updated 8/24/2004 11:52:06 AM ET 2004-08-24T15:52:06

Democratic Party chief Terry McAuliffe says his party doesn’t need to help the thousands of protesters who will descend on New York in anticipation of next week’s Republican National Convention.

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He says President Bush’s policies provide all the inspiration they need.

“We can’t control thousands of people who want to protest the Bush administration,” McAuliffe told reporters Monday during a conference call. “They’re there solely because of the failed presidency of George Bush.”

He denied claims by GOP counterpart Ed Gillespie of a “blurry” line between Democrats and the protesters. He also urged demonstrators to be respectful of the four-day convention that opens Aug. 30 at Madison Square Garden.

“We have nothing to do with the demonstrators. Republicans know that,” McAuliffe said. “If they can link us to a bunch of lawbreakers, they think people will not pay attention to the promises they’ve broken.”

To the protesters, McAuliffe said: “Please let the Republicans have a great time, let them speak, let them go to their big corporate parties.”

Republican National Committee spokesman Jim Dyke said speakers at the Democratic convention where John Kerry was nominated for president were mostly against the Iraq war and in favor of organized labor and abortion rights.

“Now anti-war, pro-labor, pro-abortion groups plan protests outside the hall in New York and the (Democratic National Committee) is trying to distance itself from them,” Dyke said. “They have been married for months and now they are pretending they have never met.”

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