GOP struggles with push to rename Dems 'Socialist'

WASHINGTON The Republican National Committee is slated to vote on several resolutions Wednesday. Leaders already have softened one that would have pointedly criticized Republicans who supported recent billion-dollar bailouts.

Party Chairman Michael Steele and others say the party should also drop the renaming resolution and focus on more serious problems. To avoid a party dispute over the renaming, Republicans were trying to compromise on milder language that would simply criticize Democrats for what they call socialist tendencies.

Some party leaders described the initial resolution as "stupid" and "absurd."

Jeff Kent, a Washington state Republican who helped spearhead the effort, declined to comment on a potential compromise, saying he is still working to pass the resolution.

Henry Barbour, a committeeman from Mississippi who chairs the panel that will decide which resolutions go to the full caucus, said he didn't want to comment until after the committee votes late Wednesday afternoon.

The fight reflects a divide between Republicans who want a more centrist message and party hardliners.

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