Gore Doesn't Dig Black Skin?!?

John A. Quayle blueoval at SGI.NET
Sat Sep 9 18:58:02 MDT 2000

                      Friday September 8 6:30 PM ET

                  Congresswoman Disclaims Gore Comment
                     By JEFFREY McMURRAY, Associated Press Writer

        WASHINGTON (AP) - A black congresswoman who asserted Vice
    President Al Gore (news - web sites) has a low ``Negro tolerance
level'' backed off Friday, saying the claim was in a draft statement not
meant to be released.

         Rep. Cynthia McKinney's office issued a statement on Aug. 29
related to a lawsuit brought by three black Secret Service agents in which
she said Gore's ``Negro tolerance level has never been too high.''

         ``I've never known him to have more than one black person around
him at any given time,'' said McKinney, D-Ga. After a week of Associated
Press efforts to reach her for comment, her office issued a new statement
late Friday. ``These remarks originated in a draft of a press release that
was       in the editing process and were never intended for public
distribution. I disclaim all of those comments,'' she said in the new

         The lawsuit contends black agents are passed over for promotions
on Gore's security detail. The agents contend the vice has done nothing to
address the situation.

         ``That these black officers had no response from Gore's staff
is   symptomatic of a larger problem,'' McKinney's original statement said.
``Gore would like these problems to just go away, but they'll never go away
if they're not addressed.''

         Gore campaign spokesman Chris Lehane said the vice president
had    a ''25-year record of fighting for African-Americans.'' Donna
Brazile, a black woman, heads Gore's campaign.

         After McKinney issued her retraction, a campaign spokeswoman
said   it was clear the congresswoman didn't want the statement to come out
and that Gore was pleased to have her support.

         Secret Service spokesman Jim Mackin said 30 percent of the
agents   assigned to Gore's detail are minorities or women, and 18 percent
are black. In addition, blacks hold 40 percent of the ``whip'' positions -
senior agents who occasionally supervise the detail.

         Attorney Ron Schmidt, who represents the black Secret Service
agents, said he does not believe Gore is racist ``and I don't think any of
the agents do.''

         ``But they're very concerned Gore is brushing them off. It's
disconcerting for these guys to put their lives on the line for the
protectee while at the same time the candidate is acting with complete
indifference toward them,'' he said.

         In her later statement, McKinney said the Secret Service matter
still deserves ``serious attention and vigorous investigation,'' but she
warned Republicans not to use the earlier statement to ``divide and confuse
the voters.''

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