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State GOP rallies behind McCain

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New Richmond, 54017
New Richmond Wisconsin 127 South Knowles Avenue 54017

If conservatives are still holding their noses over what John McCain stands for, they didn't show it at their party's state convention in Stevens Point over the weekend.

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GOP members say they'll try to use McCain's reputation as a party maverick to their advantage.

Republican National Committee member Mary Buestrin says the message will be the most important thing - a strong defense, less government and lower taxes.

Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker, who's considering a run for governor in 2010, says McCain needs the blue-collar Democrats who voted for Ronald Reagan in the '80s.

Walker says those voters will decide if Wisconsin carries a Republican for the first time since Reagan's second term in 1984.

Meanwhile, Democrats are portraying McCain as a puppet of President Bush, who's suffering from record-low disapproval ratings in the Badger State.

At the convention, the liberal group One Wisconsin Now portrayed McCain as a rubber stamp for the Bush agenda.

Wisconsin figures to be a close battleground state again.

Democrat John Kerry won it by only 0.4 percent in 2004.

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