And he talked to the crowd of 2,000 about "our shared values and goals," pledging to appoint strict-constructionist judges and support "any reasonable suggestion" to reduce the incidence of abortion.
"Please know this: You have absolutely nothing to fear from me," he said early in his speech, adding at the end, "I'll continue to extend my hand to you, and I hope you'll take it."
Giuliani didn't find a lot of immediate takers.
"One drop of poison ruins the whole soup," Phil Burress of Cincinnati said of Giuliani's words. "Nominating a pro-abortion candidate would make the Republican Party implode."
In a straw poll of 5,576 attendees and supporters voting online, Giuliani finished eighth with 107 votes, 26 more than last-place finisher Sen. John McCain of Arizona. The winner was former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, with 1,595 votes, just ahead of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee with 1,565.
Giuliani did succeed in reassuring some conservative Christians as they look past the nominating process to November 2008.
"He alleviated some of our fears that he is some rabid liberal working for the other side," said Tim Echols of Jefferson, Ga., a Huckabee supporter. "If he becomes the nominee and he keeps saying that kind of stuff, I'm working for him."
If activists on the Religious Right agree on anything right now as they grapple with the available options, it's that these are trying times.
"A lot of people are frustrated that no one in the top tier of candidates represents both their values and who they are as people," said Colin Hanna, leader of Let Freedom Ring, a conservative organization based in Chester County. "The frustration is pretty deep, and it's sincere. The question is whether it'll be lasting."
In 2004, the "values voters" united behind an incumbent president whom they considered one of their own, even if he didn't always live up to their expectations.
White evangelical Christians played a significant role in building George W. Bush's reelection majority. This time, though, there's no obvious place for them to go.
From their leaders' perspectives, each Republican candidate has a central flaw: Huckabee, a Southern Baptist preacher, hasn't raised much money; McCain isn't to be trusted; former Sen. Fred Thompson seems to lack the fire; Romney is a recent convert on key issues and a Mormon. And then there's Giuliani.
"If Giuliani is the nominee, you have a race in which abortion, gay rights, and some other social issues are off the table," said John Green, senior fellow at the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. "Then what's the reason for this voter group, which represents at least one-fourth of the Republican base, to turn out?"
The political landscape is not to their liking, either. In American politics, social issues usually recede in prominence when the electorate is worried about peace and prosperity. At this stage, this looks like an election about peace and prosperity.
According to a recent poll by the Pew Center for the People and the Press, even white evangelicals say they are more concerned about domestic issues, including the economy, and the war in Iraq than abortion or gay rights. And a lot of them are backing Giuliani, at least for now.
So it's understandable why movement leaders aren't sure what to do.
Gary Bauer, a former presidential candidate and head of a group called American Values, speaks favorably of Thompson, saying "a Thompson-vs.-Hillary [Clinton] race would be an easy call for me to make."
John Willke, a founder of the antiabortion movement, backs Romney as "the only candidate who can lead our pro-life and for-family conservative movement to victory."
James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, has denounced Giuliani and discussed a third-party option, saying that winning should not come "at the expense of what we hold most dear."
"The vast majority of social conservatives have drawn a line: They will not support a pro-abortion candidate," said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, which helped organize the three-day gathering. "We care about many issues. But I would say that life and [the definition of] marriage are deal breakers for many of our voters."
Mostly, though, they don't want to be taken for granted. They certainly weren't this weekend; all of the Republican candidates came to speak.
McCain assured them of the depth of his opposition to abortion.
Thompson said his first act on becoming president would be to enter the Oval Office and pray.
Romney pledged to use the bully pulpit to decry out-of-wedlock births.
Huckabee, who got the warmest reception, said he would push for a constitutional amendment on marriage to reflect "the holy word of God."
In the end, movement leaders have a limited number of choices.
They can coalesce around a single candidate in the primaries, but they risk damaging their credibility if they can't deliver. They can go the third-party route, but that almost surely guarantees election of a Democrat who supports abortion rights.
"If the choice comes down to more than two candidates, we're deciding this election before it starts," former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania warned. At the same time, though, he said "we must fight to assure" that the Republican candidate is someone who "truly shares our values."
The likelihood, analysts say, is that the leaders will scatter among several candidates for now, then come together to deal with the eventual Republican nominee.
"After a while, you've got to stop moping," Bauer said. "I don't want Rudy Giuliani vs. Hillary Clinton to be the final choice. But if it is, I'll lead the delegation that goes to seek assurances from Giuliani. . . . I think he knows he can't beat her without us."
Mark Rozell, a political scientist at George Mason University, said: "They have no great options. But the death of the Christian Right - like their taking over the Republican Party - is a story that has been written too many times."
Contact senior writer Larry Eichel at 215-854-2415 or firstname.lastname@example.org.