WASHINGTON -- Televangelist Pat Robertson today endorsed Republican presidential candidate Rudolph W. Giuliani, saying the former New York mayor's promises to appoint conservative judges and protect Americans "from the blood lust of Islamic terrorists" should trump conservatives' concerns about Giuliani's support of abortion rights.
Robertson's endorsement came one day after another prominent social conservative, Paul Weyrich, endorsed Giuliani rival Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor. Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback, a social conservative who ended his own GOP presidential bid earlier this fall, today endorsed Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).
Taken together, the endorsements suggest that abortion may not prove to be a top-tier issue in the wide-open Republican race -- and that top evangelical figures will divide their support among multiple contenders.
Social conservatives also demonstrated a willingness to eschew longtime abortion opponents such as former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson in favor of candidates who either support abortion rights (Giuliani) or are converts to the antiabortion side (Romney).
Robertson said national security and concerns about federal spending should be top priorities. "To me, the overriding issue before the American people is the defense of our population from the blood lust of Islamic terrorists," he said. "Our second goal should be the control of massive government waste and crushing federal deficits."
Giuliani, appearing with Robertson at the National Press Club, said: "His confidence in me means a lot. His experience and advice will be a great asset to me and my campaign."
This has to frighten the Dems.
They were counting on the Christian Right being so disenchanted with the Republican field of candidates that they'd sit out the election.
They were counting their chickens before they hatched.
Statement By Pat Robertson At Press Conference Announcing His Endorsement Of Rudy Giuliani For President
Gary Bauer's reaction to Robertson's endorsement of Giuliani