john_mccain.jpgWASHINGTON (AP) _ What a difference a nomination makes.

Now that he's wrapped up the Republican nomination for president, Sen. John McCain has decided to attend the annual convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Cincinnati in July. A year ago when he was just one of a pack of GOP contenders, he turned down the civil rights group's invitation.

McCain disclosed his plans in an interview with Essence magazine, which was released Tuesday. Asked how he might reach out to the black community, McCain replied that he would “go to places and venues that would allow me to continue a dialogue with the African-American community. I will go to the NAACP convention.''

McCain noted that he “talked about the need to include 'forgotten Americans''' during a visit he recently made to the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., where Alabama state troopers and local sheriff's deputies stormed and beat 800 blacks and whites marching for voting rights on March 7, 1965.

All eight Democratic presidential candidates but only one of the 10 Republican candidates, Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo, addressed the NAACP's 98th annual convention in Detroit last July. NAACP spokesman Richard McIntire said all presidential candidates were invited.