During a speech at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry said that Republicans have ignored the black vote for too long.
“When it comes to race, America is a better and more tolerant and more welcoming place than it has ever been. So why is it that even today, so many black families feel left behind?
"Democrats have long had the opportunity to govern in African-American communities.
"It is time to help black families hold them accountable for the results.
"I am here to tell you that it is Republicans, not Democrats, who are truly offering black Americans the hope of a better life for themselves and their children.
"I am proud to live in a country with an African-American President. But President Obama cannot be proud of the fact that the prevalence of black poverty has actually increased under his leadership.
"Too often, we Republicans – myself included – have emphasized our message on the Tenth Amendment but not our message on the Fourteenth – an Amendment, it bears reminding, that was one of the first great contributions of the Republican Party to American life, second only to the abolition of slavery.
"For too long, we Republicans have been content to lose the black vote because we found that we could win elections without it. But when we gave up on trying to win the support of African-Americans, we lost our moral legitimacy as the party of Lincoln. As the party of equal opportunity for all.
"It is time for us to once again reclaim our heritage as the only party in our country founded on the principle of freedom for African-Americans," Perry said.