WASHINGTON (AP) _ Conservative critics of President Clinton’s race commission and his support for affirmative action have formed a new group to ``bring balance to the president’s efforts.″
The Citizens’ Initiative on Race and Ethnicity, led by Ward Connerly, a member of the University of California Board of Regents, unveiled plans Wednesday to write reports and augment the discussion of race the president’s panel has opened. Connerly is chairman of the American Civil Rights Institute, a national group fighting affirmative action.
Terming the president’s panel a ``monologue about race and not a dialogue,″ Connerly and several other prominent conservatives accused the president’s panel of failing to get conservative input, focusing on preserving affirmative action programs and having a shortage of Asian-American involvement.
White House spokesman Mike McCurry expressed surprise at the deveopment. ``We did value their contribution and their ongoing contribution,″ McCurry said.
``We are going to make specific policy recommendations and our views will reflect the views of most Americans,″ said Abigail Thernstrom, conservative author and vice chairwoman of the new group.
Connerly was joined by Thernstrom and her husband, Stephen; Clint Bolick, president of the Institute for Justice; Elaine Chao, former president of United Way of America; and writer Linda Chavez, former chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
Details on the operations of the new group were sketchy. Budget and funding information was ``evolving,″ Connerly said. No executive director has yet been named. And as far as a timetable for any reports the coalition would release, Connerly said, ``We are playing that by ear.″