When he takes the stage in Tampa tonight, Chris Christie will receive a warmer welcome than the last New Jersey governor to deliver the keynote address at a Republican convention. That would be Tom Kean, the aristocratic exponent of the “politics of inclusion,” whose speech to the party’s New Orleans gathering was interrupted by taunts from anti-abortion delegates.
Opposition to legal abortion is even more widespread in the GOP today than it was then, thanks to a quarter-century influx of conservative evangelicals and a corresponding exodus of cultural moderates. But Christie won’t have to worry about a repeat of the Kean episode, because he’s one of the pro-lifers.
Chances are abortion won’t come up in Christie’s speech tonight. In the wake of the Todd Akin uproar and the attention it’s drawn to the GOP’s rape exception-free platform language, Mitt Romney’s campaign is taking pains to avoid the subject as much as possible. But Christie’s abortion history is worth considering, because it provides a telling contrast with the soon-to-be GOP nominee.
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