Perkins returned to a theme Jackson had started working at breakfast – that the Republican Party had been using white evangelicals while pushing them to the back of the bus, the way he said the Democratic Party had done with blacks – and maybe black and white evangelicals should get their own bus. Jackson wanted to make sure people understood that “our vote will at least be a spoiler vote,” and could keep someone out of the White House. But he said he was open to any candidate having a “road to Des Moines” moment on the movement’s issues.
Perkins clearly isn’t expecting many attendees to support Giuliani, though he gave Giuliani points for agreeing to attend. Asked specifically about Giuliani’s pledge to appoint “strict constructionists” to the Supreme Court, Perkins cited disappointments with Reagan and Bush I, and said of the current president, “We wouldn’t have Alito if we hadn’t opposed Harriet Miers.”
Perkins refused to predict the winner of FRC’s straw poll, but said he thought two or three candidates would come out of the weekend with credible support from social conservatives, enough to give them a boost in the early primaries.
Several reporters seemed skeptical that FRC’s straw poll will be immune to ballot-stuffing my candidates. Perkins defended the process but did say a couple of thousand people had become eligible by becoming FRC Action members in the past few weeks (you could become a member by registering for the conference.)
The Romney campaign is known for this sort of thing.