MORE ON THAT ENDORSEMENT.

Kate is on top of reporting Pat Robertson's endorsement of Rudy Giuliani, which broke after press time for this week's FundamentaList. As I've written both here and elsewhere, the endorsement of the big figures is a bit overrated in the eyes of the press; to the rank and file, endorsements of top leaders are helpful, but not decisive in forming their own opinions.

Robertson's endorsement may in fact hurt Giuliani more than it helps him. Robertson is not that popular among the rank and file; while his 700 Club remains a widely watched program, I'm told that the program's ratings actually go down when Robertson himself is hosting. Giuliani may feel like this is a big boost, but both George W. Bush and his father were advised to avoid appearances with Robertson because of negative public opinion of him, even among evangelicals. That was years ago, and Robertson has only lost influence since then, yielding ground even to his own protege and Mitt Romney backer Jay Sekulow. What's more, for the moderate voters Giuliani is simultaneously courting, Robertson is not only disliked but considered loony, for making claims such as God's wrath caused Ariel Sharon to lapse into a coma or prophesying tsunamis and nuclear wars.

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