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Bradley in DC
09-28-2007, 07:27 AM
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/27/AR2007092702264.html?hpid=topnews

Leading GOP Candidates Skip Debate on Black Issues
4 Contenders Attend Fundraisers Instead
By Michael D. Shear
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 28, 2007; Page A06


Fred D. Thompson was at a fundraiser in Franklin, Tenn. Mitt Romney was gathering checks in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. Rudolph W. Giuliani was in California raking in some last-minute cash just north of Napa. John McCain spent the day in New York City, giving a speech and raising money.

Such were the scheduling conflicts that left the lecterns for the leading candidates for the Republican presidential nomination empty at what was billed as the first GOP debate tailored to the concerns of black voters, held last night at Morgan State University in Baltimore. . .

The debate was hosted by PBS talk show host Tavis Smiley and attended by Brownback, Huckabee, Rep. Duncan Hunter (Calif.), Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.), Rep. Tom Tancredo (Colo.) and Alan Keyes, a former ambassador who has sought the presidency twice before.

Several of the candidates took pains to cater to the mostly black audience, blaming inequality in America on continuing racism. Brownback said he wants Congress to pass a formal apology for slavery and segregation. Huckabee promised he would, as president, improve housing opportunities for minorities and address unequal treatment of different races in the criminal justice system. He also pledged to support voting rights for the District of Columbia.

By contrast, Tancredo declared that economic differences have "nothing to do with race," and several candidates reiterated their desire to crack down on illegal immigrants. Paul loudly repeated his call for an end to the war in Iraq. Keyes blamed the plight of the black community on moral decay. . .