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Sen. John McCain Confronts Race Issues

John McCain recently sat down with ESSENCE magazine, to talk about his plan to address African-American concerns as the Republican nominee for president. McCain announces plans to attend the NAACP convention and to include African-Americans and Latinos in his cabinet. Even if you don’t agree with McCain’s political views, you must give him some credit for this.

ESSENCE: Republican Newt Gingrich said the Republicans should not ignore the African-American and Latino community, but this election year Republican candidates Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani didn’t bother to address the Black community. As the Republican nominee, how will you reach out to the Black community, not only in this election, but afterward?

McCain: Go to places and venues that would allow me to continue a dialogue with the African-American community. I will go to the NAACP convention.

ESSENCE: You will?

McCain: Oh, yeah. I don’t know any reason why not. I went to Selma and stood at the Edmund Pettus Bridge and talked about the need to include “forgotten Americans.” I will never as long as I live forget the beautiful women of Gees Bend, Alabama, with the quilts. They were singing spirituals. On the first occasion I could find in the White House I would have them sing again. It was so moving. There was a woman there who was 91 years old. Can you imagine the environment she lived in when she was 21? And yet, this woman was full of hope, compassion and forgiveness. But does that mean in my campaign I am going to get a majority of the African-American vote? Probably not. But what it does mean, what I’ve committed to, is assuring and promising all Americans whether they vote for me or not, I am going to be their president. Americans are sick and tired of partisanship and divisions along party lines that cause gridlock and frustration and lack of addressing the issues that confront America.

ESSENCE: If you were our next president, what would your cabinet look like? Would you consider African-Americans and Latinos at top positions?

McCain: Absolutely. Also I would include Democrats because we have to ask the best of America to serve our country at these difficult times.