Kemp To Boycott Race Meeting
Kemp pulls out of White House meeting with conservatives on raceJohn King/CNN
WASHINGTON (Dec. 19) -- Jack Kemp is boycotting a meeting with President Bill Clinton on race relations today because the White House dictated that the session with conservatives and other critics of the administration's policies be held behind closed doors.
Kemp, the 1996 Republican vice presidential nominee, is perhaps the most prominent of the conservatives invited to the Friday afternoon session. California anti-affirmative activist Ward Connerly is also among those invited, and he plans to attend.
Kemp's spokesman tells CNN that Kemp is "anxious to talk about race and related issues, but you can't have a dialogue on race behind closed doors."
Clinton scheduled the meeting after a barrage of criticism that the president's yearlong dialogue on race was little more than a monologue of liberal voices who support the president's views on affirmative action and other race-related issues. But the White House is significantly restricting media coverage -- including refusing to allow television cameras into the session.
Kemp spokesman Christian Pinkston said Kemp believes Clinton should hold an open meeting with conservatives and the Republican congressional leadership, as well as activists on both sides of affirmative action and other issues that are part of the race discussion.
Senior White House adviser Rahm Emanuel suggests Kemp is playing politics. He notes critics were invited to a recent Virginia meeting on race and says Friday's meeting was closed because "the president wanted an open and honest discussion .... the full transcript will be made available."
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Friday Dec. 19, 1997
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