A veteran Republican strategist, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to candidly assess the situation, said he is among those who long believed that a Republican with Giuliani's profile would have no chance. He still believes the former mayor faces significant obstacles but said the odds of Giuliani winning the nomination are not as remote as they once seemed.
He gave three reasons: the absence of a strong, traditional conservative in the GOP field; continuing antipathy among many social and religious conservatives toward McCain; and the prospect of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) becoming the next president.
Giuliani "looks like he can beat Hillary, make the party competitive again in the Northeast, competitive again in California and allow us to keep our strong electoral advantage in the South and Rocky Mountain states," the strategist said.
The former mayor's campaign team believes it has found a credible path to the nomination. Its foundation is a conclusion that while the overwhelming majority of Republicans differ with Giuliani on abortion, gay rights and gun control, a much smaller percentage of GOP primary voters -- perhaps no more than a quarter -- are single-issue voters who would never vote for him because of his views on those issues, a percentage borne out by the latest Post-ABC News poll...
"I think that people like him, and likeability is a big, big factor in presidential politics," a senior Republican strategist said. "Right now, I think his numbers reflect that. As you get closer to the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, likeability may give way to vote-determinative issues, like abortion."
March 4, 2007
Dan Balz on Rudy Giuliani. I don't know if we'll see Balz on the other candidates. But here we have Balz on Giuliani: