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GOP Aims to Change the Subject With Rollout

After months working behind the scenes, House Republican leaders this week will finally start rolling out their rebranding effort aimed at rallying the party around a comprehensive policy and message agenda.

Titled “Reasons to Believe,” the plan is meant to provide House Republicans with a sales pitch to voters by focusing on four issue areas: the economy, energy, health care and security.

Leaders will present the package Wednesday at the weekly meeting of the Republican Conference. The mood that day will turn on the results of the Mississippi special election on Tuesday, in which Democrat Travis Childers is expected to mount a strong bid for a seat previously held by a Republican.

House GOPers are already registering growing frustration with the party’s direction, and last week’s developments didn’t help: After Democrats picked up another formerly solid GOP seat in a Louisiana special election, former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) penned a devastating account of the state of affairs for Congressional Republicans.

In a memo that will circulate to House Republicans today, leaders argue that the new package presents a prescription for overhauling a broken system.

“Washington is broken, the American people want it fixed, and Democrats in Washington have proven unable or unwilling to get the job done. Republicans will,” the memo reads. “Americans have seen first-hand the change Democrats are making, and it is moving America in the wrong direction. To the American people, we say that Republicans will deliver ‘the change you deserve.’”

The specifics so far are sketchy. On Wednesday, GOP Conference Vice Chairwoman Kay Granger (Texas) will unveil the party’s “American Families Agenda,” a blueprint for “the specific challenges American families face in the 21st century, backed up by Republican-sponsored legislation,” according to the memo.

Next week, Republicans will premier their energy policy, focused on boosting the supply of domestic production, bringing down gas prices and creating jobs, the memo states.

In following weeks, GOPers will roll out their visions for other issues:

• Health care — “Affordable, high-quality health care for every American by giving families greater choice and control, not through a massive expansion of government health care controlled by bureaucrats.”

• The economy — “A stronger economy by stopping the largest tax increase in American history, cutting wasteful Washington spending, balancing the budget by 2012, passing serious entitlement reform and strengthening our housing sector.”

• Security — “From threats our families face both at home and abroad by securing our borders once and for all, taking on the rising criminal threats in our communities and giving terrorists plotting new attacks no place to hide.”

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) spearheaded the project, which has been in the works since last year. Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said the agenda took time to develop because it required input from a broad cross-section of the conference, and, more recently, the presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

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