Diminished GOP brand heightens Romney's challenge

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SALISBURY, N.C. (AP) — Even with his strong debate performance, Mitt Romney needs every possible advantage to overtake President Barack Obama in the next four weeks. Not helping him much is the Republican Party he leads.

The GOP's image is at one of its lowest points in modern times. Romney is now distancing himself a bit from some party policies. That's most clearly seen in his emphasizing that he doesn't want to cut taxes for high earners.

It's probably a smart move — at least according to Republican activists in regions where it's getting harder to sell the party's brand.

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