Republicans Lack Clear Frontrunner for President
STEVE INSKEEP, Host:
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
DEBORAH AMOS, Host:
JUAN WILLIAMS: Good morning, Deb.
AMOS: Juan, let's set aside the Democrats for now. Let's focus on the GOP. Isn't this about the time that they should be lining up behind a leader?
WILLIAMS: And as a result, the GOP has always made a virtue of unity. And of course, it puts the political machinery nationwide in gear early behind one candidate. It's that you were a football team choosing the quarterback and making sure that everybody on the team knew exactly who is the leader. So this is an exceptional year in that regard because at the moment, they still are looking for a candidate.
AMOS: But, Juan, the Republicans have a leading candidate and that's Rudy Giuliani. It's just that he doesn't quite fit the classic Republican mold. Is that where the problem is?
WILLIAMS: But getting back to your point that the reason that the party has been slow to embrace him as the frontrunner. He's just so unusual - he supports abortion rights, gay rights, gun control. He doesn't fit the family values-evangelical template for a Republican presidential candidate.
AMOS: And that's the very case that his challenger, Mitt Romney, has been making, which is, I'm the Republican from the Republican wing of the party. It's not working. He's trying to appeal to the party, why not?
WILLIAMS: When you look at, not only Romney, but someone like John McCain, you see that they haven't exactly been able to make the case. And I think in McCain's situation also, he's got very little money at this point and to some, he seems old - not like the natural successive that some thought he was going to be. Then you look at other candidates down the line on the Republican side like Mike Huckabee who has been very effective in the debates. But he has no money. And so he has to fight through his obscurity with very few tools. And that the result is, there is this emerging consensus among party influentials and leaders and those at the White House that maybe it's time to get behind Rudy Giuliani.
AMOS: Thank you very much, Juan.
WILLIAMS: You're welcome, Deb.
AMOS: NPR news analyst Juan Williams.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.