Moderates triumphed at the '76 convention but their candidate, Ronald Reagan, lost the general election in the fall, Anthony Camerano/AP hide caption

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Karl Rove, former adviser to President George W. Bush, speaks last year in Corpus Christi, Texas. Rove is the chief fundraiser for the biggest outside spender this election season: the twin groups American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS. Michael Zamora/AP hide caption

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Sept. 27, 1994: Then-House Minority Whip Newt Gingrich and other Republicans unveil their "Contract with America" at a Capitol Hill rally. John Duricka/AP hide caption

itoggle caption John Duricka/AP

Mehlman, on NBC's "Meet the Press" in August 2006, makes a point to host David Gregory. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images Europe hide caption

itoggle caption Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images Europe