WASHINGTON, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- Republican strategists are developing a plan to shield the GOP from racism or sexism charges during the U.S. presidential general election, an insider said.
No matter whether the Democrats nominate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., or Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., -- the first African-American or female at the top of the Democratic ticket -- the Republican party has commissioned polling focus groups to learn the boundaries of criticizing a minority or female candidate, The Politico reported Monday.
While the plan is secret, one Republican strategist, speaking anonymously with The Politico, said research shows the daunting and delicate task ahead for the party not known for its sensitivity to either group.
Republicans will be told to "be sensitive to tone and stick to the substance of the discussion," the source said, explaining that candidates must be "sensitive to the fact that you are running against historic firsts."
"Republicans will need to exercise less deafness and more deftness in dealing with a different looking candidate, whether it is a woman or a black man," Republican strategist Kellyanne Conway told The Politico. "But at the same time, really charge back at any insinuation or accusation of sexism or racism."