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Republican Party 2.0: 4 GOP leaders share ideas for political upgrade

In the aftermath of election 2012, four prominent Republicans share their visions for how the GOP can adapt its messaging to reflect a diversifying US electorate.

- Staff

Lisa Murkowski
US senator, Alaska (AP)

Lisa Murkowski, US senator, Alaska

The best way for the GOP to appeal to female voters? Drop the "good ol' boys' club" image and start resembling the rest of the country, says Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) of Alaska.

Changing GOP principles or philosophy isn't necessary, says the Alaska senator. "What we do need to do is make sure we are talking to all the people..., not just those that look like us and sound like us."

Clumsy rhetoric about rape, abortion, and access to contraceptives undermined the GOP's message about jobs and the economy, turning off women who might otherwise have voted with the party, says Ms. Murkowski. "When our candidate gets put on the defensive because of statements ... by others of your same party, that really rolls us back in terms of time.... Women look at that and say, 'Wait a minute, I hear you on the economic picture,... but I'm rattled by what I'm hearing coming out of your party.' "

Murkowski, a member of the political-action committee Republicans for Choice who generally favors abortion rights, doesn't envision a GOP shift on abortion, although "contraception may be another issue."

What she does picture is a genuine "big tent" party, one that isn't merely calculating about drumming up support for the next election. "To be a big-tent Republican, you open the door, and you mean it," she says. "It can't be a campaign theme. We've got to be living this and allowing others to see this as something they want to live.... That is what is going to allow women to view the Republican Party as the party for them."

– Husna Haq, Correspondent

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