Bush and McCain set to repair wounds at convention

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The Independent US

Final preparations were in full swing yesterday for the Republican Party's national convention in Philadelphia. Brotherly love was the order of the day: between rival Republican factions, erstwhile presidential rivals George W Bush and Senator John McCain, and the city's police and thousands of would-be protesters.

Final preparations were in full swing yesterday for the Republican Party's national convention in Philadelphia. Brotherly love was the order of the day: between rival Republican factions, erstwhile presidential rivals George W Bush and Senator John McCain, and the city's police and thousands of would-be protesters.

At the giant stadium south of the city, where the convention opens on Monday, workmen were hammering the platform for the giant stadium into shape, labelling the seating and testing the stage lighting. Volunteers inflated a myriad of red, white and blue balloons for the "biggest balloon drop ever" when Mr Bush is formally nomination next Thursday.

As Washington politicians, lobbyists and journalists decamped to Philadelphia, there was good news for the Bush team. Mr Bush and his newly designated running mate, the former Congressman and defence secretary Richard Cheney, were shown to be riding high in the opinion polls. Two polls, which had shown the gap between Mr Bush and his Democrat opponent, Vice-President Al Gore, narrowed to almost nothing a week before, yesterday put Mr Bush with back in the lead by 11 and 14 points respectively.

Mr McCain, whose was defeat by Mr Bush in the primaries, looked ready for reconciliation. A leaked section of what purported to be a draft of his convention speech for next Tuesday had him urging Republicans to support Mr Bush in the name of patriotism and all-American values.

A more charitable tone was also set by the party's official platform - its formal statement of policy positions - published yesterday. The platform drops the combative language of the last two conventions applied to Democratic policies, in favour of more "inclusive" sentiments. The strong anti-abortion stance, however, remains intact - a gesture apparently designed to pre-empt a quarrel with the conservative right.

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