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Man of steel – Bush passes on NAACP meeting


What do Warren Harding and Bush have in common? Right: perhaps this is the entertainment Bush is looking for at Black Expo.

I wonder why? Maybe because he knew Julian Bond would rip him a new one. Our steel-backboned president will attend Black Expo, where he could mingle freely with the “Acceptable, Friendly NegroesTM” in charge.

When President Bush received two invitations to speak to mostly black audiences this week — one from Indiana Black Expo and one from the NAACP — the choice was probably easy.

He could go to Milwaukee to speak to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, whose chairman, Julian Bond, has blistered Bush with criticism. Or he could come to Black Expo’s Summer Celebration in Indianapolis, where he would join Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, his former budget director.

Call it intentional or just a fortuitous bit of political timing, but Bush said yes to the Black Expo invitation, while once again declining the NAACP invite. Bush will be the first president to speak at Black Expo — and has yet to speak in person to the NAACP, except as a candidate before the 2000 election. The last president who never gave a speech before the civil rights group was Warren Harding.

The defense, by his boy Mitch, is enlightening. I guess Bush might be looking for some tap dancing, shuffling and jiving on the agenda.

Daniels said he doesn’t think Bush accepted the Black Expo invite to blunt any criticism for not addressing the NAACP.

“Let’s just look at (the acceptance of the Black Expo invitation) positively,” he said, noting that the two events are very different. The NAACP convention is more political, while Black Expo is much broader, featuring opportunities for business networking, self-help and entertainment. “This is the kind of activity he likes to support,” Daniels said of the president.

Thanks to House Blender and Julien’s List contributor Holly for the pointer.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding