CHARLESTON, S.C. — Republican National Chairman Lee Atwater told the nation's mayors today his party is "not opposed to spending more money on the cities" and will actively recruit blacks as mayoral candidates.
Atwater said Republicans hope to establish "a political beachhead" in the cities by winning the New York mayoral race this year.
Atwater, at the annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, steered clear of the Bush Administration's differences with Republican and Democratic mayors on guns and taxes but said the President would be responsive to cities.
"George Bush . . . does have the cities in mind," Atwater said. "We in the Republican Party are not opposed to spending more money on the cities--we just want to be careful to spend taxpayers' money on projects that work."
More than 200 mayors heard Atwater at the conference, which Bush declined to attend. Atwater offered no specifics on urban aid, which the mayors want increased.