The GOP Takes Philadelphia

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WASHINGTON: The GOP would probably rather be in Houston -- but this time around, Philly is the way to go. Reeling from Tuesday's election and intent on broadening their appeal, the Republicans are pitching their 2000 convention tent squarely in traditional Democratic territory -- the northeast. "The first president of the next millennium will be nominated in the cradle of liberty," Republican Party Chairman Jim Nicholson said Thursday.

Conventions, of course, are little more than scripted beauty pageants these days, but they still attract the pundits like flies. And just re-elected Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge is one of the GOP's new breed of pragmatic managerial governors who draw the broad local support the national party lacks. But why not runner-up New York, where mayor Rudy Giuliani and Governor George Pataki have Manhattan's crime rate way down and the city's popularity way up? "New York is still hostile territory for most Republicans," says veteran TIME political reporter Richard Duncan. "It's closer now than ever, but it's still seen as a deeply liberal city. They're still not ready." Maybe after Jesse Helms retires.