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GOP internecine fights brewing

Presumptive Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) speaks at the 25th annual conference of National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) in Washington on June 28, 2008. (UPI Photo/Alexis C. Glenn)
Presumptive Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) speaks at the 25th annual conference of National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) in Washington on June 28, 2008. (UPI Photo/Alexis C. Glenn) | License Photo

WASHINGTON, July 7 (UPI) -- Sen. John McCain may be the likely Republican U.S. presidential candidate but indications are he could battle party conservatives on issues, observers say.

Party conservatives were preparing to fight McCain, R-Ariz., supporters on such issues as climate change, immigration and stem cell research, among others, as they shape the GOP platform, The Washington Post reported Monday.

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"Everyone is aware that McCain is different on these issues," Jessica Echard, executive director of the conservative Eagle Forum, told the Post. "We're all kind of waiting with anticipation because we just don't know how he's going to thread this needle."

McCain expended a good deal of effort during his campaign balancing his more moderate record against the need to pull in the party's most conservative members.

Myron Ebell, director of energy and global warming policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, characterized McCain as "really out of step with the strong majority of his party."

"He might get what he wants. And he might get a change. But I don't think it's going to sit well with a lot of Republicans," Ebell told the Washington newspaper.

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But a spokesman for McCain's campaign says there is common ground and a platform fight can be avoided.

"We are confident that this process will produce a platform that all Republicans will enthusiastically support," Joe Pounder, a spokesman for McCain, told the Post.

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