Republican strategists hope that President Bush's trip to Africa later this month will soften opposition to the administration among African-Americans and possibly help the eventual GOP presidential nominee make inroads into the black vote this fall. "The president really cares about Africa," says a senior White House official. Bush will use the trip to underscore his commitment to spending millions of dollars to fight AIDS, HIV, malaria, and other diseases in African nations. The hope among GOP strategists is that, at minimum, African-American voters at home won't be motivated to cast ballots against Republican candidates this fall when they see that Bush and his party have Africa's best interests at heart. Black voters in the United States have given little support to Bush throughout his presidency and have gone heavily Democratic for many years. Bush plans to spend a week in Africa starting February 15 as he visits Benin, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana, and Liberia.