Video: GOP losing ground with moderates

By David Gregory Chief White House correspondent
NBC News
updated 7/27/2006 7:34:55 PM ET 2006-07-27T23:34:55

Just a half hour drive from downtown Philadelphia, Haverford is a suburban battleground. Reliably Republican in the past, this year the mood has changed.

Lifelong Republican Laurie Williams now worries about her daughter's future because of the president she has twice supported.

"I don't feel Iraq is making us safer," she says. "I wish we could get out as quickly as possible." 

The war, gas prices, the deficit — those are the issues driving Republican frustration here and making for fierce campaigns in the area's three suburban congressional districts (Bucks, Montgomery and Chester Counties) where Republicans are trying to hold their ground.

This in a state where Sen. Rick Santorum, now trailing in the polls, is a major target for Democrats.

Veteran analyst Stephen Medvic notes that voters here are moderates who narrowly supported John Kerry for president.

"This year the Republicans also face some disaffection with the Bush administration," he says, "so to the extent they are tied to the Bush administration that will be a problem for them."

Iraq is issue No. 1 for Democratic congressional candidate and former Navy admiral Joe Sestak.

"I believe we've been reckless," he says.

The battle now is for Republican voters Greg and Nancy Wolcott, who this year are unhappy.

"I think the largest area he's let me down is fiscal responsibility," says Nancy about President Bush.

Greg agrees and is critical of the war.

"I don't think we were prepared for the aftermath of the relatively easy military victory up front, and I think you have to point the finger at the White House," he says.

So what can the Republicans do to win them back this fall?

"That's hard to do," says Greg. "We've had a lot of promises, but not a lot of, you know, action."

They are frustrated voters whose impact Republicans are afraid of this fall.

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