Baptist Head Says Giuliani’s Divorces a Problem
The political spokesman for the Southern Baptist Convention says evangelicals will have a tough time voting for Rudy Giuliani.
A Southern Baptist leader said Tuesday that evangelical voters might tolerate a divorced presidential candidate, but they have deep doubts about GOP hopeful Rudy Giuliani, who has been married three times. Richard Land, head of public policy for the Southern Baptist Convention, told The Associated Press that evangelicals believe the former New York City mayor showed a lack of character during his divorce from his second wife, television personality Donna Hanover. “I mean, this is divorce on steroids,” Land said. “To publicly humiliate your wife in that way, and your children. That’s rough. I think that’s going to be an awfully hard sell, even if he weren’t pro-choice and pro-gun control.”
There’s not much doubt about that, although John McCain and Newt Gingrich probably aren’t going to be talking about the divorce issue very much. Then again, Land thinks that won’t matter:
Land noted that Republican presidential candidate John McCain has been married twice, but said the Arizona senator has acknowledged his part in the failure of his first marriage. “It’s a molehill compared to Giuliani’s mountain,” Land said. “When you’re a war hero [like McCain], you have less to prove on the character front.”
Except that McCain is easily the least liked of all the Republican contenders.
The polls aren’t much help in figuring this one out. Recent polls and analyses by Gallup, for example, send very different signals.
- Two-thirds say they would vote for a candidate who is on his third marriage.
- A majority of Republicans think Giuliani the most electable of their party’s candidates.
- Giuliani has by far the highest favorables among Republicans.
- Most people don’t know much about Giuliani’s social views.
So, it’s possible that Giuliani’s current favorability represents a ceiling and that his numbers will drop once people get to know more about him. Then again, people already known McCain pretty well and can’t stand him. And the only major Republican candidate who is clean on the marriage front is Romney, the Mormon. And being a Mormon is almost as much baggage as being twice-divorced.