NEW YORK – Tuesday's theme at the Republican National Convention was "Compassion of the American People." FOXNews.com asked prominent convention-goers how that plays into the GOP message, bipartisanship and getting in touch with their softer side.
Rep. Mike Castle, Del.: "What is very interesting is education funding has gone up tremendously in the last four years under this particular president and Congress, and so we are very pleased about that . So you'll see that Republicans are at the top of the list when it comes to those things."
Rep. Deborah Pryce, Ohio, House Republican Conference Chair: "The middle has a huge role to play. I think we need to look in terms of solutions. The country has so many problems and we cannot find solutions unless we have a meeting in the middle. George Bush started off his term trying to be bipartisan. I've sat in so many meeting where Republicans invited Democrats into the White House meetings.
"Bill Clinton never did that. George Bush started out that way but something just didn't allow that to happen. I think it might have been offshoots of Florida in the last election. I think President Bush was more than willing to work across the aisle. I think the best example, before things got too bad, was No Child Left Behind. That was a great bipartisan effort and I think that we can expect to see more of that kind of thing once this election is behind us."
Rep. Mark Foley, Fla.: "[Moderates] are listening, they're learning they want to be engaged, they want to be courted. They are not just going to say I am a Republican only. They aren't monolithic. The economy is a winner for us; when we talk about taxes, job creation, people listen."
John McLaughlin, Republican pollster: "The issue of terror has united (Republicans) so that their social issue differences on abortion and on stem cell (research) have been really put down as a minor concern right now. On the other hand, the president has a huge opportunity at this convention to lay out an agenda where he can expand on his strength for fighting terror and wining the war in Iraq, and at the same time move into — like he did in 2000 — and win on the social issues of education, prescription drugs and health care for seniors. And certainly his program is creating jobs. That is where the middle class, suburban voter, the swing voter, is going to decide this election. So everybody is focused on base politics ... This is soft politics that the president can appeal to by saying, 'You know, I am strong on defense, you know, I am good on my word, but I'm also going to solve your concerns about jobs, health care and education and I am going to do a better job than my opponent.'"