Obama denies charge that he has failed African Americans, Latinos on jobs
11th July 2011 · 1 Comment
By Hazel Trice Edney
(TriceEdneyWire.com) — President Barack Obama, in what was likely his first direct defense pertaining to the question of the high unemployment rate among Blacks and Latinos, says Republicans who accuse him of failing on jobs are playing politics.
Responding to questions from radio talk-show host Joe Madison, president Obama all but scoffed at a recorded statement by Tea Party darling Rep. Michele Bachman (R-Minn.), a presidential candidate.
“This president has failed the Hispanic Community. He has failed the African-American community. He has failed us all when it comes to jobs,” she said in a recent speech.
“I think that’s politics. Ms. Bachman wants to run for president, so that’s pretty much boiler language for all of the Republicans right now,” Obama said. “Everyone in the African-American community, the Latino community and across the country understands we’ve had to dig ourselves out of hole that was created by their policies. The question now is how do we move forward. ”
Obama blamed Republican lawmakers who he says have “tried to stop every initiative we’ve put on the table” on job creation and haven’t “put forth a pro-active vision” on how to move forward.
Obama was also quick to point to the financial mess left by former Republican President George Bush only two-and-a-half years ago.
“Obviously we’ve gone through two of the toughest years we’ve had in our life times – economically with the financial crisis and huge recession, we’re just now making our way back and the economy is growing again but it is growing at a slow pace.
“I’m much less interested in and I think the American people are much less interested in just name-calling and much more interested in how do we concretely allow ourselves to compete with all these other countries,” Obama said.
The unemployment rates for African-Americans has remained in the teens — twice that of whites and well-above the national average — before and during the Obama Administration. Latino unemployment has remained slightly lower than African Americans, but also well above whites and the national average.
Obama said he is currently dealing with some underlying issues that will lead to an increase in job creation. One of those issues is the decline in manufacturing, he said. Discussing a new jobs creation initiative called the Advance Manufacturing Partnership, he said the first step is to train workers and invest in basic science and research.
Joe “The Black Eagle” Madison is a 30-year talk radio veteran, who airs daily on Sirius XM Channel 128 and on WOL-AM 1450 in Washington, D.C. Madison pressed Obama on whether Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) will participate in the new partnership.
The president responded, “Let’s get top universities, community colleges, higher education across the board, including HBCUs, and figure out how are we going to train the engineers, the computer scientists, etc. who are going to be creating these jobs. But also, how are we going to train students at a community college so they can operate a robot and make money?”
As an example, the President pointed to how auto manufacturers — historically among the top employers of Black workers — are now making profits, which they haven’t in a decade. Just like the competitiveness within the automobile industry, other industries such as clean energy, robotics, and biotechnology will follow suit, he said.
“America still has to have a strong manufacturing base in order for the economy to be successful and we’ve got to look at where the jobs of the future are going to come in manufacturing,” Obama said. “And everybody’s got to participate.”
This article originally published in the July 11, 2011 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.