I've been getting the feeling that some people expect Rudy Giuliani to get a little roughed-up tomorrow. Here's what First Read is reporting, for example:
Giuliani is facing a group that is actively opposed to him as the Republican nominee, and there will be little he can say to change their minds. He will not be trying to win votes -- but to quell talk of a third-party candidacy.
And Atlantic's Marc Ambinder randomly talked to attendees about Rudy, and his response seemed to confirm this:
Not Carol Franz, wearing a green "Survivor of Adult Stem Cell Research" shirt.
I'm basically going on life issues because I've gotten off the death bed twice in my life," she said.
When Giuliani speaks here tomorrow morning, I asked Steve Pickett of West Palm Beach, Florida, what he would like to hear?
"I resign. I'm out of the race," he said.
Beth Picket said he wouldn't vote for Giuliani under any circumstances.
"Not even if Hillary..."
While there is no doubt there are activists organizing against Rudy at the meeting, my bet is that he will be warmly received by the crowd.
It would be very exciting for us to report that social conservatives booed or walked-out on Rudy, but my experience has been that they are polite to anyone who is willing to come talk to them.
If social conservatives ever want to display their displeasure with Rudy Giuliani, all eyes will be on them tomorrow. Some sort of walk-out demonstration would be devastating to Rudy because of the media coverage (this is probably the reason candidates tend to avoid hostile audiences).
But is this a hostile audience? I hardly think so. We know that several conservative leaders have vowed not to support him if he wins the nomination, but the 2,000 attendees may not be taking their cues from the leaders.
Personally, I think the current social conservative mood is both pragmatic and polite, and thus, talk of roughing-up Rudy is probably more bark than bite. Stay tuned ...