Priebus: GOP Needs to 'Step Up' to Reach Blacks

Tuesday, 04 Feb 2014 08:52 PM

By Cathy Burke

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Republican National Chairman Reince Priebus said Tuesday that the GOP needs to step up its outreach in the black community,  and not just before a big election.

Speaking at an awards ceremony for black Republicans in Washington that coincided with Black History Month, Priebus said GOP elected officials and candidates "need to get out there" and "go to places they haven't been in far too long," CNN reported. "Because the first step is showing up," Priebus said.

"We have suffered as a national party for becoming a party that has shown up once every four years, about three months before an election. That is a losing strategy, and it has come to an end."

The Republican National Committee made it a priority to reach out to minority voters after the 2012 election.

"Guys, I want to make you proud of this party," Priebus told a mostly black audience of about 300 people, including Hilary Shelton, the D.C. bureau director of the NAACP, CNN reported.

Honorees at the RNC's second annual "Trailblazer" ceremony were former Secretary of Health and Human Services Louis Sullivan; former Assistant Secretary of Labor William Brooks; and Judge Sara Harper, the first black woman to serve on the U.S. Marine Corp Reserve Judiciary.

"I think that's the key thing . . . This idea that some politician shows up at a convention and makes a speech, and somehow that qualifies as being engaged with the community and caring about the community? That's nonsense," ceremony co-host and actor Joseph Phillips told CNN.

He also said the GOP should distance itself "from a small group of people who use this party and use conservative principles as cover for their idiotic ideas."

"Some people don't want to hear it, but that's the honest truth," he told CNN.

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