Pat Robertson’s endorsement will undoubtedly help Rudy Giuliani snag conservative votes, but the televangelist's nod can only do so much to help the pro-choice divorcé, writes Salon’s Walter Shapiro—and Rudy may be satisfied with that. The aging evangelical has granted permission for those already attracted to Rudy to set aside abortion or gay-rights doubts and vote Giuliani.
The media has an unhealthy belief in the power of endorsements, most acutely seen when many called the 2004 Democratic race for Howard Dean after Al Gore gave his blessing. But neither does Giuliani want to look too religious: Instead, the endorsement ceremony was stage-managed to appeal to Antonin Scalia fans. And Robertson was lukewarm, calling America’s Mayor “an acceptable candidate.”