GOP candidates frequently invoke the Founding Fathers -- but are they faithful to them?

And this year’s presidential campaign is rewriting America’s myths.

“I’m not at all opposed to these exercises,” says Richard Brookhiser, a conservative columnist for National Review and author of several books about the founders, including “What Would the Founders Do?” He says the United States is a young country with relatively old institutions and founders who wrote on many issues. “That’s why people feel free to ransack these guys for bumper stickers — and principles too,” he says.

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Many historians say, however, that the GOP candidates’ portrait of the past misrepresents it.

“You can’t ask what the framers would do without giving them the same information we have,” says Stanford University history professor Jack Rakove. “You can’t pluck them out of the past and put them down in the present. They were deeply empirical in their political thinking.”

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