Softening The Republicans' Message

Part poet, part pol, Peggy Noonan was the Republican Party's go-to speechwriter for nearly a decade. Ronald Reagan turned to her to mark the 40th anniversary of D-day--"These are the boys of Pointe du Hoc"--and it was Noonan who helped the first George Bush find his voice in 1988. Her notion of a "kinder, gentler America" was picked up by Bush to soften the G.O.P.'s image after eight years of Reagan conservatism. Noonan then quit politics and went on to fame as a pundit and author.

Now Noonan is jumping back in the game as the party prepares its prime-time convention...

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