On Bended Knees

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NASHVILLE, Tennessee: Hoping to make amends for snubbing the NAACP convention last month, Bob Dole apologized to a group of black journalists Friday and declared that the GOP will never be whole without the support of African Americans. Addressing the annual convention of the National Association of Black Journalists, Dole said that Republicans mean to earn the support of blacks by creating opportunities for minorities and eliminating discrimination. Both Dole and his running mate Jack Kemp suggested that the GOP would address racial inequality with outreach to minority communities, not with affirmative action quotas or set-asides. "I've supported race-based preferences in the past," said Dole. "But over time, I realized that preferences created with the best of intentions were dividing America instead of bringing us, or bringing them together." The Republican nominee also distanced himself from a plank in the GOP platform that proposes a constitutional amendment to deny U.S. citizenship to children born to illegal immigrants. Dole said he would not support that part of the program because he had not authorized it himself. -->