CBC, Kerry Aides to Meet On Message, Minority Vote

Posted May 12, 2004 at 6:39pm

Congressional Black Caucus members from key battleground states will meet with Sen. John Kerry’s (Mass.) top campaign aides today to encourage the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee to launch a stronger message offensive against President Bush and to work with them to get out the minority vote.

About a dozen CBC members from the decisive states are expected to sit down with Kerry campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill and other top aides to lay out a blueprint for working together in the coming months. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), who arranged the meeting, said the CBC will tell Kerry officials they want to help the campaign mold a message that sells to minority voters in those states.

Meeks said that in so doing, the Kerry campaign can prompt better voter turnout in states that determine presidential outcomes.

“Members will be able to explain to the campaign what’s going on in their states and cities,” Meeks said. “They know what’s going on so when Kerry visits those states he can hit the ground running.

“The bottom line is making sure we’re working together to take along these key states.”

Rep. Artur Davis (D-Ala.), who doesn’t represent a battleground state but may attend the session, said the CBC simply wants the campaign to understand the caucus’s top priorities and work with its members to get out the vote.

“Almost every battleground state has a significant minority population,” Davis said. “A few more minority votes in Florida would have elected Al Gore president.”

Beyond turnout and message, however, CBC members said the Kerry campaign will also likely get an earful about taking a stronger offensive against the Bush campaign and its attack on the Massachusetts Senator.

“We want Kerry to punch harder,” said Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.). “Bush is campaigning like it’s the last 30 days of the election. We have to meet him on those terms.”

“This is for real,” Conyers added. “This is about winning.”