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Morning News

Dennard: Conservative Message Will Bring More People into GOP

Aired July 28, 2000 - 11:05 a.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: A 17-year-old Arizona man there gets to do something next week that no other teenager will get to do: address the Republican convention here in Philadelphia.

Paris Dennard will give a two-minute speech on Monday morning. He joins us now live this morning from Phoenix to talk about the big moment.

What is it? 9:00 a.m. your time now?

PARIS DENNARD, GOP CONVENTION SPEAKER: Yes, it is.

HEMMER: All right, hey listen, your message on Monday morning, what are you going to have to say?

DENNARD: Well, I'm going to talk primarily about the organization which I represent, the Teenage Republicans of America. And also I'm going to move into something I'm very passionate about and I try to always speak upon, and that's party unity.

HEMMER: What is your sense, Paris, of the feelings of young people in America toward politics? There is a lot of talk about apathy, et cetera. George P. Bush, the nephew of George W. Bush, talks about that. Do you get the same sense?

DENNARD: I do, I do, when I talk to my peers and try to get them involved within the political process, there seems to be apathy. But I think this political season, this recent campaign has invigorated the youth and we are all excited. And I think it's part of -- because of the campaign.

HEMMER: Now is that rhetoric or is that legitimate? what do you mean it's invigorated things thus far?

DENNARD: I think there -- because it's inundated on the television, the newspapers, radio, they can't help but to be intrigued by it all. And they try to learn more about the political process, thus invigorating them.

HEMMER: You're going to speak here again, on Monday morning, I mentioned that.

DENNARD: Yes.

HEMMER: But what do you think the Republican Party can do to attract more people to its cause?

DENNARD: I think the Republican Party just needs to make more in-roads to minorities, to youth especially, to break down the stereotype that Republicans only fit one certain standard, they only live one certain way, that the Republican Party is an open party, open tent, all-inclusive.

And that's why I'm so motivated by the new majority that you hear so much about. And I think that is one major way the Republican Party is reaching out this campaign season.

HEMMER: Take that a bit deeper for me, Paris, as an African- American yourself, where has the Republican Party failed in the past to attract people like yourself and more?

DENNARD: I think the Republican Party is just the message, the conservative message, the work ethic, and being about free enterprise and reduction of the federal government and smaller taxes. I think that message appeals to African-Americans.

HEMMER: Fair enough, I know you're student body president. I think you've been a student body president for every class you've ever been, throughout your time.

DENNARD: That's right.

HEMMER: You have political aspirations, in the quick time we have left, what are they?

DENNARD: My political aspirations, if I have the support of the American people and especially back here in Arizona, I will run for office.

HEMMER: Well, I'll tell you, if you keep that optimism up, and that energy and enthusiasm, you might do quite well.

Paris, thanks for your time today, all right?

DENNARD: Thank you, Bill, I appreciate it.

HEMMER: Paris Dennard, live there in Phoenix, Arizona, this morning.

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