The entrance had more standing, but less cheers than Mitt Romney. But Romney had a lot of astroturf, as Phil Klein pointed out, so it is hard to tell.
Rudy starts with an attack on Washington.
Unlike Romney’s speech, there was more of a narrative structure. He wanted the people in the room to know who he was. The policies that he talked about followed from that structure.
So he talks about what his religion means to him:
Christians and Christianity is all about inclusiveness, It is built around the most profound act of love in history. .. Spreading a message of love and hope and faith… Administer to sick and the needy. It is the love that the first Christians displayed that first brought thousands and then millions.
The first day that I entered a class in which a prayer was not said at the beginning of class was my first day at NYU Law School. I was so confused, I crossed myself. Then I realized that everyone was looking at me.
Then he goes into his framing that he starts and ends with:
- A more civil society
- Restoring the social contract.
- A culture of personal responsibility. probably shouldn’t have used the language "culture of " because it makes an implicit contrast.
Here are some applause lines. He had a lot of these:
- "The one thing that you can count on with me is that I will be honest with you."
- "My belief in God and my reliance on his guidance is at the core of who I am."
- "Isn’t it better that I tell you what I believe rather than change all my positions." (A big applause line)
- "Never let anyone tell you that your faith should not be part of your political values."
- "It shouldn’t be so difficult to raise your children consistent with the values you hold dear. … protecting the innocence of children."
- "We have the same right of free speech." "Never be required to give our taxpayer money to desecrate religion" (part of a big riff on pornography and the Mary-in-elephant-dung story.
- "Freedom of religion is not freedom from religion."
- "I don’t believe in inevitable decline."
- "The ideal: It takes a family, not a village to raise a child."
- "A country without abortion. Achieved by changing the minds of people."
- Religion is about love, inclusion and forgiveness. It is about salvation. … If we expect perfection from our political leaders, we will be disappointed. (I heard "amens")
- Something about internet sex predators. (big applause, but I missed the exact quote)
- "Parents understand their children better than government and bureaucrats do."
- "fight those who try to drive traditional expressions of religion out of our public life."
The other thing that is worth pointing out is that he insisted on honesty. He made some real serious attacks on Romney:
- Ronald Reagan didn’t figure out what he was going to do by putting his finger in the air and figuring out where the winds are blowing.
- If I take a poll and repeat it. … then I am a follower. I may be a good actor if I do it well, but I am a follower.
He has a riff on separation. I am not sure why he said that. Quotes George Will on most successful conservative governance.
He also talks a long time about how he would move the ball on abortion. This was really key. And it got strong responses.
- Veto any reductions of the Hyde amendment.
- Support any reasonable suggestion that reduces the number of abortions. Mentions parental notification and PBA ban.
- Make the 10k adoption tax credit permanent.
- Mentions faith-based initiatives.
Insterestingly, he said, "We serve God best by serving others." That gets less applause than his abortion lines. That tells me something about the people here. But in the end, the people here are only part of his audience. The audience is the moderate evangelicals who aren’t here, but who are voting. That’s why he brought up the atmospheric issues and Darfur.
Rudy closes with:
"You have nothing to fear from me." Some make me out to be an activist for liberal causes. If you believe that, just check any New York Times editorial while I was mayor.
I think that a bunch of people in the room really believed that. His closing applause was much, much stronger than the opening. A lot of the people sitting when he came in were standing. That’s a difference. He may not win the crowd, but he doesn’t need to. He needs to neutralize it.
I think he did that. Rudy couldn’t hit a home run, but he could hit a double. And he did.