THOU SHALT NOT COVET THY NEIGHBOR'S ENDORSEMENT.

In a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. this morning, televangelist and Christian Coalition leader Pat Robertson announced that he is endorsing Rudy Giuliani in the GOP primary. The endorsement comes as somewhat of a surprise, given many evangelicals aren't content with Giuliani's less-stringent positions on abortion and gay rights, and it's clearly a big win for a candidate who's had a difficult time courting social conservatives. (For more, see Sarah Posner's FundamentaList this week.) It's an endorsement Mitt Romney was gunning for, as Robertson is seen as an influential leader in the religious right, and when he ran for president in 1988, he managed to finish second in the Iowa caucuses. The endorsement also points to the complicated strategizing going on among the religious right. The "defeat the Islamofascists" faction seems to be falling in line behind Giuliani, and the crowd more concerned with abortion and the gays is backing Romney. The result seems likely to be a solidly divided religious right. Marc Ambinder and Chris Cillizza have more.

--Kate Sheppard

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