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Why should an African-American vote Republican?

“You really don’t have a reason to, to be honest — we haven’t done a very good job of really giving you one. True? True,” Republican National Chairman Michael Steele told 200 DePaul University students Tuesday night.

Steele — a former Maryland lieutenant governor and seminarian serving as the first African-American head of the Republican Party — offered a frank assessment of the American political system.

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A week after his Democratic counterpart, Tim Kaine, told 200 activists at an Ethiopian Restaurant four miles away that the Tea Party movement was causing a “civil war” in the GOP that could help Democrats in November, Steele said he is telling Republicans around the country to work with the Tea Party activists to elect Republicans this fall.

“I have advised our state chairs: Don’t turn your nose up, or turn away those who are active in the Tea Party movement. Embrace them. Welcome them. Talk to them,” Steele said. “Those activists have now become a very large part of our voting bloc. They represent a third or more of the voting age population, so they’re going to have a profound impact on elections and in some cases in the primaries this November and this spring. Both parties had better pay attention.”

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