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Ahead of his lunchtime address to the convention at large, top Republican strategist Karl Rove spoke to county chairs about burnishing the party's message and revitalizing its local mobilization effort.

Rove emerged from a closed-door gathering of Republican county chairs about half an hour after the meeting began. His talk touched on coordinating the party's pitch to voters, Mariposa County chair Richard Westfall said.

"He talked about being cohesive and keeping the party together," Westfall said. "Just basically that we have to try to get together and get the message out there."

Part of that process involves rehabilitating the party's image in the eyes of voters. Donald S. Preston, chair of Solano County, said the party's central tenets of self-reliance and family values have " been distorted so badly" by critics.

"[Rove] says we have to work on image, on our branding," Preston said.

Monterey County chair Nan Lesnick said Rove talked about rebuilding the party's grassroots organization, paraphrasing the central thrust as "the conservative victory will happen when we're on every corner and every crevasse in every community."


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