Every day, in every way - we're losing our American-ness. These are dark, dark times.
Leaders of Civil-Rights Watchdog Blast Bush
Leaders of a divided federal civil-rights watchdog agency accused President Bush of deepening racial divisions, in a parting shot after years of sparring with his administration.
Mary Frances Berry, chairperson of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and Vice Chairperson Cruz Reynoso delivered a 166-page report to the White House harshly criticizing the administration for setting back race relations and failing to promote civil rights in any meaningful way.
But the report is not an official document, because four of the eight commissioners, all of them Republican appointees, voted against adopting it and rejected the charges as politically biased.
Both Berry and Reynoso are due to retire from the commission next month at the end of their six-year terms, giving Bush the chance to appoint their successors and shape a body more supportive of his policies.
"Sadly, the spiraling demise of hope for social justice and healing has deepened over the past four years, largely due to a departure from and marginalization of long-established civil rights priorities, practices and laws," Berry and Reynoso wrote in a letter to Bush.
Peter Kirsanow, one of the four commissioners who voted against the report, said it was politically slanted, and based on shoddy research and faulty analysis.
"It started from the premise that the Bush administration was not sufficiently enforcing civil-rights law. When we examined it closely, we found it was deeply flawed in respect to its information, analysis and conclusions," he said.
The White House said it would not comment on the content of the report because it was not an official commission document.