President Bush delivered a speech to the 2004 National Urban League Conference that could have been delivered to the NAACP, if that organization weren't so thoroughly owned by the Democrats. The whole thing is worth reading, but the President's final appeal to the black leaders at the conference is especially well crafted.

Ours is a solid record of accomplishment. And that's why I've come to talk about compassionate conservatism and what I envision for the future. I'm here for another reason. I'm here to ask for your vote. (Applause.)

No, I know, I know, I know. The Republican party has got a lot of work to do. I understand that. (Laughter and applause.) You didn't need to nod your head that hard, Jesse. (Laughter.)

Do you remember a guy named Charlie Gaines? Somebody gave me a quote he said, which I think kind of describes the environment we're in today. I think he's a friend of Jesse's. He said, "Blacks are gagging on the donkey but not yet ready to swallow the elephant." (Laughter and applause.)

Now that was said a while ago. (Laughter.) I believe you've got to earn the vote and seek it. I think you've got to go to people and say, this is my heart, this is what I believe, and I'd like your help. And as I do, I'm going to ask African American voters to consider some questions.

Does the Democrat party take African American voters for granted? (Applause.) It's a fair question. I know plenty of politicians assume they have your vote. But do they earn it and do they deserve it? (Applause.) Is it a good thing for the African American community to be represented mainly by one political party? That's a legitimate question. (Applause.) How is it possible to gain political leverage if the party is never forced to compete? (Applause.) Have the traditional solutions of the Democrat party truly served the African American community?

That's what I hope people ask when they go to the community centers and places, as we all should do our duty and vote. People need to be asking these very serious questions.

There's more, and I'm excited to see the Republicans taking the issues to the black community like this. There are "(Applause.)" indications in the transcript, but I'm still looking for more coverage to get a sense of how enthusiastic the listeners were.



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