WASHINGTON, D.C. Julian Bond blasted the war in Iraq and conservative attacks on voting rights, yet the NAACP's chairman Sunday also urged President Bush to attend the civil rights group's annual convention on Wednesday.
Bush has avoided the conventions since taking office in 2001, making him the first sitting president in decades not to have spoken to the group. His schedule for Wednesday lists an event with the notation "TBA," or to be announced.
Bond said Bush's presence would show that he hears the concerns of African-Americans. "We have values, we vote our values, and we demand to be valued in return," he said.
More than 2000 gathered for Bond's hour-long keynote speech, which kicked off the 97th convention of the Baltimore-based National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.