WASHINGTON (AP) — Don't look for many bold pronouncements when Republicans and Democrats adopt party platforms at their national conventions.
Platforms are supposed to reflect the core values of the party and maybe provide some red meat to fire up the base, getting activists excited about supporting their presidential nominee. That's what Democrats hope to do by embracing gay marriage in their platform, a position that President Barack Obama only recently has adopted.
But no candidate wants to provide political fodder for opponents by including something in the platform that might turn off the sought-after undecided swing voters who could decide the election.
"You don't want a sentence or paragraph or phrase from your platform to be used against you in an ad or in a speech as a wedge issue," said Linda P. Schacht, a veteran of many Democratic conventions who worked on Jimmy Carter's campaigns in 1976 and 1980.
That could present a challenge for Republican Mitt Romney, who will have to contend with supporters of Rep. Ron Paul at the GOP convention in Tampa, Fla., at month's end. Paul's supporters are determined to make their mark on the convention, and the Texas congressman has pointed to the platform as a good way to do it.
"A lot of delegates who are pledged to vote for Romney are actually very strong supporters of ours and will be strongly supporting us when we want to put things into the platform to say, 'Hey, we don't need another war,'" Paul said in a recent broadcast interview. "The Federal Reserve? Yes, we do need to audit the Fed and we ought to really cut spending."
The GOP platform committee meets Monday and Tuesday in Tampa, ahead of the start of the convention Aug. 27.