GOP Moderates: Stuck in the Middle

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WASHINGTON: From curing gays to partial-birth abortions the GOP's fiery right-wingers have little problem making themselves heard in an election season. But a new poll, commissioned the Republican Leadership Council, indicates that the GOP's sensible silent -- the fiscally conservative but socially hands-off moderates -- had better get their turn at the mic if the party expects to win elections. "If Republicans focus on moral issues there is a real chance we will lose the House of Representatives," poll taker Kieran Mahoney told reporters Monday.

But TIME congressional correspondent James Carney says that the conventional wisdom about midterm elections -- that they are won by the turnout of party loyalists, i.e., the religious right -- will keep the GOP moderates relegated to their customary place in the wings (just ask private citizen William Weld). "Winning over moderate voters will be crucial in the presidential election," he says, "but in the midterms, you win by getting out your core voters."