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“Senator Clinton’s remarks yesterday were a perfect statement of the pro-choice position. … She reiterated time and time again her support for Roe, she outlined ways to reduce unintended pregnancies,” she said.

Mr. Bauer, however, said he had never heard Mrs. Clinton be so “nuanced on abortion.”

“Some of her most offensive speeches have been in front of pro-choice groups,” he said, adding that Mr. Reines’ contention “safely fits into the spin category.”

Mrs. Clinton has used moderate rhetoric on other issues as well.

She said last week, “There is no contradiction between support for faith-based initiatives and upholding our constitutional principles.”

However, Democrats have fought proposals by President Bush that would expand the role of religious groups in delivering social services.

Although some liberals have belittled religious people who populate the “red states,” the senator said America is big enough for people to “live out their faith in the public square.”

She also has taken a hard line on immigration — in some ways one that is more conservative than the president, who has proposed a “guest-worker” program that many Republicans charge would amount to amnesty for the up to 12 million illegals in the country.

She said last week that Mr. Bush has not “protected our borders,” and said last February: “I am, you know, adamantly against illegal immigrants.”

Although some pundits mused that Mrs. Clinton’s seizure of the middle ground is politically savvy this far out from an election, Republican pollster Frank Luntz said otherwise.

“The most dangerous thing for a politician is to go through the buzzsaw of hypocrisy. It is actually better to be principled and extreme than to be contradictory and mainstream,” Mr. Luntz said.

Charlie Black, a Republican consultant with close ties to the Bush White House, agreed.

“She’s trying to follow a lesson from Kerry’s loss, which is that the party is perceived as too liberal. But she’s ignoring another lesson from Kerry’s loss: That he suffered badly for flip-flopping and being perceived as an opportunist,” he said.

Still, Mr. Black noted that Democrats have learned a lesson from the 2004 election: They’ve got to “be able to talk to conservatives and people of faith.”

Mary Anne Marsh, a Democratic consultant, said Mrs. Clinton’s rhetoric represents “not a change in position as much as an example of change in the way Democrats can talk about things, and especially anything about values.”

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