Robert Novak

In fact, abortion went unmentioned in the debates until scarcely 10 minutes remained in Wednesday night's debate, when moderator Bob Schieffer of CBS News finally brought up the subject by asking McCain whether he could appoint a pro-choice Supreme Court justice. McCain replied he would have "no litmus test on judicial appointments." That did not please pro-life Republicans, as little did during the brief exchange on abortion.

While describing himself as a "proud pro-life Republican," McCain did not ask Obama whether he really considered the birth of a baby a punishment.

Neither McCain nor Schieffer asked for Obama's views on extreme pro-abortion legislation pending in Congress that would prohibit states from any limitations on abortion and would begin widespread federal funding of abortions. That failure, along with McCain not pressing Obama on whether he really considered the birth of a baby a "punishment," surely did not raise McCain's standing with suspicious socially conservative Republicans.

Robert Novak

Robert Novak (1931-2009) was a syndicated columnist and editor of the Evans-Novak Political Report.

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