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"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." - John 8:32
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Author:  Michael J. Gaynor
Bio: Michael J. Gaynor
Date:  March 3, 2007
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Topic category:  Other/General

Trusting Rudy Giuliani on Social Issues Is Not Sensible

On February 5, 2007, Sean Hannity interviewed presidential aspirant Rudy Giuliani and Mr. Giuliani tried to please both sides on abortion: he's anti-abortion and pro-choice!

"GIULIANI: Where I stand on abortion is, I oppose it. I don't like it. I hate it. I think abortion is something that, as a personal matter, I would advise somebody against.

"However, I believe in a woman's right to choose. I think you have to ultimately not put a woman in jail for that, and I think ultimately you have to leave that to a disagreement of conscience and you have to respect the choice that somebody makes."

To appeal to pro-life people, Mr. Giuliani lauded pro-life judges: "So what I do say to conservatives....I think the appointment of judges that I would make would be very similar to, if not exactly the same as, the last two judges that were appointed."

That sounds great. It's nice of Mr. Giuliani to praise Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito.  BUT... he's also lauded former ACLU counsel and now Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg: "“[W]hat’s important to me is to have a very intelligent, very honest, very good lawyer on the court" and Justice Ginsburg fits that category,.being a “very qualified lawyer and a very smart person.”

If Mr. Giuliani really thinks that both Justice Alito and Justice Ginsburg belong on the United States Supreme Court, strict constructionists simply cannot be confident that he will appoint genuine strict constructionists.

As for whether or not Roe v. Wade should be overturned (a controversial issue since 1973), Mr. Giuliani declined to offer his opinion:

"HANNITY: Is 'Roe' a bad law?

"GIULIANI: I think that's up to the court to decide. I think that it's been precedent for a very, very long time. There are questions about the way it was decided and some of the bases for it. At this point, it's precedent. It's going to be very interesting to see what Chief Justice Roberts and what Justices Scalia and Alito do with it.

"I think probably they're going to limit it rather than overturn it. In other words, they'll accept some of the limitations that different states have placed on it or the federal government has placed on it."

The clever Mr. Giuliani is hoping to win pro-life support by implementing the Coverdale strategy: supporting a ban on partial-birth abortion and promising strict constructionist judges. (The late Senator Paul Coverdell, Republican of Georgia, supported legal abortion and still won pro-life support by promising to vote to ban partial-birth abortion, oppose public funding of abortion, and support conservative nominees to the judiciary.)  But Mr. Coverdell wanted to a Senator, not President.

The question is: Can Mr. Giuliani be trusted to keep his promises?

The first two Mrs. Giuliani's learned that his promise to be faithful to his marital vows was not enough, so why should pro-lifers trust him not to betray them?

Character counts!

On February 28, 2007, Editor Steven Ertelt reported that a Washington Post/ABC News poll conducted in late February showed " that Republican voters are much less likely to vote for [presidential aspirant] Rudy Giulian... because of his stance in favor of abortion" and "half... said there is no chance they would support Giuliani because of his pro-abortion views."

 What works in New York City (or San Francisco) does not necessarily work nationwide.

 In New York City, Mr. Giuliani won the second and third of his mayoralty races.  All three times, he ran as the Republican and Liberal candidate.  Never as the Conservative Party candidate.

 After all, New York City is...New York City.

Pollers "told GOP respondents that Giuliani has been a supporter of legal abortion' and asked them whether that would make them more likely or less likely to vote for him for the Republican nomination."

Results: more likely, 10%; no difference, 43%; less likely, 46%.

On the question of whether. "given his position on abortion," is there a chance the respondent would vote for Mr. Giuliani for the Republican presidential candidate, 49% said yes and 49% said no. 

Mr. Giuliani tops the polls of possible Republican presidential candidates because America knows that he led New York City on September 11, 2001 and most Republicans outside the northeast don't appreciate that Mr. Giuliani chose to be a liberal instead of a conservative and concluded that to be electable in New York, he had to embrace abortion and gay rights. A Fox News poll in mid-February found that 42% of GOP voters correctly identified Mr. Giuliani as pro-abortion., 21% erroneously believed he was pro-life and 36% did not know his position on abortion. 

According to the WP/ABC poll, 46% of Republican voters are less likely to support a pro-abortion candidate (36% much less likely and 10 percent somewhat less likely) and 22% are more likely to support a pro- abortion candidate.

Mr. Giuliani's expression of support for strict construction judges is welcome, but it smacks of the political opportunism that has marked Mr. Giuliani's political career (and personal life).

Former Bronx Borough President Feranando Ferrer (the Bronx being one of New York City's five boroughs) analyzed Mr. Giuliani as follows:

"Rudy is all about opportunity and utility.  I do not think he is a racist at all.  In a way, he is something worse.  A racist can't help himself.  It's the way he is.  But the opportunist can help himself, and chooses not to.  The opportunist engages in discrimination or stereotyping out of a calculation that it is profitable in some way.  There is some cynicism involved.

"It's all about power with Rudy.  He only believes himself, not in any large ideas.  His core value is loyalty to him.  That's why he is always surrounded by the loyal group.  Rudy will say anything, or do anything, to win, to get his way.  There is no underlying belief system.

"Everyone's personality is an onion with many layers.  I believe that opportunism is the core of Rudy's onion, after you peel away all the other layers."

Hardly comforting to people with traditional values.

To be sure, Mr. Giuliani is anti-terrorist.  But who isn't? 

Jack Newfield, in The Full Rudy (2002), judged Mr. Giuliani more media manipulative than most politicians:

"All politicians want the voters (and the media) to only see the positive side of their character, and not see what they do in the dark, or what they have hidden in their pockets or clenched fists.  Rudy Giuliani was more aggressive than most in trying to manage the news and pressure the press.

"During the 1990's, when Giuliani was mayor, I was a liberal columnist on the pro-Giuliani New York Post.  Giuliani, or his communications director, Christine Lategano, would frequently call the paper's editors to micromanage the placement of stories, the tone of headlines, the nuances of captions.  They would call after the first edition--and again after the second edition, if all the changes had not been made to their satisfaction."

Ms. Lategano was the staff member to whom Donna Hanover, the second of Mr. Giuliani's three wives, referred when she stated before cameras: "For several years it was difficult to participate in Rudy's public life because of his relationship with one staff member.  Beginning last May, I made a major effort to bring us back together.  Rudy and I re-established some of our personal intimacy through the fall.  At that point he chose another path."

In the 1980's Mr. Giuliani had taken the path to Ms. Hanover.

In 1968, Mr. Giuliani had married Regina Peruggi, his second cousin. 

In 1982, as reported by Wayne Barrett, in Rudy (2000), Ms. Hanover moved in with Mr. Giuliani in Washington, D.C., Mr. Giuliani and Ms. Peruggi legally separated; and Mr. Giuliani sought and obtained a divorce from Ms. Peruggi, ending their childless marriage.

Mr. Giuliani and Ms. Hanover wanted to marry in the Roman Catholic Church, but the church does not recognize civil divorce, so Mr. Giuliani pursued an annulment of his fourteen-year first marriage,

Enter Monsignor Alan Placa, "Rudy's best friend."

Mr. Barrett: "In 1982, {Mr. Giuliani]...turned to Paca for help.  Since he and Regina were second cousins, Placa told Rudy, they should have obtained a special dispensation to marry.  if they hadn't, the marriage could ne annulled, said Placa, who also had a law degree."

They had not.

Mr. Barrett:

"Placa had been Rudy's best man at his wedding to Regina in 1968.  A seminarian at the time, he had dated Regina years earlier.  Helen Giuliani [Mr. Giuliani's mother] recalled that Placa told her son  and his fiancee that their consanguinity wouldn't be a problem, but Placa says he never offered such an assurance.  Placa remembered that the priest who performed the marriage, Father James Moriarity, had never asked Rudy and Regina about their relationship.

"But couples who filled out the prenuptial form at the time were 'under oath and expected to answer all questions truthfully' according to New York Archdiocese canon law expert William Elder.  If there was any question at all regarding a blood relationship,' the Church has to investigate it,' said Elder.  Had Rudy and Regina answered the questions and acknowledged that they were blood relatives, it would have set in motion a family tree review that would have revealed that they were second cousins and needed a dispensation."

Apparently Mr. Giuliani did not fill out that form properly,

Mr. Barrett: "Placa...not only stewarded Rudy's annulment through the proper channels; he also claims to have arranged an annulment of Donna's marriage to Stanley Hanover.  The marriage tribunal was just a few doors down the hall from Placa's office at the diocese of Rockville Center on Long Island.  He collected the documents establishing that Rudy and Regina were second cousins and that no dispensation had been awarded.  In 1982, despite Regina's protests, the annulment Rudy sought was granted."

There's no doubt that the annulments were issued, but there is a question about Mr. Giuliani's honesty.

Mr. Barrett: "Regina said that 'we knew that we were cousins.  We attended Pre-Cana and all that.  It was our impression that we didn't need a dispensation.'  Her brother, Richard, was quoted, responding to Rudy's claim of ignorance on the second-cousin question. 'That's a lie,' Richard said. 'He knew he was my second cousin.'"

Mr. Barrett made the case that Mr. Giuliani (and Ms. Hanover) were nominal Catholics: "Rudy and Donna lived together for almost two years prior to their wedding.  They were hardly devout Catholics.  Donna publicly announced years later that she was merely 'raised Catholic'--the classic formulation of a lapsed Catholic.  Their tax returns om the 1980s included no charitable deductions, and friends said they rarely went to church, just like much of the rest of Rudy's family.  Rudy understood, however, that divorced Catholics were barred from remarrying in the church but an annulled marriage opened the church door a second time around."

Why did Mr. Giulinai's pursue an annulment, despite his first wife's opposition.

Mr. Barrett's answer is political calculation: "The unmistakable inference is that Rudy got his annulment for the legions of Catholic voters in New York--with his political future clearly in mind."

Catholics obviously were a critical part of what Mr. Giuliani's expected political base and so Mr. Giuliani had to do as much as possible not to needlessly offend Catholic sensibilities, especially when real politic considerations called for him to abandon some Catholic values in order to win elective office in New York City as a Republican.

Like John Lindsay before him, Mr. Giuliani believed that New York's Liberal Party held the keys to Gracy Mansion (the official residence of New York City's mayor) for a Republican (and Mr. Giuliani had gone from self-described "Robert Kennedy Democrat" to Independent, in order to join the Ford Administration, to Republican, to secure a high-ranking position in the Reagan Justice Department)

Mr. Barrett: "With Democrats outnumbering Republicans 5 to 1, and President [George H.W.] Bush gaining only 33% of the city's vote in 1988, Liberal endorsement was indispensable to a Giuliani candidacy."

And, like NARAL support, Liberal Party support comes at a soul-searing cost.

The Liberal Party never had endorsed a pro-death penalty candidate for mayor or governor, and Mr. Giuliani ardently supported the death penalty (NOT a requirement for Catholics).

So Mr. Giuliani had to adopt "[t]he Liberals' other implacable principles...opposition to tuition tax credits or any other form of publicly subsidized parochial education, and an unambiguous commitment to abortion rights."

Mr. Barrett: "If [lawyer/lobbyist Ray] Harding was to steer behind a death-penalty candidate, Giuliani would have tio at least appear to support these other two core values."

The death penalty apparently was a much bigger deal to Mr. Giuliani than abortion (on which the Catholic position is unambiguous opposition)..

Mr. Barrett concluded that Mr. Giuliani sold out grudgingly: "That meant Rudy had to make choices that satisfied either the Liberals or his Catholic base.  He attempted to position himself on both issues in ways that met Liberal needs, but Harding was sp palpably eager to back him, he thought he had enough leeway he could fudge it.  He became so awkward, especially on abortion, his wavering statement confounded voters.  Since his conversion was forced, he did not voluntarily mention abortion in any major speech or policy statement until he addressed a women's organization in late September, dealing with it only when pressed by reporters or advocates."

Mr. Giuliani eventually became an ardent advocate of abortion rights, but in 1989 he tried to "split the baby." Wooing conservative support, he told the Conservative Party he was "personally opposed to abortion, did not favor government funding or criminal penalties, did favor an exemption in cases of rape or incest, and was in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade." The Conservative Party too was about to endorse Mr. Giuliani, but the Liberals "went temporarily ballistic," because Mr. Giuliani's "announced opposition to funding 'would mean that a poor woman would be treated differently than one who could afford an abortion.'"

Mr. Giuliani caved.

Mr. Barrett: "When the reporter called Giuliani for reaction, he instead called Harding, and explained that he was merely telling the Conservatives how he'd vote if he were a member of Congress or the legislature, a curious thing to do while seeking their support for mayor.  He assured Harding that, as mayor, he'd use city funds to pay for abortions and let city hospitals do them.  He added that while he favored overturning Roe, if it ever happened, the styate's 1970 pr-abortion law would automatically become effective and he'd abide by it."

Again all was well between Mr. Giuliani and the Liberal Party.

For Mr. Giuliani was not a moral issue, but a political challenge.

Mr. Barrett: "He sat in the homes of friends and tried to figure out what the electoral market might bear.  Even a favorably disposed journalist like Dan Collins wound up writing that Rudy did 'more head spinning' on abortion 'than Linda Blair in The Exorcist.' All his cheap manipulation and marketing came through to voters, and diminished him."

As it should have.

The best that can be said for Mr. Giuliani is that he embraced abortion unenthusiastically.

Mr. Barrett:

"Giulinai told reporters who pressed him at a July 4 parade that he would not lobby Albany to preserve the current state law if elected mayor.  'I have a different moral view about abortion than the other candidates do and I would not be able to do that,' he said, standing amidst a crowd in Bay Ridge again, the same heavily Italian neighborhood where he made the February comments that got him in hot water.

"When the New York Pro-Choice Coalition ranked Giuliani below all the Democratic candidates in August, he issued a statement 'clarifying' his position again. This time he said he 'will oppose reductions in state funding' for abortion, as well as 'oppose making abortion illegal.' He would not let his 'personal views interfere with his responsibilities as mayor.'

"Every newspaper branded it a 'flip-flop' and [former New York City Mayor Edward] Koch said: 'You shouldn't run from your conscience because you're afraid to lose an election.' Dinkins charged: 'It was interesting that he is able to alter his position on such a matter of basic principle in so short a period of time."

In retrospective, Mr. Giuliani regretted not his abandonment of principle, but his failure to handle the abortion issue better.

Mr. Barrett: "Giuliani himself would subsequently concede that he'd butchered the abortion issue in the campaign, but his hindsight analysis was purely cosmetic.  He told the Post's Jack Newfield in 1992, while positioning himself for a second run: 'I made a terrible mistake on abortion last time.  I should have said I was pro-choice and stopped...."

Fred Siegel summed it up well in The Prince of the City (2005): "He wrestled with his conscience on abortion, waffled -- and then under the influence of liberal Republicans like State Senator Roy Goodman, the pro-abortion Liberal Party and [Jennifer] Rabb, who made it clear that opposition to abortion would cost him dearly in votes from Jewish women, Giuliani, went pro-choice."

Still think that Mr. Giuliani should be trusted?

In 1999 New York NARAL's PAC contributed $1000 to Mr. Giuliani and one fourth of that amount ($250) to Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Who made the opening remarks at NARAL's "Champion of Choice" luncheon in 2001?

Mr. Giuliani.

That afternoon Mr. Giuliani said, "I thank NARAL for taking the lead in establishing freedom of choice for all of us, and as the mayor of New York City, I thank you for being here in New York City,” and asserted that he and the other attendees were “upholding a distinguished tradition that began in our city starting with the work of Margaret Sanger” (a founder of Planned Parenthood).

Not suitable for a Republican presidential candidate.

Ronald Reagan was right about verifying as well as trusting, and Mr. Giuliani's judicial appointments as mayor hardly suggest a commitment to strict constructionist judges.

Trusting judicial appointments to Mr. Giuliani would be an exercise in wishful thinking, not wisdom.

Michael J. Gaynor

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Biography - Michael J. Gaynor

Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member.

Gaynor graduated magna cum laude, with Honors in Social Science, from Hofstra University's New College, and received his J.D. degree from St. John's Law School, where he won the American Jurisprudence Award in Evidence and served as an editor of the Law Review and the St. Thomas More Institute for Legal Research. He wrote on the Pentagon Papers case for the Review and obscenity law for The Catholic Lawyer and edited the Law Review's commentary on significant developments in New York law.

The day after graduating, Gaynor joined the Fulton firm, where he focused on litigation and corporate law. In 1997 Gaynor and Emily Bass formed Gaynor & Bass and then conducted a general legal practice, emphasizing litigation, and represented corporations, individuals and a New York City labor union. Notably, Gaynor & Bass prevailed in the Second Circuit in a seminal copyright infringement case, Tasini v. New York Times, against newspaper and magazine publishers and Lexis-Nexis. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed, 7 to 2, holding that the copyrights of freelance writers had been infringed when their work was put online without permission or compensation.

Gaynor currently contributes regularly to,,, and and has contributed to many other websites. He has written extensively on political and religious issues, notably the Terry Schiavo case, the Duke "no rape" case, ACORN and canon law, and appeared as a guest on television and radio. He was acknowledged in Until Proven Innocent, by Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson, and Culture of Corruption, by Michelle Malkin. He appeared on "Your World With Cavuto" to promote an eBay boycott that he initiated and "The World Over With Raymond Arroyo" (EWTN) to discuss the legal implications of the Schiavo case. On October 22, 2008, Gaynor was the first to report that The New York Times had killed an Obama/ACORN expose on which a Times reporter had been working with ACORN whistleblower Anita MonCrief.

Gaynor's email address is

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