And speaks of the importance, relevance, and righteousness of running on, not away from conservative principles:
"Some think the way to beat the Democrats in November is to be more like them. I could not disagree more," the one-time Tennessee senator says in remarks he was delivering Monday to the Conservative Party of New York. "I believe that conservatives beat liberals only when we challenge their outdated positions, not embrace them. This is not a time for philosophical flexibility, it is a time to stand up for what we believe in."
Thompson does not mention Giuliani in excerpts made available to The Associated Press, but he is clearly trying to draw a contrast with the rival leads in national Republican polls. Unlike Thompson, Giuliani backs abortion and gay rights. And, the ex-mayor's central argument for Republicans to nominate him is that he has the best chance to win in the general election.
Thompson was more direct in an interview on Fox News Channel before the speech.
"I don't think that the mayor has ever claimed to be a conservative," he said before rattling off Giuliani's history.
He noted that Giuliani, who ran as a Republican, sought and won the Liberal Party's endorsement in his first mayoral race in 1989, and that as mayor, he broke from the Republican Party and endorsed Democratic Governor Mario Cuomo in an unsuccessful race for a fourth term.
"So I don't know that he's ever claimed to be anything else," Thompson said, suggesting Giuliani was more a liberal than a conservative.