Feature

New life for Thompson

The National Right to Life Committee

What happened
The National Right to Life Committee’s endorsed Republican presidential hopeful Fred Thompson, who is running second behind Rudy Giuliani in national polls. Thompson “is best-positioned to top pro-abortion candidate Rudy Giuliani for the Republican nomination," David N. O’Steen, the group's executive director, said on Tuesday. (The Washington Post, free registration)

What the commentators said
This is “a big win for Thompson,” said Holly Bailey in Newsweek’s The Gaggle blog. The NRLC is the nation’s “most prominent anti-abortion group,” and the former Tennessee senator isn’t even “considered a pro-life crusader on the campaign trail.”

The endorsement certainly could give Thompson a boost, said Mark Silva in Tribune’s The Swamp blog. But it’s also another sign of the “puzzling division of the religious right,” which is still wobbling after evangelist Pat Robertson’s decision to back Giuliani.

There’s no reason to assume this will help Thompson in the crucial Iowa caucuses, said David Freddoso in National Review Online. Giuliani is running a distant fourth there, so pro-life voters there won’t feel “the same urgency that exists in other states to unite behind a pro-life candidate who can stop him.”

This might even help Giuliani “in a roundabout way,” said Kathryn Jean Lopez, also in National Review Online. Thompson low-key approach is appointing people to the Supreme Court who will eventually overturn Roe v. Wade. “If this is the best pro-lifer the GOP has to offer,” abortion foes might just swallow hard and “vote for the pro-choice guy. He wants ‘better judges’ too.”

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