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Will Giuliani Face A Roy Moore Challenge?

Back in 2004, there was a mini-movement to draft Judge Roy Moore as a presidential candidate. Moore, the former head of the Alabama Supreme Court, garnered media attention for insisting that the Ten Commandments be displayed at the Alabama State Judicial Building. He eventually lost that battle, and his post, but he became a hero to a number of conservatives for his efforts – and was reportedly approached by the right-wing Constitution Party about becoming their candidate.

Four years later, certain elements of the Republican base are considering backing a Moore-like candidate once again. And while the Republican nominee in 2004 – George W. Bush – had a good reputation among those who might otherwise break for a figure like Moore, the 2008 Republican nominee might have a much harder time fighting off such a challenge. Especially if that nominee is Rudy Giuliani.

As the New York Times reported today, James C. Dobson of Focus on the Family, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, and other influential conservative Christians have vowed to consider backing a third-party candidate if the former New York mayor gets the Republican nod. Giuliani has a lot of differences with those on the religious right, chief among them his (somewhat muddled but relatively liberal) position on abortion.

That could mean an opening for some of the lesser-known candidates in the Republican field, among them Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas and former Gov. Mike Huckabee, who have both courted evangelicals. The latter, an ordained minister, was identified by both Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich yesterday as the only viable "dark horse" in the Republican field. If Huckabee loses out in the Republican race, a third-party candidacy, with the backing of the religious right, is not inconceivable.

As for the Giuliani campaign, a spokesperson told CBS News' Ryan Corsaro that while they are aware of the statements made by Dobson and other conservative Christian leaders over the weekend, polls show that Christian voters back Giuliani.

A Gallup poll released on September 28th shows Giuliani leading among conservatives, weekly churchgoers, Protestants, Christians and Catholics.

The spokesperson says Giuliani's stances on terrorism and fiscal conservatism are proving more important to Christian voters than social issues.