I don't think it would make Rudy Giuliani any more popular with social conservatives if he dropped his support for abortion -- he's still pro-gun control and, man, talk about a lack of family values.
But Mark Kleiman, a professor at UCLA who writes at the insightful, and way left, blog The Reality-Based Community, argues that the former New York mayor really couldn't be considered pro-choice because he wants to re-arrange the Supreme Court in a way that would spell the end of Roe v. Wade.
So when Rudy Giuliani says he would appoint "strict constructionist" judges, he's pledging to appoint more justices willing to overturn Roe v. Wade; the fact that he sortakinda takes it back by saying there would be no litmus test doesn't really matter. Nor does the fact that, as a private citizen and a local politician he supports abortion rights; on the one issue where a President has to act on abortion he's fully committed to the RTL position. And Justice Stevens isn't getting any younger.
Thus it's not really right to describe Giuliani, the Presidential candidate, as someone who "supports abortion rights."
It's not clear how much this will help or hurt Giuliani in the primaries. But it could make all the difference in the general should Rudy be the nominee. To get the swing votes he would need, Giuliani would want to run as a "moderate" on abortion, which is about as close to the truth as his claim to be an "expert" on terrorism.I'd like to hope that the press wouldn't let him get away with it. But perhaps I'd be wiser to hope for a pony.