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GOP Confronts Obstacles to Uniting Party for McCain

During the GOP convention, the Republican party has worked to shore up its party unity and combat a fragmented image along conservative lines. Gary Bauer, a former Regan administration official and head of the "American Values" group, and former Massachusetts Gov. Jane Swift measure the effectiveness of the party's efforts.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    And more on the quest for Republican Party unity, and to Ray Suarez.

  • RAY SUAREZ:

    For that, we're joined by Gary Bauer. He served in the Reagan administration, ran for president, and is president of American Values, a conservative nonprofit group.

    And Jane Swift, she served as governor of Massachusetts from 2001 to 2003.

    And, Gary Bauer, let me start with you. For a long time in the early part of this year, it was said again and again that social conservatives were not sold on John McCain as a candidate. Are they now? And how much does the request for Sarah Palin to join the ticket have to do with it?

  • GARY BAUER, American Values:

    Well, I think they are sold on him now. I think the entire base — Sen. McCain admits that he's had a challenging relationship with the base of the Republican Party for a number of years. I think that's all basically gone now, and it's for a number of reasons.

    What happened out at Saddleback Church, where there was a tremendous contrast between Sen. McCain and Barack Obama on values issues, a solid conservative platform here at the convention.

    But I do think the selection of Gov. Palin to be the running mate has electrified not only the convention, but the conservative grassroots.

    And I would also add that the last 48 hours of how the American media, reading off of the talking points of the far left and the Democratic Party, and attacking Governor Palin has energized that base even more. And I believe it's done something else: I think it's going to drive working-class women who may think of themselves as Democrats or independents to the McCain-Palin ticket.

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