BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Americas
Front Page 
Middle East 
South Asia 
From Our Own Correspondent 
Letter From America 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

The BBC's Nick Bryant
"Americans like political names they have heard of"
 real 56k

The BBC's Peter Marshall
Looks at the Bush campaign
 real 56k

The BBC's Rob Watson in Philadelphia
"There is an effort to shake off the image of a party of the white and wealthy"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 1 August, 2000, 11:49 GMT 12:49 UK
Republicans reach out to minorities
George W Bush/schoolchildren
George W Bush watched the convention on TV from an Ohio classroom
The US Republican Party has opened its national convention promising support for America's ethnic minorities.

Party delegates also used the occasion to formally nominated Texas Governor George W Bush as their presidential candidate.

Tuesday's line-up
Gulf War General Norman Schwarzkopf via satellite link from USS New Jersey

Condoleezza Rice on international relations

Elizabeth Dole on 'strength through compassion'

Senator John McCain on military strength
In a keynote speech, retired Gulf War general, Colin Powell, said Mr Bush could "help bridge" the country's racial divide.

Mr Powell is one of the most prominent black US politicians, and his speech was part of the Republicans' efforts to shake off their image as the party of the white and wealthy.

"In pursuing educational reform, as well as in all other parts of his agenda for Texas, Governor Bush has reached out to all Texans - white, black, Latino, Asian, Native American," Mr Powell told the delegates.

Colin Powell
Colin Powell: "The party must reach out to minority communities"

The BBC's Rob Watson in Philadelphia says the members of a gospel choir were among many black voices and faces to be seen and heard on the stage of the convention.

But he says that despite the rhetoric, opinion polls show that many black Americans and other minorities regard the Republican Party with suspicion

Mr Powell has been tipped as a likely secretary of state, if Mr Bush were to win in November.

Affirmative action

Several opening-day speakers stressed Mr Bush's determination to "leave no child behind" in modern America.

Laura Bush at convention
Laura Bush is usually microphone-shy
Mr Powell, the only African-American to serve as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the convention that "the issue of race still casts a shadow over our society," and urged the party to broaden its perspective.

He criticised Republicans who condemned affirmative action, saying it had "helped a few thousand black kids get an education".

Less controversially, he said an America led by George W Bush should reach beyond its shores.

"We must show to the rest of the world the beauty and potential of democracy," he said to applause.

For the first time, many Americans also had a chance to hear the views of Mr Bush's wife Laura.

She also took up the theme of inclusion, stressing the importance of early learning and childhood development programmes.

Bush campaign tour

Mr Bush will formally accept the presidential nomination at the convention on Thursday.

He is currently touring through states that the Republicans have lost in the past two presidential elections.

Mr Bush has a clear lead over his Democratic challenger, Vice-President Al Gore, in the opinion polls.

At the same time, the Democrats have begun running advertisements attacking the voting record of Mr Bush's vice presidential running mate, Dick Cheney, when he was in Congress.

Mr Gore and the Democrats hold their convention in Los Angeles in two weeks' time.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
See also:

29 Jul 00 | Election news
Choreographing the convention
01 Aug 00 | Election news
The two faces of Philadelphia
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Americas stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Americas stories