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(NECN/ABC: Washington, D.C.) - The first town hall meeting for the National Council For a New America was held in Washington, D.C. On Saturday. "Let's not underestimate the people of America," former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney said. "Let's make sure to listen to the people of America." The group met in the Washington, D.C. Suburbs to present its ideas for taking the GOP in a new, more inclusive direction. Former governors Romney and Jeb Bush joined Congressman Eric Cantor to talk health care, the economy and national security. But the group steered clear of abortion and same-sex marriage -- wedge issues that have led to the defection of moderates and independents. "From the conservative side it's time for us to focus, to listen first, to learn a little bit, to upgrade our message a little bit," Bush said. Some of the party faithful called it time for Republican lawmakers to stop debating among themselves and start listening to the voters. In the latest sign of trouble for the party, Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter, one of the few prominent GOP moderates, defected to the Democratic party, saying he no longer felt welcome among Republicans. ABC's John Hendren reports. ***** <A HREF="http://www.necn.com/Boston/Politics/2009/05/02/Romney-working-to-reshape/1241296222.html" target="_blank"><b> Romney working to reshape GOP's image</b></a> [NECN]