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Tuesday, July 27, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.
A peek inside GOP's war room in Boston
By WILL LESTER
"We believe that for the next four days, the Democrats are going through an extreme makeover of John Kerry's record," portraying a liberal Massachusetts senator as a moderate presidential candidate, said Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie.
"Senator Kerry's 20-year Senate voting record is a long shadow the Democrats will try to hide with lights, camera and rhetoric this week," Gillespie said. "For one night they may succeed, but Senator Kerry will never be able to shake his voting record between now and November."
Gillespie joined Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey, Texas Congressman Henry Bonilla and Colorado Gov. Bill Owens yesterday at a news conference to offer the Republicans' contrasting view of Kerry and the Democrats.
Healey noted that Kerry once held the same job of Massachusetts lieutenant governor.
"I'm very proud of my governor, Governor (Mitt) Romney," she said. "I don't think we'll see Lt. Gov. Kerry standing with Mike Dukakis during the course of this convention."
In the 1988 presidential race, aides to President Bush's father successfully painted Democratic nominee Dukakis as a Massachusetts liberal out of touch with most of the United States. Republicans want to do the same to Kerry.
Romney said yesterday that having the convention in town doesn't change Boston's political makeup dramatically.
"People were asking me last night what it's like having so many Democrats in town," Romney told NBC's "Today," "and I said I don't notice any difference. We have that every single day."
Healey said Romney didn't come to the GOP war room for partisan attacks on Kerry because he's focused on security in Massachusetts during the convention.
But several dozen Republicans can be found in a nondescript, red-brick building near the convention site, scouring the Internet, monitoring convention coverage and fielding media calls.
Republicans don't give out the address of the makeshift war room, and they don't advertise their presence in Boston.
"We're behind enemy lines and we're well aware of that fact," Gillespie said.
"But we can't allow baseless charges to go unanswered."
The war room is on two floors of the building a couple of blocks from the FleetCenter, the downtown arena where the Democrats are holding their nominating convention.
Researchers from the RNC are searching computer screens that line all four walls in the research room that is the nerve center of the war room. They are looking for online reports about the Democratic ticket.
On the walls, the Democratic senators are listed along with the National Journal's rating of their voting records. Kerry's is the most liberal; Edwards is No. 4.
A Boston Herald front page pictures Kerry and Edwards with the headline: "They're left of Ted! GOP: Dem team more liberal than Kennedy."
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