By Robert Alt
After a disappointing performance in the first Republican presidential debate, Rudy Giuliani walked away from last night’s debate as the clear winner. Not only did he play to his strengths, reclaiming the mantle of America’s mayor by shaming Ron Paul for his “blame America first” comments, but he finally appears to have settled on a more politically palatable answer to the abortion question by emphasizing a reduction in the frequency of abortions. (An answer which, by the way, suggests that one of his staffers finally watched footage from Bill Clinton’s campaigns. Remember the old mantra of “safe, legal, and rare”?) This follows strong endorsements from the Club for Growth and from former United States Solicitor General Ted Olson here on National Review Online. And yet, questions remain about Giuliani’s conservative bona fides, and nowhere are these questions more pressing than on the issue of judicial nominees. Despite Olson’s assurances, Giuliani’s poor character judgment, as demonstrated by his attacks on Edwin Meese, the architect of Reagan’s judicial legacy, creates grave doubts about whether he is the best man to be picking federal judges.