Ill. GOP discusses widening voter base at RNC

August 30, 2012 (CLEARWATER, Fla.)

At Thursday's Illinois Republican breakfast , you could count the African-Americans and Latinos on two hands. But alternate delegate Isaac Hayes called it an improvement over 2008, a sign that the party's outreach to minorities is working.

"We need to be more vocal in the Republican party and our communities and let our country know that we are here and we have a voice as well," Hayes told ABC7.

Tampa convention planners scheduled high profile female, African-American and Latino speakers who carried the party's message of fiscal conservatism while downplaying their race and gender.

"It's not identity politics, it's issue politics. I think that's a great leap forward for the country, a good leap forward for the country," said Pat Brady, Ill. Republican chairman.

"There's an opportunity for us here to come together and to turn things around," said Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Chicago suburbs).

But polls suggest Mitt Romney has virtually no support among African Americans and trails President Obama by a wide margin among Latino voters in large part because of Republican platform positions on immigration.

"When it comes to the issues that count, for women, for minorities for Hispanics, time and again the Republicans oppose them," said U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois).

Chicago Congresswoman Jan Schakowski said the RNC female speakers never addressed the most important women's issue.

"Equal pay for equal work was never brought up, was never discussed," said Schakowski.

Republican leaders accuse the president's campaign of using race and gender issues to motivate female, black and Latino voters against Mitt Romney.

"Now they're running the most nasty, divisive, bitter, class warfare, racist, race-baiting campaign they could. It's not good for the country," said Brady.

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