Mitt Romney says
the campaign for the Republican presidential nomination
will come down to Rudy Giuliani and a more conservative
challenger -- like Mitt Romney.
surprise that Giuliani is doing well in national polls of
Republicans, Romney said Friday, because candidates with
more conservative views on social issues such as
abortion and gay rights are splitting the support of
like-minded voters. At some point, the former
Massachusetts governor said, the party's conservative
base will coalesce around a single candidate, making
it tougher for Giuliani, the former mayor of New York
"Those of us who
represent that base will find that we can get that
support and ultimately face up one-to-one with Mayor
Giuliani," Romney said. "At that point he'll
have a more challenging time, because I do not believe
the Republican Party is going to keep Hillary Clinton
out of the White House by acting like Hillary Clinton."
abortion rights and has favored gay rights and gun
control. On abortion in particular, Giuliani has sought to
ease the worries of conservatives by pledging to
appoint judges in the mold of Supreme Court justices
Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito and chief justice John
Roberts. Romney said that's not enough.
"I think being
pro-life is more than saying you'll appoint strict
constructionist judges," Romney said.
He spoke during a
taping of Iowa Public Television's Iowa Press
program and later during a meeting with reporters. "I
hope it comes down to me and Mayor Giuliani,"'
said Romney. "I think Mayor Giuliani will likely be one of
the last two as well. If I'm successful in this
effort, then I'll be one of the two." For now,
he said, Giuliani has maintained his lead in polls
because so many candidates are vying for support from social
"There are a lot
of us fighting on that side. There are six, seven, or
eight of us going after that audience, and Mayor Giuliani is
pretty much alone on the other side," Romney said.
"It's not a big surprise that he continues to
hold that portion of the party. I think his positions
are not entirely aligned with the mainstream Republican
A spokesman for
Giuliani dismissed Romney's comments. "This sounds
likes sour grapes from Mitt Romney as Mayor
Giuliani's support continues to grow and
Mitt's numbers are dropping despite spending millions
of his own money," said spokesman Jarrod Agen.
has built a lead in national polls, Romney has focused his
campaigning and spending on key early states, especially
Iowa and New Hampshire. Polls show he leads in those
states, and Romney said that support will be hard to
you're going to see the other candidates come on with
their spending and their ads and their time and try
and catch up," he said. "It's hard to catch up
with the number of personal meetings I've had."
Romney said his
campaign experience and success in the traditional early
states has made him a backer of the current campaign
calendar. "I think that has to be protected," he said.
"I will work hard as the nominee, or if I'm the
next president, to protect Iowa and New
Hampshire's role coming at the beginning."
have scheduled their precinct caucuses on January 3 to
keep them as the nation's first test, and Democrats
are expected to take the same step this weekend.
Romney said the specific date is less important than
that Iowa and New Hampshire lead off the process.
"If X, Y, Z state
jumps ahead and says we're going to go December 15,
I would cry foul," he said. "That would be something I
simply could not support." (Mike Glover, AP)