Giuliani Smeared by '08 Rival

ByABC News
March 1, 2007, 1:50 PM

March 1, 2007— -- Rudy Giuliani is fast becoming the man to beat for the Republican presidential nomination and he's starting to feel the heat.

The former New York City mayor -- who sits atop the Republican presidential field according to two recent national surveys -- is wrongly labeled as being "pro-gay marriage" by former Gov. Mitt Romney, R-Mass., in a Christian Broadcasting Network interview which is set to air March 6 on the "700 Club."

"He is pro-choice, he is pro-gay marriage, and anti-gun," said former Gov. Mitt Romney, R-Mass., in an interview taped in Boston on Feb. 28. "That's a tough combination in a Republican primary."

Giuliani is often described as being "pro-gay rights" because he signed a 1997 bill creating domestic-partnership benefits in New York City. He has never, however, been "pro-gay marriage."

Romney Camp Can't Back Up Claim

When contacted by ABC News, the Romney campaign was not able to provide substantiation for the governor's claim that Giuliani is "pro-gay marriage".

"It is sad," a source close to the Giuliani campaign told ABC News, "but unfortunately not surprising, that Mitt Romney's flailing campaign has chosen to misrepresent Rudy's positions. He can't keep his own positions straight let alone Rudy's."

A Romney campaign spokesperson declined to offer a retraction of the former governor's "pro-gay marriage" claim, arguing that Romney is still the more socially conservative candidate because he is running for president as an opponent of the legal recognition of non-marital same-sex unions and because Romney has renounced his past support for abortion rights.

Giuliani discussed his opposition to same-sex marriage and his record on domestic partnership benefits during a Feb. 5 interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity.