Ignoring abortion flip-flops, Luntz claimed Giuliani "defines the phrase 'Says what he means, means what he says' "


On the March 13 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, while discussing the abortion rights views of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R), Republican pollster Frank Luntz said: "This is someone who defines the phrase 'Says what he means, means what he says.' " In fact, Media Matters for America has repeatedly documented (here, here, here, and here) Giuliani's inconsistent positions on abortion.

In 2000, Giuliani said he agreed with President Clinton's veto of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 1997. On the February 5 edition of Hannity & Colmes, however, Giuliani expressed support for the current law banning partial-birth abortion. When pressed by co-host Sean Hannity about the perception that he had previously "supported partial-birth abortion," Giuliani attempted to reconcile his two positions by noting that the current law contains a "provision for the life of the mother." But as Media Matters noted, several federal bills to ban the procedure proposed in 1997 through 2000 -- including the one vetoed in 1997 by Clinton -- also included "an exception to save the mother's life."

Furthermore, according to a February 22, 1989, Newsday article, leaders of New York's Conservative Party said Giuliani -- then a candidate for mayor of New York City -- "assured them he was personally opposed to abortion, did not favor government funding or criminal penalties, did favor an exemption in cases of rape or incest, and was in favor of overturning the U.S. Supreme Court's decision legalizing abortion, Roe v. Wade." But following the U.S. Supreme Court's July 1989 decision in Webster v. Reproductive Health Services, Giuliani reportedly shifted his position to one favoring abortion rights. Indeed, as Media Matters noted, in an October 13, 1989, article, The New York Times called Giuliani a "support[er of] the right of a woman to choose an abortion." Giuliani said he had "talk[ed] to [his] wife" about the issue following the Webster decision. On October 13, 1989, the Associated Press reported: "Once an outright opponent, [Giuliani] now says he supports abortion rights, and would not seek to reduce funds or services, even though he remains personally opposed."

From the March 13 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes:

ALAN COLMES (co-host): All right, let me play that back -- back to the abortion issue. Here's what Rudy Giuliani said when he was mayor of New York not too long ago.

GIULIANI [video clip]: There must be public funding for abortions for poor women. We cannot deny any woman the right to make her own decision about abortion, because she lacks resources.

COLMES: Unlike Mitt Romney, he hasn't really changed his position. He affirmed that just last week in South Carolina. What does that do in terms of his candidacy?

LUNTZ: Well, I think that that clip actually comes from before he was mayor. I believe it comes from --

HANNITY: It's 18 years ago.

LUNTZ: -- 1989, but I'm not --

HANNITY: Eighteen years ago.

LUNTZ: Yes, so that was before he was mayor. Giuliani's a different character, and he will rise and fall based on who he is himself. This is someone who defines the phrase "Says what he means, means what he says."

Fox News Channel
Frank Luntz
Hannity & Colmes
Rudy Giuliani, 2008 Elections
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.