The fight for endorsements from conservative Christian leaders heated up on Wednesday, with Rudy Giuliani winning the backing of televangelist Pat Robertson and Sen. John McCain winning the support of Sen. Sam Brownback, who dropped out of the race for the Republican nomination last month. Earlier this week, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney also picked up an endorsement from a powerful religious conservative—Moral Majority co-founder Paul Weyrich—in a heated battle for Christian voters.
What the commentators said
“Endorsements don’t win elections,” said Mike Allen and Jonathan Martin in The Politico, but this is “a pretty big deal” for both Giuliani and McCain. Giuliani, a pro-choice candidate, “needs the credibility with Christian voters” that high-level endorsements bring. And McCain simply needs all the help he can get to breathe some new life into his winded campaign.
This will “definitely slow Romney’s momentum” and give Giuliani a “major boost,” said Chris Cillizza in The Washington Post’s The Fix blog. Other conservative Christian leaders have threatened to abandon the GOP and cast their lot with a third-party candidate if Republicans nominate Giuliani, because of the former New York mayor’s liberal views on social issues. With Robertson by his side, Giuliani will sound more convincing when he tells evangelical voters he’s “an acceptable choice as the GOP nominee.”
Rudy might not want to “welcome” this “bizarre” endorsement, said Ed Morrissey in his Captain’s Quarters blog. A few social conservatives might change their minds about the thrice-married Giuliani now. But, come on, Robertson was already firmly planted on the “lunatic fringe Right” even before 2005, when he suggested assassinating Hugo Chavez. That’s “not exactly the kind of statement that lends itself to an image of practical, tough leadership that Rudy normally projects.”
In case there was any doubt, said Jake Tapper at ABCNews.com, this week's flurry of endorsements provided "ample evidence of how the Christian conservative movement is in disarray and cannot unify behind any one candidate."