eight or nine out of ten areas" they agree on.
"The reality is that there are certain agreements and disagreements with every single group. So tomorrow when I go before the NRA I am going to emphasize the areas in which we have a great deal of agreement," Giuliani said. "There probably isn't a group in America that I can go before where there aren't some disagreements with that group, so they are going to decide ultimately who they support either as a group or individually."
When asked if his view has shifted in the past few years, Giuliani said that his view right now is to focus on people who use guns illegally. As a candidate, Giuliani has made a states' rights argument, suggesting that restrictive gun laws suitable for larger metropolises may not be necessary in rural communities, ABC News' Jennifer Parker reports.
The NRA hears from the rest of the Republican field, either in person or via taped message and each candidate is angling to present himself as the best person to defend the Second Amendment. But that positioning may be tougher for some of the front-runners.
NRA chief lobbyist Chris Cox told ABC News' Parker the group will take into account a candidates' past, present and future record on gun rights when weighing its endorsement and that many NRA members are skeptical of some of those (ahem, Giuliani and Romney) who have been accused of shifting their positions on gun rights because they are running for the Republican nomination.
While Giuliani is speaking, how many people in the audience instead will have this quote running through their heads: "The NRA for some reason, I think goes way overboard. It's almost what the extremists on the other side do…" (then-New York Mayor Giuliani in an interview with Charlie Rose in 1995)
So…don't hold your breath waiting for a photo op of Giuliani holding a rifle above his head a la Vice President Cheney.
Bill Richardson is the only Democratic presidential candidate to address the conference and he speaks at 1:20 pm ET via videotaped message.
The NRA also makes an announcement of a new initiative with the firearms industry at the conference.
'08ers speaking times: 9:30 John McCain 10:30 Fred Thompson 11:25 Duncan Hunter (taped) 11:30 Rudy Giuliani 1:20 Bill Richardson (taped) 2:00 Mike Huckabee 4:00 Speaker Newt Gingrich (not yet an '08er but on hand anyway) 4:30 Mitt Romney (taped - sans varmint)
Over in the ever-increasingly important state of Michigan (with its Jan. 15 primary), the GOP '08ers speak at the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island beginning Friday evening.