WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican presidential contender Rudy Giuliani, battling to win over conservatives in the 2008 race, earned the backing of a Southern governor on Wednesday despite their opposing views on abortion rights.
Republican Rick Perry, an abortion-rights opponent who succeeded President George W. Bush as Texas governor, said he was convinced the former New York mayor would appoint Supreme Court justices who would please conservatives.
“The one question I wanted to hear him give me the answer and look me right in the eye was the issue of ‘What type of individual can I expect on the Supreme Court?'” Perry said at a news conference in Washington to announce the endorsement.
He said Giuliani, who leads national opinion polls in the Republican race, told him he would appoint justices like Chief Justice John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, and Samuel Alito -- three of the most conservative members of the court.
“Let me tell you, I can live with that,” Perry said.
Giuliani, who stood with Perry at the news conference, has methodically courted the party’s influential conservative wing, which has been hostile at times to his candidacy because of his past support for abortion rights, gun control and gay rights.
He will make another push for conservative support this weekend at a Washington conference of “values voters” -- religious conservatives who have made a point of questioning Giuliani’s abortion stance.
Giuliani said his message will be that, despite his abortion views, he has many similarities with them on other issues of importance in the 2008 White House race.
“There are always some differences, but I ask you to look at the whole candidate and the whole picture of what we face in 2008,” Giuliani said.
Perry likened the choice to buying a new pickup truck, saying he would not reject a good model because it had one option he did not like.
“I‘m looking at results, and I think that’s what Americans will coalesce around,” he said.
To read more about the U.S. political campaign, visit Reuters "Tales from the Trail: 2008" online at blogs.reuters.com/trail08/