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Tuesday, August 31, 2004

The New York Times > Washington > Campaign 2004 > The Platform: Social Conservatives Wield Influence on Platform

The New York Times > Washington > Campaign 2004 > The Platform: Social Conservatives Wield Influence on Platform: "THE PLATFORM
Social Conservatives Wield Influence on Platform
By ROBIN TONER and DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK

Republicans approved a platform yesterday that puts the party firmly on the record against legalized abortion, gay marriage and other forms of legal recognition for same-sex couples, reflecting the political clout of social conservatives and setting up a stark contrast with the Democrats for the fall campaign.
The platform also hails President Bush's fight against terrorism, advocates making his tax cuts permanent and calls for the creation of personal investment accounts in Social Security as part of a new 'ownership society'' that Republicans assert will give Americans more responsibility and control over their financial lives.
The 93-page document, produced under the tight control of the Bush forces, tries to accomplish several political tasks: promoting and defending Mr. Bush's record, particularly on national security; sketching a domestic vision for a second term; and energizing the party's conservative base.
Democrats and their allies immediately denounced the platform as extremist and at odds with the moderate image the party is trying to project this week.
'It's the truth behind the facade of their convention,'' said Stephanie Cutter, spokeswoman for Senator John Kerry, the Democratic nominee. 'It reflects the divisiveness and extreme policies of the last four years, while the public speakers paint a very different picture.''
Gay rights and abortion rights groups restated their dismay. Cheryl Jacques, president of the Human Rights Campaign, a g"

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