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February 08, 2006

WaPo Headline: With Tribute To King, Bush Reaches Out; NAACP Chief Praises President for Appearance

That's a nice headline, but it sort of hides the most newsworthy part of the Death to Bush rally, doesn't it?

President Bush paid honor to the life of Coretta Scott King from the pulpit of a Baptist church in suburban Atlanta yesterday, recalling that "as a great movement of history took shape, her dignity was a daily rebuke to the pettiness and cruelty of segregation."

It was the type of eloquent tribute that Americans have come to expect from their president when an iconic figure passes. But the presidential gesture took on added significance because it marks the latest step in the administration's effort to repair its frayed relations with many black civil rights and political leaders.

"President Bush was where he should have been," said Bruce S. Gordon, the new president of the NAACP. "Coretta Scott King is a very important figure in black American history and American history. I thought it was appropriate for the president to be there to honor her."

Very nice, but the article then goes on to note, once again, that Bush is the first President to not speak before the NAACP since... whenever.

It's not until the end of the article -- ninth paragraph, surely past the jump in the print addition -- that the reporter bothers to suggest why Bush might not be keen on meeting with the NAACP:

While Bush was greeted respectfully at the funeral, the tension between him and some black leaders also was evident. The Rev. Joseph Lowery, former president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, drew a standing ovation when he criticized the war in Iraq, saying, "There were no weapons of mass destruction over there."

"For war, billions more, but no more for the poor," Lowery added as Bush sat behind him on the speaker's platform.

Former president Jimmy Carter, who has been critical of Bush's warrantless eavesdropping program, pointed out that King and her husband, the slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., were targets of a "secret government surveillance" at the height of the civil rights movement.

"The struggle for equality is not over," Carter said. "We only have to recall the color of the faces in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi -- those most devastated by Katrina -- to know there are not yet equal opportunities for all Americans."

Asked about the criticism, Gordon said: "There are issues between this administration and the African American community. There is no question about it, and that is not going to change in just a few months."

Is this Bush-bashing at a funeral (again!) an outrage? I'm not sure. A funeral is supposed to honor the deceased, and one could easily imagine that this is precisely how Coretta Scott King would have wanted to have been eulogized -- with ranting against the white President's supposed hatred of blacks and the poor.

It certainly looks tasteless, though. Which may be why the Post buried it.

Instapundit has reactions, and speculates the Democrats need to turn every funeral into a political rally because funerals are the few times people bother listening to them.

Which throws that whole Karl-Rove-Killed-Paul-Wellstone-and-Mel-Carnahan theory into question. Who benefits? Maybe it was actually James Carville.

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posted by Ace at 11:37 AM

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