NAACP chairman Julian Bond condemned Bush administration policies on education, the economy and the war in Iraq on Sunday, imploring members of the nation's oldest civil rights organization to increase voter turnout to oust the president from office.
"They preach racial neutrality and practice racial division," Bond said Sunday night in the 95th annual convention's keynote address. "They've tried to patch the leaky economy and every other domestic problem with duct tape and plastic sheets. They write a new constitution of Iraq and they ignore the Constitution here at home..."
Leaders of the group are upset that President Bush has no plans to attend the convention...
...Mr. Bush said Friday he would not attend the meeting because his relationship with the civil-rights organization's leadership is "basically nonexistent" and because he had been ridiculed by some of the group's members.
Mr. Mfume acknowledged that many NAACP members disagree with Mr. Bush's policies, but said he hoped the president would change his mind. He promised a respectful atmosphere if Mr. Bush were to appear.
"There are a lot of people I admire in the NAACP who support me," Bush said in an interview with reporters from the Allentown Morning Call and two other Pennsylvania newspapers. But he added: "The current leadership there has made their political decisions clear in very harsh ways. I describe my relationship with the current leadership as basically nonexistent because of their rhetoric."
NAACP President Kweisi Mfume said he is disappointed in Bush's decision, adding that the president has refused every request for a dialogue with the group since he was elected.
"If the president has a new mandate that says he will only meet with people that agree with him, then God save our nation," Mfume said...
Politics · Sun, 07/11/2004 - 17:32 · Importance: 1