Brownback Weighs Giuliani Endorsement?

By A'Melody Lee

Oct 19, 2007 1:10pm

ABC News’ Teddy Davis Reports:

A top adviser to Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kas., heaped praise on Rudy Giuliani on Friday and told ABC News that an endorsement of the former New York mayor is a distinct possibility before the first votes are cast in the Republican presidential contest.

"He is making the same calculation that Republican primary voters are," said the adviser who spoke about Brownback’s endorsement plans on the condition of anonymity. "Every indication is that Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee and we will really have to sit down and ask ourselves: if that’s the binary — Clinton or non-Clinton — ask yourself who is the most likely non-Clinton."

A Giuliani endorsement from Brownback, who ran for president on a "pro-life, whole life" platform and is ending his bid for the GOP’s presidential nomination on Friday in Topeka, Kas., could signal to the political world that Giuliani has made significant progress in downplaying his support for abortion rights by emphasizing his commitment to appoint "strict constructionist" justices to the Supreme Court in the mold of current Justices Antonin Scalia, John Roberts, and Sam Alito.

"As long as we’re in the Roe world, judges are the whole ballgame," said the Brownback adviser.

Asked about the ambivalence that Giuliani expressed at a May 3 debate at the Reagan Library on whether a "strict constructionist" justice would overturn Roe v. Wade or whether a "strict constructionist" would see the 1973 Supreme Court case as precedent and leave it in place, the Brownback adviser said those comments would not matter because it would be Giuliani’s "strict constructionist" appointees — and not Giuliani — who would have to reach the judicial determination.

The Brownback adviser also indicated that the Kansas senator accepts Giuliani’s pledge not to tinker with the Hyde Amendment, an existing provision of federal law which prohibits the use of federal Medicaid funds for most abortions.

In addition to positively assessing Giuliani’s stance on abortion-related issues, the Brownback adviser praised the former mayor’s record in New York.

"Much of the success of Giuliani’s tenure was cultural," said the Brownback adviser referring both to the "cleaning up of Times Square" and Giuliani’s effort to "rebirth" the City University of New York through curriculum changes and the hiring of "good administrators."

"He took them on in their backyard and beat them," said the Brownback adviser, referring to what he called the "determined band of leftists" who had taken over the public university system in New York City.

Giuliani is not the only Republican presidential candidate whom Brownback might endorse.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and former Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., both of whom Brownback has served with in the Senate, are under consideration.

Brownback, according to his adviser, is not considering an endorsement of either former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney or former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Asked if the unnamed Brownback adviser accurately reflected the senator’s thinking by saying that Giuliani was under consideration for a Brownback endorsement along with Thompson and McCain, Brownback campaign spokesman John Rankin told ABC News: "I’m not going to be able to comment on that."

The Brownback adviser said most Republican primary voters are "to the right" of Giuliani and that it is possible for him to be defeated if one of his rivals could unite those voters.

But for now, he thinks the former New York mayor’s leadership on 9/11, his work cleaning up New York City, and his pledge to appoint "strict constructionist" judges has served Giuliani well with socially conservative voters.

"He’s actually doing pretty darn well," said the Brownback adviser of Giuliani.

UPDATE:

After initially responding to this story with no comment, Brownback has now indicated through a spokesman that an endorsement of Giuliani is not going to happen either now or in the future.

"I just spoke to Sen. Brownback," said Brownback spokesman Brian Hart. "He is not endorsing anyone today and he has no plans to endorse Mayor Giuliani at any time."

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