SNEAK PEEK: Will the Real Republican Please Stand Up?


"May I have your attention please? Will the real Republican please stand up? I repeat, will the real Republican please stand up? We're gonna have a problem here…"

We so wish we had the skills to make YouTube mash-up videos because the back and forth among the leading Republican candidates over who is the "real Republican" is just begging for a parody with Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson, Mitt Romney and John McCain all wearing matching white t-shirts and baggy jeans.

(Over to you JibJab guys…)

As the leading Republican candidates spar over their fiscal conservative credentials and who wins the "real Republican" title, Wednesday's Club for Growth fall conference provides as good an opportunity as any for each to move the ball forward and set himself apart.

Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson will attend in person at the Grand Hyatt in Washington DC and Mitt Romney will speak via live satellite. John McCain was not invited to speak. Club for Growth invited him to its Winter Conference in March and he declined then, leaving him off the roster for this event.

"We are hoping to hear the candidates put forward a bold, pro-growth agenda and embrace specific proposals, especially on tax cuts and entitlement reform, two topics that have been scant on details," Club for Growth spokeswoman Nachama Soloveichik told ABC News.

There is also a special request for Fred Thompson:

"We would also like to hear Fred Thompson renounce his previous support for McCain-Feingold and demonstrate his commitment to protecting political free speech," Soloveichik said.

The candidates will take questions from conference attendees for about 15-20 minutes, including Romney via satellite. Perhaps this will provide material for a question for Giuliani

The campaign of a Republican presidential rival is circulating this video of the former New York mayor saying: "I'm a Republican mayor, but I'm really not" while appearing on Charlie Rose in 1996 during the GOP's national convention.

GIULIANI: "Well, I'm a Republican mayor, but I'm really not. I'm the mayor of New York City. I ran as a Republican, I ran as a Liberal — which really confuses all kinds of people — and I ran as an Independent, as part of the Independent Party, which actually is now the party that's supporting Ross Perot. So I ran a fusion candidacy, like my predecessor Fiorello LaGuardia. So I'm not the most partisan of Republicans."

That "real Republican" back and forth continued Tuesday in Washington. ABC News' Jan Simmonds reports that Rudy Giuliani wasted no time in fighting back criticism from his GOP rivals in his remarks before the Republican Jewish Coalition.

"Am I real Republican?" Giuliani asked the crowd while not naming his critics by name.  "I gave my blood for the Republican Party in New York.  I often say I was the first Republican mayor in New York in 25 years. And I was the first to remain one in 50 years."

Giuliani, who touts his conservative credentials in almost every speech – especially his fiscal conservative merits – has made a concerted effort to convince naysayers that he is a conservative Republican, Simmonds reports. To that point, Giuliani often quotes conservative columnist George Will who has credited Giuliani with running the most conservative government in the last 50 years.

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