The Washington Times - August 17, 2012, 09:18PM

A leader in drafting the Republican Party’s policy platform for its national convention later this month in Tampa, Fla. says the event will center on an “optimistic and hopeful” tone designed to rally the party around presumptive presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn, a co-chairman of the Republican National Convention Committee on Resolutions — typically called the “platform committee” — said during a taping Friday of C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers” show that negative politics would be set aside during the Aug. 27-30 event.

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While declining to divulge specifics of the convention platform, she said, “what we will see is that optimism for that good, solid entrepreneurial American spirit is going to be put to work.”

Mrs. Blackburn refuted criticisms her party has swung too far to the political right while neglecting moderates within its ranks, saying the GOP instead is expanding its base.

“What you’re seeing with the Republican Party is a widening of the tent. It’s like the sides have been lifted up,” she said. “I just really find the civility just very encouraging.”

The Tennessee lawmaker said that while the list of voters nationwide who identify themselves as “independent” is growing, those voters generally agree with the “Republican philosophy when it comes to having a smaller centralized government, when it comes to having taxes that are lower and …. a strong national defense, with the focus on individual freedom.”

“What you’re seeing is many of these educational — voter educational-type groups — where individuals come up and say, ‘I generally vote for the candidate, I don’t vote for a specific party, (but) I have found myself voting with Republicans in the last four elections’ … I find that to be encouraging.”

“Newsmakers” airs on C-SPAN1 Sunday at 10 am and 6 pm Eastern Standard Time.