“I spent some time looking at previous remarks by Republicans before this body, and I was struck by the litany of phrases that Republicans often cut and paste into a speech to this organization. . . . ‘Party of Lincoln’ four or five times . . . oh, and one of my favorites: ‘Bull Connor was a Democrat,’ ” he said.
The line generated laughs and polite applause from NAACP delegates in the Hilton Hotel ballroom. A few stared expressionless, but most were gracious — though not bowled over.
“I’m glad that he departed from the usual script,” said NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous. “He has been a moderate Republican — pro-life on the one hand pro-affirmative action on the other. People are inclined to believe he is a friend.”