DNC to 'Out' GOP Candidates on Issues

In its bid to identify weaknesses in the GOP presidential field, the Democratic National Committee has revamped its communications strategy to help local reporters in key early states seek various positions from the Republicans.

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In its bid to identify weaknesses in the GOP presidential field, the Democratic National Committee has revamped its communications strategy to help local reporters in key early states seek various positions from the Republicans.

The effort was seen last week when the DNC held a conference call with local reporters in early states to review the foreign policy proposals and positions of the GOP field. A party official said the goal is to prompt reporters to then ask the candidates about some critical issues that aren't getting a lot of attention because of the overwhelming focus on polls and the traditional horse-race story.

"We see our job as getting the candidates on the record about these things," said a Democratic official. By making these conference calls to local reporters, the party believes it can help steer coverage to important questions. "We're trying to educate people on where the candidates are," said the official. In addition, the party is sending out "extreme statements" by Republicans on issues such as the economy, the war, foreign policy, and healthcare as it builds a case to portray the candidates as "Bush Republicans." Said a top DNC official, "We know we can't run against Bush, but these folks are very similar, and we want to make that case."

—Paul Bedard