GOP vows to run on, not away from Bush’s record

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BOSTON — Republican officials said yesterday they plan to “run on President Bush’s record,” not run away from it as they said the Kerry-Edwards ticket did throughout the Democratic National Convention.

“We’re going to run on President Bush’s record. We’re going to run on his record of accomplishment in the war against terror. We’re going to run on his accomplishments regarding our economy. We’re going to run on all of his accomplishments, and we’re not going to run away from them,” said former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani.

Republican leaders, who have been monitoring and critiquing the Democratic speeches here all week, stepped up their counterattacks on the fourth and final day of the nominating convention, charging that the Democrats have bent over backward to hide the liberal voting records of their party’s standard-bearers.

Democrats avoided any mention of Sen. John Kerry’s 20-year voting record in favor of deep cuts in defense and intelligence programs and his opposition to across-the-board income-tax cuts and the $87 billion military funding bill for the troops in Iraq, a phalanx of top Republicans said at a press conference.

That will stand in sharp contrast to next month’s Republican National Convention in New York, where the party will go out of its way to talk about what Mr. Bush has done, said and supported in the past four years, they said.

When the Republican Party convenes to renominate Mr. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney at Madison Square Garden from Aug. 30 to Sept. 2, Mr. Giuliani promised, his party won’t do what Democrats have done at Boston’s FleetCenter.

“I think it’s clear to anyone, Democrat or Republican or independent, [the Democrats have] been running away from John Kerry’s record. They’re running away from John Edwards’ record,” Mr. Giuliani said.

“Do we have diversity in our party? Yes. Are we going to present that diversity? Of course we are. But none of us are going to get up there, as [Democrats have] been doing … and run away from the record of our candidates,” he said during the press briefing.

“We’re proud of the record of President Bush. We’re proud of the record of Vice President Cheney. We don’t have to run away from it. We may have areas of disagreement, but we’re not going to essentially try to create some kind of false picture of the president. We don’t have to do that. They have to,” he said.

The Republican Party rolled out some of its biggest political guns yesterday at the press conference, which was moved to a ballroom at the Omni Parker House Hotel that was packed with Republican supporters.

In addition to Mr. Giuliani, one of the prime-time speakers at the Republican convention next month, the party leaders included former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld, Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas and Ed Gillespie, chairman of the Republican National Committee, who has been presiding over the party’s weeklong briefings.

Mr. Weld said the convention was “all sizzle and no steak.”

Mr. Gillespie said, “Over the next four weeks, the president will be talking about the next four years and talking about new ideas, new policies and new approaches for a new term.”

But Mr. Giuliani was clearly the star attraction who leveled the sharpest attacks against the Democrats and what the Republicans have labeled the convention’s “extreme makeover” of Mr. Kerry’s liberal voting record.

The former mayor focused most of his remarks on Mr. Kerry’s votes and statements on the Iraq war and the president’s war on terrorism.

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