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Libertarians open their convention with rebuke to GOP

DENVER — The Libertarian Party opened a weekend convention Friday in Denver with a stinging critique of the Republican Party and John McCain by Richard Viguerie, a founder of the modern conservative movement.

"Republican leaders have treated conservatives with utter disrespect and in turn conservatives have lost all respect for Republican leaders," Viguerie said in the convention's keynote speech. "Millions of grassroots conservative activists and donors have left the Republican Party and taken with them their volunteer time, their checkbooks, and their votes."

He also ripped the Republican presidential nominee in waiting, McCain.

"John McCain has had the Republican presidential nomination sewn up for three and a half months and has done nothing to convince conservatives to come off the sidelines and enthusiastically support him."

Despite fears from some Libertarians that conservatives might hijack their party — they differ pointedly on some issues such as government regulation of social issues — they cheered and applauded Viguerie.

The party is meeting to select its presidential nominee on Sunday.

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