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Beltway Confidential

Rand Paul to open African-American Engagement Office in Detroit

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Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke,Barack Obama,Republican Party,Detroit,Rand Paul,Michigan

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., will open an African American Engagement Office in Detroit, Mich., as part of a Republican effort to improve their efforts to reach out to the traditionally-Democratic voters.

The office is the first-of-its-kind for the Republicans. "Every community in the United States should be engaged by the Republican Party and Senator Paul believes that the values of limited government, and more freedom have broad appeal," Doug Stafford, one of Paul's senior advisers, stated. "He is pleased to help lead this effort."

The opening takes place on Dec. 6. The office is run jointly by the Michigan Republican Party and the Republican National Committee.

Black voters turned out in higher numbers than ever to support President Obama, but there have been signs — in Detroit, especially — that they feel taken for granted by the broader Democratic Party.

"We're supportive of the president, but we're getting tired, y'all," Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., said during a Congressional Black Caucus town hall meeting in 2011. "We're getting tired. And so, what we want to do is, we want to give the president every opportunity to show what he can do and what he's prepared to lead on. We want to give him every opportunity, but our people are hurting. The unemployment is unconscionable. We don't know what the strategy is. We don't know why on this trip that he's in the United States now, he's not in any black community. We don't know that."

Republicans have a long way to go in overcoming decades of loyalty to the Democratic Party, fostered in part by tactics such as Richard Nixon's infamous 'Southern strategy.'

Rand Paul previously gave a speech at the historically-black Howard University in Washington to talk about how Republican positions benefit the black community, but it was an imperfect debut.

"I thought my reception at Howard was much better than my reception from the left-wing media," Paul said at a Christian Science Monitor Breakfast a week after the event. "It is harder for me, I'm not African American, to go to Howard and talk about it. It would be easier for an African American Republican maybe to talk about it because then it seems less like me trying to preach to people about history but it's all of our history. There were whites involved too in abolition."

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