Social issues still fire up GOP despite 2012 loss

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By CHARLES BABINGTON, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican lawmakers have a message for those who want the party to soften its emphasis on social conservatism in hopes of reaching a wider national audience: "Not so fast."

House Republicans on Tuesday passed the most restrictive abortion measure in years. Senate Democrats are sure to kill it.

House Republicans also advanced legislation to crack down on immigrants living illegally in the country. That approach contrasts with senators who would offer those immigrants a shot at citizenship.

The actions reflect a roiling debate among Republicans over how to respond to consecutive campaign losses to President Barack Obama.

Many Republicans think the party's establishment erred in concluding the GOP must embrace "comprehensive immigration reform" to attract Hispanic voters.

And they dismiss the notion that Republicans should soft-pedal their opposition to abortion.

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