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Bill Moyers

While Romney, Ryan, Christie, and Rubio get the lion’s share of attention during the Republican Convention this week, three one-time college Republicans who are now the party’s real power-brokers -- Karl Rove, Ralph Reed, and Grover Norquist -- are busy doing what they do best: leveraging their political, religious, and financial resources to back pro-corporate, anti-government objectives at the core of the conservative agenda.

The true surprise at the Tampa convention is Ralph Reed’s resurrection. When the former head of the Christian Coalition was discovered to have raked in millions of dollars from the super lobbyist -- and eventually convicted felon -- Jack Abramoff, Reed wound up in political purgatory. But outraged by the election of Barack Obama, and responding to what he describes as God’s call (via Sean Hannity), Reed returned to start the Faith and Freedom Coalition with the aim of toppling Barack Obama from the White House. To succeed, Reed needs to win the allegiance of many of the trusting Christian followers he had duped and double-crossed while working with Abramoff. Can he pull it off? That’s the story this week on Moyers & Company

Later on the show, Bill also talks with Mike Lofgren, a long-time Republican who says the rise of politicized religious fundamentalism transformed his party and created a de facto religious test for the presidency. Lofgren tells the story in his book The Party is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless, and the Middle Class Got Shafted.

Moyers & Company:The Resurrection of Ralph Reed, Friday at 9 p.m. on PBS 6.

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