I thought the speech went okay. I thought he spent way too much time on how Republicans have historically been pro-civil rights (which the audience basically knew already) and not enough time on how Republican policies can help the African American community today (which the audience didn't know). I'm sure he'll be better next time as he figures out from experience what works and what doesn't. Anyway, here are some excerpts (full text here):
If you hear me out, I believe you'll discover that what motivates me more than any other issue is the defense of everyone's rights.Of strong importance to me is the defense of minority rights, not just racial minorities, but ideological and religious minorities.If our government does not protect the rights of minorities, then democratic majorities could simply legislate away our freedoms.The bill of rights and the civil war amendments protect us against the possibility of an oppressive federal or state government.The fact that we are a Constitutional Republic means that certain inalienable rights are protected even from democratic majorities.No Republican questions or disputes civil rights. I have never waivered in my support for civil rights or the civil rights act....The Democrat promise is tangible and puts food on the table, but too often doesn't lead to jobs or meaningful success.The Republican promise is for policies that create economic growth. Republicans believe lower taxes, less regulation, balanced budgets, a solvent Social Security and Medicare will stimulate economic growth.Republicans point to the Reagan years when the economy grew at nearly 7% and millions upon millions of jobs were created.Today, after four years of the current policies, one in six Americans live in poverty, more than at any other time in the past several decades.In fact, the poor have grown poorer in the past four years. Black unemployment is at 14%, nearly twice the national average. This is unacceptable.Using taxes to punish the rich, in reality, punishes everyone because we are all interconnected. High taxes and excessive regulation and massive debt are not working.The economy has been growing at less than 1% and actually contracted in the fourth quarter.I would argue that the objective evidence shows that big government is not a friend to African Americans.Big government relies on the Federal Reserve, our central bank, to print money out of thin air. Printing money out of thin air leads to higher prices.When the price of gas rises to $4 per gallon, it is a direct result of our nation's debt. When food prices rise, it is a direct result of the $50,000 we borrow each second. Inflation hurts everyone, particularly the poor.If you are struggling to get ahead, if you have school loans and personal debt, you should choose a political party that wants to leave more money in the private sector so you will get a job when the time comes....In Louisville, in the predominantly African American west end of town, it was recently announced that 18 schools are failing. The graduation rate is 40%.The head of Kentucky's education called it academic genocide. Johns Hopkins researchers call these schools dropout factories.I defy anyone to watch Waiting for Superman and honestly argue against school choice.A minister friend of mine in the West End calls school choice the civil rights issue of the day. He's absolutely right.By the sixth grade, Ronald Holasie was failing most of his classes, but through school choice he was able to attend a Catholic school in the DC area.There he learned that he had a natural gift for composing music, but before that, his reading level was so low that he had struggled to write lyrics. Ronald then went on to matriculate at Barry University.There are countless examples of the benefits of school choice – where kids who couldn't even read have turned their lives completely around.Maybe it's about time we all reassess blind allegiance to ideas that are failing our children.Every child in every neighborhood, of every color, class and background, deserves a school that will help them succeed.Those of you assembled today are American success stories. You will make it and do great things.In every neighborhood, white, black or brown, there are kids who are not succeeding because they messed up.They had kids before they were married, or before they were old enough to support them, or they got hooked on drugs, or they simply left school.Republicans are often miscast as uncaring or condemning of kids who make bad choices. I, for one, plan to change that.I am working with Democratic senators to make sure that kids who make bad decisions such as non-violent possession of drugs are not imprisoned for lengthy sentences.I am working to make sure that first time offenders are put into counseling and not imprisoned with hardened criminals.We should not take away anyone's future over one mistake....We must always embrace individual liberty and enforce the constitutional rights of all Americans-rich and poor, immigrant and native, black and white.Such freedom is essential in achieving any longstanding health and prosperity.As Toni Morrison said, write your own story. Challenge mainstream thought.I hope that some of you will be open to the Republican message that favors choice in education, a less aggressive foreign policy, more compassion regarding non-violent crime and encourages opportunity in employment.And when the time is right, I hope that African Americans will again look to the party of emancipation, civil liberty, and individual freedom.