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Bill Frist: The GOP's Agenda for Black America

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) says the Republican Party represents the interests of the African-American community better than the Democratic Party does.

"I think black Americans around the country are going to look for somebody who cherishes freedom and opportunity," Frist says of the November congressional elections. Frist made his comments in an interview with News & Notes host Ed Gordon.

Frist faces long odds in convincing black Americans to switch to the GOP from their traditional alliance with the Democratic Party. Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) got 88 percent of the black vote as the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee.

But Frist believes the Democratic Party is taking for granted the votes of African-Americans, and says the GOP's emphasis on tax cuts and less regulation of business will create more jobs and opportunities for minority communities in the long term.

In the short term, however, Frist concedes many Americans are insecure about their jobs and benefits. He says the federal government's role should be to foster a stable jobs environment -- and less regulation and lower taxes are the best way to encourage business growth.

Frist will be a key player in helping President Bush push his legislative agenda. In his latest State of the Union address, the president touted health savings accounts, and Frist says they are the best way to push health care reform -- and also make medical care more affordable to lower-income communities.

Frist also supports the Mr. Bush's warrantless surveillance program, saying electronic eavesdropping on communications is crucial to pursuing terrorists and would-be terrorists within the United States and abroad. Judicial oversight isn't needed, he says, because the Bush administration's clandestine plan is wholly legal.

"I believe the program is lawful, it's constitutional and I absolutely know it is protective of Americans," he said.

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