During conference with the Black Press, President Obama urges all Americans to vote Nov. 2nd

Special to the Democrat by: John Zippert, Co-Publisher

At the beginning and end of a half hour conference call with the Black Press on Monday October 18, 2010, President Barack Obama urged Black newspaper editors and reporters to urge their readers to vote in the November general election.
The call was part of a concentrated effort by the President, Vice-President Biden and First Lady Michelle Obama to rally voters at the base of the Democratic Party, who voted for Obama in 2008, to return to the polls in the 2010 mid-term election and elect Democratic candidates to Congress, governorships and positions up and down the ballot.
President Obama indicated that he had been battling the “greatest economic crisis facing the nation since the Great Depression of the 1930’s with very little help or support from Republicans in Congress.” He said, “the Republicans have basically said ‘no’ to everything we have proposed to help middle class and working families.”
The President cited the success of the Recovery/Stimulus Act, the health care reform, the “broadest tax cut in American history that reached 95% of families”, educational reform, assistance to small and minority businesses, and programs to stem foreclosures and stabilize urban neighborhoods.
The President urged voters “to look at what we have done and not pay too much attention to 30 second sound bites”. He said he also knew that much more was needed to solve the economic problems but the past nine months of private sector job growth showed that the trend was moving in a positive direction, despite the fact that growth was slower and less than needed. He said he would need more help from Capitol Hill, not a return to the same economic philosophy and programs of the past.
In response to a question from the St. Louis American newspaper as to why so many Democratic candidates had distanced themselves from the President, he said he understood the tough political environment. Obama said, “ If you ask people do you want to rebuild roads and infrastructure, give a tax cut to 95% of American families and develop clean energy projects, which were all part of the economic stimulus program, they will agree these are good things. Then when you say they were all part of the stimulus, there is a misunderstanding, because the Republicans have branded the stimulus as deficit spending.”
The President did not take full responsibility for some of the problems in communicating the success of his programs. He said instead that he had been working hard on making changes in so many areas, without much help from Republicans, that he was relying on the American people to see the impact of his Administration’s work in economic stimulus, health care reform, education reform and many other areas – and then vote based on the record.
The President also complained that there was too much money in the campaign from anonymous corporate sources who were allowed to participate in campaign financing due to a narrow 5 to 4 Supreme Court decision in a case entitled Citizens United decided earlier this year.
This decision allows corporations, labor unions and other groups to set up organizations to participate in political campaigns without having to disclose their donors. This Supreme Court decision also gives corporations the same rights as individuals to contribute to political campaigns which previously had been banned.
Obama expressed concern that Congress was unwilling to adopt legislation to require disclosure of contributors to these organizations and campaigns.
Other questions to the President concerned the high dropout rate in Black communities, the need for more jobs programs in minority communities, advertising by Federal agencies with minority owned newspapers and more targeted recovery programs to reach inner city youth, who have not been served by general recovery program that rebuild infrastructure in areas beyond the inner city.
The President said he was working to enact new infrastructure and energy saving projects to encompass training of more inner city folks for construction and energy retrofitting jobs but all of these efforts were contingent on a supportive Congress.
Obama said, “it all comes down to urging your readers and all Americans to vote on November 2nd


Federation’s 43rd annual meeting features Shirley Sherrod, Ben Jealous and Alice Walker in people’s celebration


Pictured L-R are Shirley Sherrod, Ben Jealous and FSC Executive Director Ralph Paige.


The Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund celebrated its 43rd Annual Meeting this past weekend in Birmingham and at the organization’s Rural Training and Research Center at Epes, Alabama.

 On Saturday, August 21, Shirley Sherrod, a former Federation staff member and recently dismissed Georgia State Director of USDA Rural Development and Ben Jealous, Executive Director of the NAACP, spoke publicly together for the first time about the incident of Ms. Sherrod’s dismissal in mid-July based on a distorted video tape of her speech to an NAACP group in Georgia.

The tape was edited by Andrew Brietbart, a right-wing ideologue, to suggest that Ms. Sherrod was withholding services from a white farmer. When the entire video is viewed in context it is clear that Ms. Sherrod is speaking of her transformation and overcoming prejudice by helping to save the white farmer’s farm despite her own negative life experiences with whites. Read more of this post