UPDATED: Be sure to read this over at NRO. The Giuliani campaign makes the bold claim that “Abortions declined by 16.8 percent in New York City during the Giuliani administration, according to the Center for Disease Control. And University of Alabama political scientist Michael New told your publication, ‘The decline in abortions in New York City under Giuliani was greater than the national decline.’ As NRO points out, the same Professor New “cannot attribute this decline to any actual policy Giuliani implemented.” Likewise, even with the fall, New York’s abortion rate was still much higher than the national average. Giuliani is upset that he was excerpted on the speech cited in my post below. Yet, to defend himself, he has to excerpt himself.

Today’s backpedaling by the Giuliani campaign is one of the most disingenuous pieces of spin thus far in the GOP primary.  They are relying on the Hotline to try to convince us that what he said was somehow not what he meant, even though it was clearly what he meant.

I’m talking about this Hotline post.  In it, we discover that part of a sentence Giuliani uttered in 1989 was left out of a clip.  Well, not really.  It’s just he got interrupted by applause and the original clip stopped at the applause.  It seems like there was nothing really sinister about it.  There was no “editing” or “splicing.”  We got the point and the additional five words don’t really change anything.

What Giuliani was alleged to have said was “I have also stated that I disagree with President Bush’s veto last week of public funding for abortion.”  What he actually said, once the applause subsided was, “I have also stated that I disagree with President Bush’s veto last week of public funding for abortions for rape or incest victims.”  That last bit was added.

The Hotline then writes, “A single sentence makes a world of difference.”  Actually, it does not.  Giuliani made two separate points in his speech.  They were not one thought.  That is clear from the audio, from the transcript, and from his interview on CNN just the other day.  His two points were, in his own words:

  1. “There must be public funding for abortions for poor women [because] we cannot deny any woman the right to make her own decision about abortion because she lacks resources.”
  2. “I also I have also stated that I disagree with President Bush’s veto last week of public funding for abortions for rape or incest victims.”

President George H. W. Bush vetoed, if you remember, a Democrat initiative that would have paid for the abortions that were caused by rape or incest.  Giuliani, in today’s spin, is attempting to say that’s what this whole mess was over.  He’s trying to get us all to focus on the five words cut from he YouTube clip about the second point he made in his 1989 speech and ignore the first point.  But pay attention to his dodge.  He admits he supported a bill to provide tax payer funding for abortions — it just so happened that the abortions would have arisen from rape and incest.  But go back to point one.  Rudy favored unfettered taxpayer funding for abortion in 1989 and he said the same thing in 2007.

There are two additional points to be made about this:

  1. Just last week, Rudy told Dana Bash he still favors taxpayer funding for abortions for poor women and did not add the caveat about rape or incest.  He tried to distract from this by saying he would not seek to change the Hyde amendment, though he still left open the issue of what he’d do if a Democrat controlled Congress changed the Hyde amendment.  (Hint to Rudy:  You say “veto.”)
  2. In the 1989 speech, Giuliani was trying to explain just how much in favor of abortion he was because his opponent was trying to make him out to be something less than solidly in favor of unfettered abortion on demand.