A day of Protests
First, the uninvited, unelectable one, gets a less than warm welcome as he panders for the black vote at Reverand King's crypt.
As Bush placed a wreath on King's crypt, a low chorus of boos could be heard from across the street where 700 to 800 protesters beat drums and waved signs bearing slogans such as "War is not the answer" and "It's not a photo-op, George."I'm thinkin' Georgie will buck those 'test' odds and not improve his 'score'.
Bush's four-stop swing through Georgia and Louisiana allowed him to court two important constituencies — religious conservatives, who make up his base of support, and black voters, only 9 percent of whom supported him in 2000. Events in both states were paired with fund-raisers, which raised $2.3 million for his campaign account, already brimming with more than $130 million.
In this year's presidential race, Bush probably will garner only slighly more of the black vote, predicts David Bositis, a political analyst in Washington who focuses on black issues.
"Nine percent is the lowest for a Republican candidate since Barry Goldwater, he said. "When you get a zero on a test and you take it a second time, the odds are that you're going to do a little better."
Back in Washington, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said not one policy decision made by the Bush administration — from the war in Iraq to the economy, from education to the environment — has mirrored King's dream. "The president needs to be more embracing of elected African American officials and the entire African American community every day of the year, not just on January 15th," he said.
While in Basra, an estimated 30,000 Shiite protesters took to the streets to voice their opposition to US-directed regional elections in Iraq.
The protest came Thursday as an aide to Iraq's foremost Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani, warned that he might issue a fatwa, or religious edict, rejecting a U.S.-backed government if his demands for direct elections are ignored.Are we having fun yet? Can you say fatwa?
The turnout in Basra, estimated by British soldiers at up to 30,000, was the biggest protest organized by Shiite clerics against the power transfer plan.
The United States wants regional caucuses to choose a new parliament, which will then select an Iraqi administration. It says security is too poor and voter records too incomplete for fair elections.
The clerics want direct elections, fearing the caucuses may be rigged to keep Shiites out of power.