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The Republicans' big task is to prove wrong the suspicion that the only Republican blacks, Asians and Hispanics in America are the ones who were onstage at the convention Monday night.

They must shoot down charges from the Democrats that Dick Cheney is responsible for air pollution, mad cow disease and the invention of the guillotine.

They must affirm that if Colin Powell's speech had been delivered by Jesse Jackson, they would have cheered just as loudly.

Powell accused the Republicans of favoring Affirmative Action for lobbyists. This was greeted with collective squirming.