Black Caucus chair Emanuel Cleaver says discord is hurting country

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus says the divisiveness on Capitol Hill has weakened the country and given neither political party an advantage over the other.

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri made a plea for unity over division during a speech Wednesday at the Democratic National Convention. Republicans and Democrats can’t be enemies, Cleaver said, and expect political progress.

But Cleaver made a pitch for his party, too. The Democrats have protected Medicare and Medicaid, he said, and embraced diversity by repealing the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy about gays.

Rep. Karen Bass of California, also a member of the Black Caucus, spoke before Cleaver and said voting rights are under attack because of new laws that make it harder for people to cast their ballots.


Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.