McCain, Platform Unlikely to Align
Republicans began making the final changes to their party platform Tuesday in Minneapolis, hammering out a conservative document that leaves decisions about how to manage the war in Iraq up to the next president.
The 48-page document includes several points of disagreement with the nominee-to-be, John McCain, including on immigration, stem cell research and a constitutional amendment banning abortion and same-sex marriage.
While reporters pointed out that McCain differed with several elements of the platform, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and his fellow platform committee co-chairman, Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), suggested that the senator didn't need to sign off on every detail.
"This is the party platform," McCarthy said. "No one agrees with a hundred percent of what's in there. The vast majority of this platform John McCain agrees with."
Describing McCain's relationship to the platform, Burr asked rhetorically, "Is he bound to it? No, but it represents the overarching principles of what our party believes."
The platform also reflects certain priorities of McCain by highlighting issues such as the environment.
The current draft, which is half as long as the party's 2004 platform, doesn't get into the weeds as the previous one did, according to McCarthy. "We wanted it to be shorter, more principled, forward-looking," he told reporters during a conference call.
The draft document Republican delegates took up in a committee Tuesday includes a one-page section "addressing climate change responsibly." For the first time, the platform acknowledges that human activity has contributed to global warming: "The same human activity that has brought freedom and opportunity to billions has also increased the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. Increased atmospheric carbon has a warming effect on the earth."
But the document remains silent on the question of capping carbon emissions -- a policy McCain endorses -- and tamps down the idea of using broad government regulation to address the problem.
"Republicans caution against the doomsday climate change scenarios peddled by aficionados of centralized command-and-control government," the platform draft reads. "We can -- and should -- address global warming without succumbing to the no-growth radicalism that treats climate questions as dogma rather than as situations to be managed responsibly."
League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski, whose group has endorsed McCain's rival, Barack Obama, said the platform language suggests McCain would follow in the footsteps of President Bush on climate change.