05/28/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

McCain To Attend NAACP Convention He Skipped Last Year

John McCain will attend the annual NAACP convention, according to the Associated Press:

McCain disclosed his plans in an interview with the African-American publication Essence, which was released Tuesday. Asked how he might reach out to the black community, McCain replied that he would "go to places and venues that would allow me to continue a dialogue with the African-American community. I will go to the NAACP convention."

McCain noted that he "talked about the need to include 'forgotten Americans'" during a visit he recently made to the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., where Alabama state troopers and local sheriffs deputies stormed and beat 800 blacks and whites marching for voting rights on March 7, 1965.

McCain's attention to the NAACP is a new affair. Only last year he declined the invitation citing scheduling conflicts (as did all but one Republican candidate). And Oscar Tillman, who heads the Phoenix branch of the NAACP, doesn't ever remembering seen McCain at an event:

John McCain, said Tillman, "has pretty well zero relationship with the African-American community that I know of."

"I don't recall him ever attending any function with the NAACP," Tillman added. "Each year we send them an invitation [to an annual banquet], and each year they say no."

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