A Uniter, Not a Divider

President Bush has declined to speak at the national convention of the NAACP this year, making him the "first president since Warren G. Harding not to meet with the group while in office," according to the NAACP, the nation's oldest civil rights organization.

[The NAACP's Julian] Bond has accused Republicans of "playing the race card in election after election." He said they have "appealed to that dark underside of American culture, to that minority of Americans who reject democracy and equality," and "preach racial neutrality and they practice racial division." (W. Post)

Meanwhile, Kerry was happy to speak, although eliciting a lukewarm reception:
"... In Philadelphia, despite Kerry's claim, not everyone was feeling the love. "It may make a difference that he is paying us attention now, but sometimes it bugs me to be targeted at such a late date," said Alice Jeffery, a retired middle school teacher from Memphis. Still, she called Kerry the "lesser of two evils."

But Abraham Mencer, 75, a retired Air Force major from Willingboro, N.J., said, "I don't see how you can criticize him when you look at the other choice." That sentiment was echoed by many others there who gave lukewarm approval of Kerry but lambasted Bush for his absence. "Showing up is a big thing for us," said Marsha Aiken, 52, of New York. "He could have just sat back at home, knowing that for us he is the better candidate."
Both Kerry and Bush will speak at the National Urban League Convention in Detroit, schedule to run July 21 through July 25.


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