Yesterday’s press conference with Snow –
Q Tony, one other question on another subject, what you announced at the beginning of the briefing. Why did the President — why is he deciding to speak to the NAACP in person this year for the first time in his presidency?
MR. SNOW: Because he wants to. (Laughter.) No, I’m serious, he wants to because I think there’s a moment of opportunity here. I think the President wants to make the argument that he has had a career that reflects a strong commitment to civil rights. And I think the other thing he wants to do is to talk about some of the commonalities he has with members of the NAACP. Yes, they have political disagreements. Also, Bruce Gordon, the new head of the NAACP, he and the President have good relations. And I think it marks an opportunity to have a conversation, and beyond that, I’d say just listen to the remarks.
Q What was it such a hard decision —
MR. SNOW: It wasn’t necessarily a hard decision. It was just hard for us to tell you. (Laughter.)
Q Why is it such a precedent now, after all of these years? Why now?
MR. SNOW: I just told you, April, because he wants to.
Q No, but the President — the President in 2004 said there was a lot of bad blood between —
MR. SNOW: Well, at some point, you say — I think the President really does see a moment of opportunity. And he sees a moment of opportunity — you and I had this conversation the other day in this room. It is clear that in this nation, racism and discrimination are legally unacceptable, but there are also residues of the past that we have to address. We have to find ways to make sure that the road to opportunity is clear for one and all.
And I think the President wants to make his voice heard. He has an important role to play not only in making the case for civil rights, but maybe more importantly, the case for unity. Because as long as we have a nation that, in any way, is divided along racial lines, or where politics become a source of division rather than one of simple debate and trying to perfect the democracy, that’s a problem. And the President really believes strongly in trying to foster a sense of true unity that takes you back to the roots of the civil rights movement, to the speech Martin Luther King, Jr. made on August 28th, 1963, to the sacrifices of men and women who paraded not for separatism, but for unity. And they paid a toll in blood and toil, and set an example, and in many ways, reminded people who had forgotten what was really meant by extending the blessings of liberty to all, that all people were endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, and the Creator didn’t discriminate on the basis on race.
Come on. Be serious. President Bush a Civil Rights supporter? I’m still laughing. I can’t stop laughing. Bush has tried to turn the clock back and dismantle civil rights ever since he took office. More later…after I stop laughing.