McCain is touting his pro-life record in conservative South Carolina.
GOOSE CREEK, South Carolina (CNN) - Three days after Sen. John McCain's campaign sent out a direct mail piece attacking the conservative credentials of rival Republican Rudy Giuliani, the Arizonan once again touted his pro-life record and declared that he is the strongest candidate in the current GOP field on the issue.
"I think I've been pretty vocal in my consistent pro-life record, particular in the debates we've had that are televised nationally, and it is a consistent record," he said in an interview with CNN following a town hall meeting here on Thursday.
McCain added that his record on abortion is "the most consistent of any of the major candidates."
Despite a solid 83 percent rating from the American Conservative Union, McCain has had difficulty in appealing to many social conservatives still bitter about his support of campaign finance reform and the 2000 presidential campaign. McCain called religious leaders Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell "agents of intolerance" during that race.
McCain has since worked to make amends with religious leaders. In May, McCain was the keynote graduation speaker at Falwell’s Liberty University in Virginia.
McCain's mailing this week suggests he will promote his pro-life record in the final two months leading up to January 19 South Carolina primary.
The mail piece, obtained by CNN, is headlined: "McCain: the only Conservative who can beat Senator Clinton. It says that he "is a stronger candidate than Rudy Giuliani in the general election." The mail piece also attacks Giuliani from the right by declaring that McCain has "a consistent 24-year pro-life voting record."
Giuliani, a former New York City mayor, is a supporter of abortion rights, but has pledged to appoint strict constructionists to the federal bench.
Although he claims a strong anti-abortion rights record and a commitment to appointing strict constructionist judges, McCain's support for embryonic stem cell research and his opposition to a federal amendment banning gay marriage are positions not popular with Christian conservatives and religious leaders in South Carolina.
– CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby