Republican War Room Fires Back at Democratic Convention Claims

It's the Democrats' party, so who invited the Republicans?

"We invited ourselves," said Danny Diaz, communications director for the Republican National Committee, prior to the start of the Democratic National Convention in Denver.

The GOP faithful have made the most of their outsider status, dispatching high-profile Republicans to dispute the barbs being tossed from the podium inside the Pepsi Center, the Democrats' political power base for a week as they gather to nominate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., in a battle for the White House against Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

Former New York Mayor and 2008 presidential contender Rudy Giuliani is the latest party crasher in the Republican "war room," arriving Wednesday to counter-punch as Sen. Biden, D-Del., and former President Bill Clinton take center stage across the street.

At a news conference in Denver organized by the Republican National Committee, Giuliani argued Obama isn't ready to lead.

"I think the case could be made very strongly from the words of Democrats that he's not ready to lead. Hillary Clinton said that," Giuliani said.

Giuliani is just the latest GOP heavyweight to swing through Denver talking up McCain and talking down Obama.

Former McCain rival Mitt Romney spoke to journalists Tuesday and former Hewlett-Packard chief Carly Fiorina, a top McCain adviser, held court Monday.

GOP War Room Counters Democratic Convention Claims

The Republican "war room" is far cry from the high-tech, plush digs of the RNC in Washington.

More a remote battle station than a headquarters, the outpost has a mission -- as depicted by the words emblazoned over an image of Obama on the wall -- that's clear: "Not Ready '08: a Mile High and an Inch Deep."

Just three miles from the Pepsi Center, about two dozen mostly young men run a rapid response unit from 6 a.m. local time in Denver until the end of the convention speeches late each night.

Flanked by dozens of American flags, fewer than 10 GOP researchers, bloggers and spokespersons sit in front of laptops in a glassed room with a large conference table surrounded by several televisions all tuned to various news media outlets.

A large television in the lobby is tuned to Fox News, and a satellite truck sits outside at the ready for transmitting interviews with prominent Republicans to local media markets across the country.

The rapid responders flood reporters' email inboxes, take calls and blog on the McCain campaign Web site. Republican spokesman Alex Conant said he alone sent about 30 e-mails on the convention's opening day, not including what his colleagues sent to reporters.

Spreading the media narrative of Democratic party disunity, Conant's first e-mail, sent at 4:55 a.m. MT, was a Politico story titled "Obama, Clinton camps snipe at each other" and the last was at 9:32 p.m. MT" "Carville: "If this party has a message it's done a hell of a job hiding it tonight, I promise you that."

"We're posing the question: What's changed since Biden and Clinton called Obama not ready?" Conant told "This is the Democrats' week and we're realistic about our potential impact, but I think so far we've had a lot of success highlighting Obama's inexperience."

The message may be working: the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll showed McCain leading Obama by 2-1 margins as more knowledgeable on world affairs and as better-suited to be commander in chief.

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