Archives for March 2009
White House officials contend the online town hall meeting was such a success they will have more, especially as it was a cost savings because they did not have to “gas up” Air force One.
Life after being the Bush Secretary of State is exposed by Jay Leno. Rice left Washington at the end of the Bush Presidency to begin the next phase of her life on the West Coast.
By DeWAYNE WICKHAM
Gannett News Service
Barack Obama should have had a better answer to the question Ann Compton
asked during his White House press conference.
The query from Compton, an ABC News correspondent, came late during the
nationally televised give-and-take between the president and members of
the White House press corps – a session dominated by talk of the
nation’s economic crisis.
“Could I ask about race?” she began, raising an issue that still makes a
lot of Americans uncomfortable. “Yours is a rather historic presidency,
and I’m just wondering whether, in any of the policy debates that you’ve
had within the White House, the issue of race has come up,” she asked
the nation’s first black president.
“I think that the last 64 days has been dominated by me trying to figure
how we’re going to fix the economy. And that affects black, brown and
white,” Obama responded, sounding every bit like the first president of
America’s post-racial era.
And then, to put a fine point on his answer, Obama acknowledged the
“justifiable pride” many people felt when he was inaugurated. But now,
he said, the American people are judging him “exactly the way I should
be judged, and that is, ‘Are we taking steps to improve liquidity in the
financial markets, create jobs, get businesses to reopen, keep America
safe?’ And that’s what I’ve been spending my time thinking about.”
That sounds a lot like the kind of “rising tide lifts all boats” answer
that many of the white men who preceded him in the Oval Office used to
give when asked whether the issue of race came up in any of their policy
debates. The problem with such a generic answer then – and now – is that
there is no one-size-fits-all fix for this nation’s problems –
especially the current economic crisis.
Last month, overall unemployment among whites rose to 7.3 percent, and
black unemployment jumped to 13.4 percent. Joblessness among white
teenagers (ages 16-19) was 19.1 percent, while 38.8 percent of black
teens were out of work.
In answering Compton’s question, did Obama really mean to say that these
stark differences haven’t been raised in White House discussions about
how to get Americans off the unemployment rolls?
Is it possible that the issue of race – or, more accurately, this
nation’s racial inequalities – never came up when the president talked
to his economic advisers about poverty in America? Last year, the U.S.
Census Bureau reported that the median income of blacks ($33,916) was
significantly lower than that of whites ($54,920). It also said that one
in four black families had incomes below the poverty level, compared to
just 8.2 percent of white families.
Has the Obama team been talking about what to do about pulling families
out of poverty without acknowledging how much more difficult it is going
to be to lift black families out of that bog?
How can the Obama administration solve the nation’s housing crisis if it
doesn’t understand – and hasn’t discussed during policy debates – the
predatory lending practices that targeted blacks to a far greater degree
than any other group in this country? A 2000 study by the Department of
Housing and Urban Development found that homeowners in high-income black
areas were twice as likely as homeowners in low-income white areas to
have subprime loans. This month, the NAACP sued subsidiaries of two
major banks that it accused of steering borrowers “unfairly into costly
subprime mortgages,” the Los Angeles Times reported.