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Opening hearings on their 1992 platform, Republican party leaders focused on portraying the Democratic majority in Congress as the villain that derailed the sound economic plans of the Bush administration.

The Republican National Committee's platform committee hearings began Monday, seeking public information on the positions the national party will take when battling the Democratic presidential nominee this fall."President Bush wants to lead an era of economic recovery based upon lower taxes, lower spending, less government regulation and more opportunity," said Republican National Committee Chairman Richard N. Bond. "We can't understand how the Democrats can think more taxes and more spending are the answer."

A parade of witnesses representing primarily business groups and think tanks agreed that the economy was in better shape than most members of the public would believe. They recommended a series of incentives such as a reduced capital gains tax, a smaller budget deficit, the North American Free Trade Agreement and improved education and job training to help workers move into new jobs.

The problem, as the platform committee and many of the witnesses agreed, was the stalemate in Washington led by the Democrats.

"Little progress has been made due to the gridlock on Capitol Hill," said James Miller, chairman of Citizens for a Sound Economy and the former director of the White House Office of Management and Budget.

"We need to focus on an establishing an economic environment in which the economy can flourish on its own," Miller said.