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Romney Retooling Adds Former Republican Party Chairman Gillespie

Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney announced today that his campaign has brought on Ed Gillespie, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee and a former aide to President George W. Bush, to help craft his message and unite the party as he prepares to take on President Barack Obama.

Romney’s move, reported earlier by Politico, is the latest evidence that the former Massachusetts governor is retooling his campaign to target the president even before the formal end of the primary season.

A veteran strategist, Gillespie has deep relationships within the Republican establishment and has specialized in broadening the party’s outreach to key groups that can sway elections. In 1994, as a top aide to then-Representative Dick Armey of Texas, he was involved in drafting the “Contract with America” that helped give Republicans control of the U.S. House for the first time in 40 years.

In a statement today, Romney said Gillespie will “help in bringing Republicans and all Americans together behind my campaign.”

In recent months, Gillespie has worked to improve the party’s standing with Hispanic voters -- an area in which Romney recently acknowledged his weakness.

Gillespie, an Alexandria, Virginia-based political consultant, will serve as a senior adviser to Romney’s Boston-based campaign.

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