Republican front-runners don’t want to meet with Tavis Smiley

Apparently, Republican front-runners Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani declined to participate in Tavis Smiley’s All-American Presidential Forums. Undeclared-but-likely-Republican-candidate Fred Thopson has not committed fully.

A question for all of my Black republican friends: why are your beloved republicans so against talking to Black folks face-to-face? Probably because they only do hand-picked audiences.

More from the release below.

One Love. One II


Although Fed Thompson is expected, he hasn’t fully committed to attending the “All-American Presidential Forums.” The two other front-runners for the Republican nomination, New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney have already declined to attend. The forum is an opportunity for all Republican Republican candidates to answer questions that will focus on people of color.

Regarding Giuliani and Romney’s decision, Smiley noted, “It is a missed opportunity for the presumptive front-runners. Their timing is truly unfortunate, given that this Forum will take place 48 hours after a historic celebration of the 50th anniversary of the desegregation of Central High School in Little Rock, an event to be attended by President Bush and President Clinton. This important milestone happened because of the orders of a Republican President, Dwight D. Eisenhower.”

He added, “The candidates who have confirmed will be sending a powerful and unprecedented message to people of color and all Americans of conscience and goodwill that their vote is being competed for and fought over. Perhaps the two candidates who have declined will reconsider when they realize that they are conceding 90 minutes of national prime time exposure before an important part of the electorate to Senator Thompson and the other Republican candidates. We will have two extra podia on the stage should they ultimately choose to participate.”

The first Forum was held on June 28th at Howard University in Washington, DC featuring all eight Democratic candidates. Both events have historic significance as the first-ever nationally broadcast election events specifically oriented towards voters of color.


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About Garlin Gilchrist II

I am the City of Detroit's first ever Deputy Technology Director for Civic Community Engagement. My job is to open up the city's public data and information for the consumption and benefit of all Detroiters. I currently live in Detroit, my hometown, with my beautiful wife Ellen and our twins Garlin III and Emily Grace. I'm from Detroit. I created Detroit Diaspora, and was formerly the National Campaign Director at I also co-hosted The #WinReport on "The Good Fight," a an award winning, nationally syndicated radio show that was one of Apple's Best of 2013. After graduating with degrees in Computer Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Michigan, I became a Software Engineer at Microsoft. By day, I helped build SharePoint into the fastest growth product in the company's history. On my personal time, I sought out opportunities to connect my technical skills with community building efforts across the country. This led to my co-founding The SuperSpade: Black Thought at the Highest Level, a leading Black political blog. I served as Social Media Manager for the 2008 Obama campaign in Washington, and then became Director of New Media at the Center for Community Change. I spent two years creating and implementing a strategy for the Center to take it's 40 years of community organizing experience into the digital age. I speak before diverse audiences on effective & responsive government, empowerment in revolutionary new organizing spaces, increasing civic engagement & participation through emerging technologies and protecting civil rights in the age of the Internet. Full bio here.

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