Tue, Jul 27, 2004 - Page 7 News List

GOP opens its war room

AP , BOSTON

In a brick building near the Democratic National Convention site, several dozen Republicans staff a war room, scouring the Internet, monitoring convention coverage and fielding media calls.

``We're behind enemy lines and we're well aware of that fact,'' said Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie.

Republicans were holding the first of their news conferences from war room yesterday with Colorado's Governor Bill Owens and Representative Henry Bonilla.

Party researchers are searching computer screens that line all four walls in the research room. They are looking for online reports about the Democratic ticket of John Kerry and John Edwards.

Televisions are tuned to news stations covering the convention. The researchers fire out e-mails to respond quickly to any Democratic claim they wish to counter.

The room marked ``Spinners'' is where Republican strategists such as Mary Matalin and Rich Galen will give interviews and provide their interpretations of events during the Democrats' big week.

"The entire week will be an exercise in giving John Kerry's voting record a makeover," argued spokeswoman Christine Iverson. "We understand we're swimming upstream."

The Republican war room in Boston is similar to the Bush campaign's in Arlington, Virginia.

"It's the best peg we could have," said Scott Hogenson, director of radio press for the Republican National Committee. "If we were doing this out of Washington, it would be lame."

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