Republicans Want Kerry to Show True Liberal Colors

By Robert B. Bluey | July 7, 2008 | 8:30 PM EDT

Boston ( - In the eyes of Republicans, the "extreme makeover" of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry begins Monday night at his party's nominating convention.

"Tonight you're going to see one of the great makeovers of the Democratic convention," said Colorado Gov. Bill Owens, one of four prominent Republicans who spoke to reporters Monday before the convention got under way.

Added U.S. Rep. Henry Bonilla (R-Texas), "If you're an angry, hard-core Democrat, you ought to be very proud of this extreme ticket, because they have stood for raising taxes for 20 years ... more government regulation, more internationalism."

Each day during convention week, Republicans plan to showcase rising stars in their party to contrast Kerry's liberal voting record with his party's attempt to move from the left to center of American politics during convention week. Republicans even have a website - - that serves as a clearinghouse of information.

Owens and Bonilla joined Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Kerry Healy and Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie to criticize Kerry on his liberal voting record. According to a National Journal ranking of 2003 votes, Kerry is the most liberal senator, followed closely by Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, his vice presidential running mate.

The Republican National Committee released a poll Saturday to emphasize the point. It suggested Kerry was more liberal than his own constituents in Massachusetts on issues ranging from taxes to abortion to security.

"The voters in Massachusetts view President Bush as a much more decisive leader than John Kerry, and view John Kerry as being pessimistic about the future of America," Healy said. "We don't need a president who is pessimistic about the future."

The GOP's strategy, according to Gillespie, is to diffuse the "bounce" Kerry is expected to get in the polls after the convention. Republicans have suggested Kerry might receive as much as a 15-point boost, while Democrats have said an 8-point jump might be more reasonable.

Gillespie and his Republican cohorts said Bush, who has trailed or remained even with Kerry in recent polls, is in good shape as Democrats prepare to dominate news coverage in the coming week. Owens noted that 1996 Republican nominee Bob Dole led incumbent president Bill Clinton at times, yet Clinton won handily on Election Day.

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