One is "America's Mayor," the other is the nation's senior governor.

But ask conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly what chance either Rudolph Giuliani or George Pataki has of capturing the 2008 Republican presidential nomination and her answer comes quickly:

"Not much," Schlafly said. "I don't think Giuliani or Pataki will resonate with grass-roots Republicans or Midwest Republicans. They are SO New York."

Schlafly's out-of-hand dismissal of the former New York city mayor and the three-term New York governor mirrors what pollsters and pundits contend: Giuliani and Pataki, supporters of abortion and gay rights as well as tough gun control laws, are too liberal for the conservative Republicans who tend to dominate the presidential primaries.

To quote a New Yorker, "Fuhgetaboutit."

That reality has not deterred Giuliani or Pataki. Both are exploring possible bids and making the necessary rounds of the early voting states.

Pataki, who decided not to seek a fourth term this year, planned stops in New Hampshire on Thursday and Friday. He is to give the keynote address at Delaware's state GOP convention on Saturday.

Giuliani travels to Iowa on Monday to help Rep. Jim Nussle (news, bio, voting record)'s campaign for governor and will deliver a motivational speech in Des Moines. The next day, the former mayor headlines a National Republican Senatorial Committee fundraiser in Washington.

Both have carefully crafted story lines: Giuliani, the resolute leader in the face of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001; Pataki, the Republican who won three terms in an overwhelmingly Democratic state. Omitted from the biographies is any mention of their longtime policies.

"When was the last time Republicans nominated a pro-abortion, pro-gay rights Northeasterner with an iffy record on taxes and spending?" asked Nelson Warfield, an aide to Bob Dole's failed 1996 Republican presidential campaign. "That's the hurdle both Giuliani and Pataki face."

Abortion is the critical issue for both.

"The battle has been fought at Republican National Conventions over a long time," said Schlafly, who has been to every GOP convention since 1952. "It's a done deal for the Republican Party."

Other Republicans argue that the Sept. 11 legacy will resonate.

"They both have great, proven records in leading New York through some very difficult times, which New Hampshire voters appreciate," said Jayne Millerick, a former Granite State GOP chairwoman.

Independent pollster Lee Miringoff said if Giuliani and Pataki decide to seek national office, they eventually will have to deal with the "litmus issues."

"It's a question of whether they can effectively make counter arguments. I assume they will talk about their values and what their vision of the Republican Party is," said Miringoff, head of Marist College's Institute for Public Opinion in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. "I don't think they're in a position to say, 'That's not really what I meant.'"

Arguing the former mayor's positions on social issues are well-known, Giuliani adviser Sunny Mindel said the Republican Party "is a big tent and his record stands for itself."

"Rudy is who Rudy is," Mindel said.

Giuliani has been courting the right. He spoke to a Global Pastors Network conference of evangelicals in Florida in January. On May 18, he will headline a fundraiser in Atlanta for Ralph Reed, the former Christian Coalition leader now running for lieutenant governor in Georgia.

The Rev. Jerry Falwell recently said he could not support Giuliani for president because of "irreconcilable differences on life and family and that kind of thing."

Despite the criticism, Giuliani is riding high in national polls that show him and Sen. John McCain (news, bio, voting record) of Arizona leading the pack of potential 2008 GOP presidential contenders. Those polls have Pataki as a statistical afterthought.

Schlafly said Republicans across the country will be happy to have Pataki and particularly Giuliani raise money for them, but when it comes to picking a presidential candidate, even the former mayor will be quickly nudged aside.

"He will not be jeered. He will not be hissed," said Chuck Hurley of the Iowa Family Policy Center. "People will say good job, but we can't have you supporting our Supreme Court."