WASHINGTON – Approximately half of House Republicans have signed a formal complaint to President Bush, asking him to add more conservative voices to the list of speakers addressing August's Republican convention (search) in New York.
Late last month, organizers announced their list of prime time speakers for the convention scheduled Aug. 30-Sept. 2. They include New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Arizona Sen. John McCain (search), California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Education Secretary Rod Paige and Georgia Democratic Sen. Zell Miller. President Bush, Vice President Cheney and both first and second ladies are also slated to address the crowd of 50,000 in Madison Square Garden and the millions watching at home on television.
Indiana Rep. Mike Pence (search) authored the letter, which notes that many of the speakers at the convention "do not fully ascribe to every plank in the party's platform" -- specifically the part of the platform that states the party's opposition to abortion. Schwarzenegger, Pataki, Bloomberg and Giuliani are all abortion rights supporters.
Pence, who sent the letter to House leaders on Friday after circulating it among Republican representatives for their signatures, suggested that Illinois Rep. Henry Hyde, a longtime abortion opponent, would be a great choice for a primetime speaker spot during the convention.
Hyde is chairman of the International Relations Committee, which has been largely responsible for language in foreign relations appropriations bills that bars international family planning services that receive U.S. funding from providing abortions. An amendment that excludes abortion from the list of health care services Medicaid will pay for also bears his name.
In the letter, Hyde is credited with having a tremendous impact on the direction of U.S. policy over the last 25 years. He is described as an unrelenting fighter against Communism and a leader in the effort to develop a global AIDS initiative.
"Few people have been as strong an advocate for the rights of the unborn as this thoughtful, courageous and decent man," the letter reads. "Henry Hyde is truly an icon of our party to millions of its most ardent supporters ... We have no doubt of the expressions of support you will receive or the warm demonstrations of support Henry Hyde will receive from the floor of the convention should he be afforded this honor."
Pence said he plans to deliver the letter to the president in the coming days. Among the signatories to the request are a handful of powerful House committee chairmen, including Appropriations Committee Chairman Bill Young of Alaska, Commerce Committee Chairman Joe Barton of Texas and Republican Policy Committee Chairman Chris Cox of California. Pro-choice Republican Rep. Jim Leach of Iowa also signed the request.
Fox News' Molly Hooper contributed to this report.