Rudolph Giuliani decided to take Hillary’s advice and join the conversation, announcing his candidacy for the presidency on Monday. Despite his popularity, the former mayor of New York can expect headaches in the Republican primaries over his very public marital difficulties and a moderate stance on choice and gay rights.
Giuliani, 62, served two terms as mayor of New York and earned widespread praise for his leadership after terrorists struck the city on Sept. 11, 2001. He leads the field of declared and prospective Republican presidential candidates in national polls and, with Sen. John McCain of Arizona, ranks either first or second in most of the important early states.
But his support for abortion rights and gay rights puts him sharply at odds with the majority of his party, a situation that many GOP strategists think will present a substantial obstacle to his hopes of winning the nomination. Giuliani also remains well behind McCain and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney in building a state-by-state political organization that will be crucial to navigating through early contests in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.
In an interview last night with commentator Sean Hannity on Fox News Channel, Giuliani sought to play down his differences with conservatives by pointing to his record of shrinking government, reducing taxes and fighting crime in New York and to his commitment to staying on “offense” against terrorists.