Dick Morris and  Eileen McGann

Standing up there with five business suits, Hillary’s competent, capable, articulate, and knowledgeable performance impressed many voters who had not seen her in such a long form program before. The debate came at a time when the importance of having a pro-choice woman as their nominee was underscored to feminist Democrats by the Supreme Court decision upholding a ban on partial birth abortion. Together with a strong antiwar statement late last week, Hillary harvested a big gain in the polls.

All of these developments give Rudy Giuliani a shot in the arm. His focus on security issues, bolstered by his record at reducing crime in New York, makes him the natural beneficiary.

Giuliani’s political fortunes will fluctuate in direct relation to American perceptions of the dangers posed by terrorism. When we relax, Rudy will slip. When we are reminded of the reality we face, he will rise. Like Bush in 2004, terrorism is his issue and the greater our sense of threat, the more we will turn to him.

But when relaxed, Republican primary voters will return to the social themes that auger ill for Rudy. His “that would be OK” answer in the debate was ridiculously passive. His vigorous defense of the pro-choice position was courageous but there is no way the issue will help him win.

Want to know who will win the Republican nomination? Tell us which issue will be paramount and we’ll tell you!

Dick Morris and Eileen McGann

Dick Morris, a former political adviser to Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and President Bill Clinton, is the author of 2010: Take Back America. To get all of Dick Morris’s and Eileen McGann’s columns for free by email, go to www.dickmorris.com