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“We Will Recover,” President Obama Assures Nation

Published by Tanu Henry on Wednesday, February 25, 2009 at 4:07 am.

 President Obama


 By Pamela Genry, Sr. Political Correspondent


Feb. 25, 2009 — Obama addressed a joint session of Congress and delivered a message of a stronger America fueled by sacrifice, attacking long term challenges and maintaining hope and optimism.


 He told the American people that the stimulus bill was just the beginning.  “That day of reckoning has arrived, and the time to take charge of our future is now.”  


In just a couple days Obama will be unveiling his first budget.  The president was careful to temper expectations. “My budget does not attempt to solve every problem or address every issue.  It reflects the stark reality of what we’ve inherited – a trillion dollar deficit, a financial crisis, and a costly recession,” he said. 


While he continues to struggle with getting Republicans on board for his economic plan, he extended another olive branch to his colleagues across the aisle calling for them to “act boldly and wisely.”  


“Given these realities, everyone in this chamber – Democrats and Republicans – will have to sacrifice some worthy priorities for which there are no dollars.  And that includes me,” Obama said.


 Obama said he wants to fuel the economic recovery with jobs. Calling on Americans to understand there will be sacrifices from folks across the board, the president pledged to invest in renewable energy, healthcare and education. But many of these jobs the president said will depend on the investment we make in education.  “Three quarter of the fastest-growing occupations require more than a high school diploma.  And yet, just over half of our citizens have that level of education,” he said. 

The speech focused on domestic policy but the president did give the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan some attention, promising he will “responsibly end” the war in Iraq.  “We will forge a new and comprehensive strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan to defeat al Qaeda and combat extremism,” he said, receiving thunderous applause.



Watch the President’s Speech

Watch CBS Videos Online

The president made it clear he would not be soft on those who threaten the American people.  "Because I will not allow terrorists to plot against the American people from safe havens half a world away," he said.


Obama made a lot of promises in his speech but he took full responsibility for meeting the challenges ahead.  "I reject the view that says our problems will simple take care of themselves; that says government has no role in laying the foundation for our common prosperity," he said.


But he said our nation has always responded "with bold action and big ideas."


What do you think of the President's speech? Sound off.

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Recovery: Stimulus Is “One Leg of the Stool”

Published by Tanu Henry on Tuesday, February 10, 2009 at 2:03 am.

Obama Press Conference 

By Pamela Gentry,  Senior Political Analyst

 Feb. 9, 2008 – President Obama made the case for his economic plan during his first nationally televised news conference.  He called on his critics to “set aside” differences and work with him to get the economy back on track and the American people back to work.

“It is absolutely true that we cannot depend on government alone to create jobs or economic growth. That is and must be the role of the private sector. But at this particular moment, with the private sector so weakened by this recession, the federal government is the only entity left with the resources to jolt our economy back to life,” he said in his opening statement.

Questions were raised about his outreach to Republicans, repairing the banking system, Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq, but the majority of the questions centered on the economy.

Obama said he would judge the success of his economic plan if it opened credit markets and lenders were confident in the economy; housing market stabilized; job loss declined and new jobs were created.

“The recovery and reinvestment package is not the only thing we have to do. It’s one leg of the stool. We are still going to have to make sure that we are attracting private capital, get the credit markets flowing again, because that’s the lifeblood of the economy.

 What do you think of the President’s speech? Do you think he made a strong case?

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Is Jesse Jackson Still Relevant?

Published by Tanu Henry on Friday, July 11, 2008 at 3:58 pm.

July 11, 2008 – The Rev. Jesse Jackson’s comments that Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) Jesse Jackson“was talking down” to Black folks has critics talking up the demise of the civil rights leader’s long-running power position in the Black community.

Newspaper and television reports asked if the civil rights leader is still relevant, influential and the dominate voice of Black America. Some went so far as to ask whether Jackson’s comments helped the Illinois senator distance himself from the man who walked side by side with the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., and later founded the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition – distance that would give him an advantage among White working-class voters he’s working to woo.

While it’s not really clear what it’s done for Jackson, it is clear what it has done for Obama. The 46-year-old senator already has surpassed President Bill Clinton’s popularity among Black voters and, judging from my readers’ comments, Jackson’s criticism of Obama did not sway his supporters; they were just disappointed he made them.

Take Blogger lsyss’ comments, for instance: “Reverend Jackson and other [B]lacks need to realize that Barack is a politician and not a civil rights leader. It is not his job to solve just African American problems, but America’s problems as a whole.”

…And those of Fahay, who thought the comments were part of a strategy: “Rev. Jackson is quite savvy and experienced with the media. I could be wrong, but nothing said while mic’d is for naught and he knows this. This was picked up, because he wanted it picked up!”

But the reaction to this recent slip of the tongue shows that the Black community can and will embrace “new” leadership.

“This moment only reinforces that we have to let the younger guys take the lead in politics, that they know the issues of today, that we live in a far different world than 20 years ago,” Michel Dukakis told The New York Times [WHEN????]. Dukakis and Jackson competed for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988.

Angelic777 writes in my blog, “Jesse we know it’s hard, bro, not being the chosen one to head up America; it was not your calling. Yours was to keep hope alive; Obama’s is to take us to a much needed change.”

Film producer Spike Lee, may have said it best. “I don’t think his (Jackson’s) comments help anybody; it’s just unfortunate,” Lee told The Associated Press following his participation on a panel at the Television Critics Association in Los Angeles.

Lee, an Obama supporter, predicted his candidate will win in the fall. “When that happens, it will change everything. … You’ll have to measure time by `Before Obama’ and `After Obama.’ It’s an exciting time to be alive now.”

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The Dems Could Have a Nominee This Weekend

Published by Tanu Henry on Friday, May 30, 2008 at 3:30 pm.

Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.)By Pamela Gentry, Senior Political Producer 

Posted May 30, 2008 – This could be it; after Saturday one of the Democratic candidates will be closer to nabbing the nomination.  And if the party’s leadership can prevail, they’re predicting the race between Senators Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) will not drag on to the party convention in August. 

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) predicted on Thursday it will be over on by next week’s end.  During a speech to the Commonwealth Club of California, Reid said, he has consulted Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, (D-Calif.), and they all agree.

Reid went on to say that if neither candidate has clinched the nomination after the Democratic National Committee’s Rules and Bylaws Committee decision about Michigan  and Florida; or after Puerto Rico’s primary; or following Montana’s and South Dakota’s primary, he’ll advise Senate Democrats to step-up and end the contest by taking sides as super-delegates.
But will President Bill Clinton and the former first lady bow out?  There is speculation she’s planning to take her fight to the floor of the convention.  Some of her supporters are already planning protests outside the DNC Rules Committee meeting.  

“I don’t lament this campaign taking as long as it has, but it’s time it ended,” Reid said.
A fight on the convention floor could be the death of the Democratic Party chance to take back the White House for a couple of reasons. First, new young voters attracted to the party might bolt and a prolonged battle could allow the two camps to fester, dig in and create an even bigger divide.

While the Clintons may be more popular with older voters, older voters can’t deliver party strength in the future.  The young folks Obama and Clinton have brought to the dance can’t become disillusioned or loose faith in process.  If they do, the Dems may never see the opportunity to draw them back into the fold.   

The leadership of the Democratic Party is stepping in (they hope) before it’s too late, but “too late” might already be here.  Democrats want to see if they can “unite” and “win” in November; and the only way that will happen is if they can end this primary sooner rather than later. 
Tune in later today as we talk politics on a new on-line web-cast “Today’s Voice.”   The political talk show will look at the week in politics and provide analysis.  I’ll be one of their featured guests today, so check it out at 2 p.m. EST, at

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Jesse Jackson Remembers The Day MLK Died

Published by Tanu Henry on Friday, April 4, 2008 at 11:46 am.

Posted April 3, 2008 – The Rev. Martin Luther King was cut down April 4 when a Jesse Jacksongunshot slammed into his jaw and spine while he stood on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn.

Almost everyone can recall where they were when they learned the news their beloved civil rights leader had been shot.  But the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr., he told me it’s a day he’ll never forget.

“I saw him lying on the balcony in a poll of blood and that scene never leaves my mind,” he recalled. 

Jackson remembers turbulent times surrounding King and the magnitude of the pressures and expectations were taking a toll on the young minister.  He reflected on the genesis of King’s last speech at Mason Temple, Church of God and Christ.

  “That night, he began to talk about walking back through the pages of history, like he was kind of going through a kind of reflection, assessment, projection, Jackson said.
Jackson and the Rev. Ralph Abernathy, King’s lieutenant in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, accompanied him that night.

“I think none of us could have known the level of intensity of the threat that he felt and he knew was taking place from the government, and from other forces,” Jackson said.
King delivered the one of his most memorable speeches: “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop.”
James Earl Ray, a petty criminal and prison escapee was charged with King’s murder. Ray pleaded guilty and died in prison in 1998.

There continues to be speculation about who was responsible for the assassination of King; conspiracy theories continue today.   But Jackson believes so many factors contributed the final act by the gunman that Ray couldn’t have acted alone. 

“Dr. King was the most hated man in America by that time. Our government turned against him, suggesting he was engaged in treason. The [Lyndon] Johnson machinery turned on him; the press turned against him; civil rights leaders were afraid to get close to him.  So he was feeling lots of pain, lots of isolation; so the climate was set,” Jackson told me.

Hear more on the 40th anniversary of King’s death and the conspiracy theories by clicking on the links below.

See the Videos:

MLK’s Death: The Conspiracy Theories
MLK Assassination: What Really Happened

Get More: See Pics and Take the Quiz

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Clinton Wins Again

Published by Tanu Henry on Sunday, January 20, 2008 at 2:18 am.

Sen. Hillary Clinton won Nevada today, her second consecutive win in the Democratic primaries. According to CNN, entrance polls revealed that voters were split by ethnicity,Hillary Clinton age and race but women, who made up 60 percent of voters, put their support behind the New York senator.  Polls also showed that Latinos voted 3-1 for Clinton over Sen. Barack Obama.

Clinton’s win raises tensions as the candidates head to South Carolina where the next primaries will be held. Polls in that state show that Clinton and Obama are neck-to-neck, with an increasing number of Black voters are shifting their support to Obama.

 It’ll be exciting to watch Obama and Clinton face off in the Congressional Black Caucus debates in South Carolina on Monday at 8 p.m. (ET)

 Do you think Obama still stands a chance? Talk about it.

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Clinton Wins

Published by Tanu Henry on Wednesday, January 9, 2008 at 4:09 am.

Here are the numbers:


Clinton 84,776 39% 
Obama 78,242 36    
Edwards 36,446 17    
Richardson 9,926 5    
Kucinich 2,931 1    
Gravel 303 0     

McCain 64,789 37% 
Romney 55,793 32    
Huckabee 19,643 11    
Giuliani 15,037 9    
Paul 13,623 8    
Thompson 2,108 1 

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A Race to the Finish

Published by Tanu Henry on Thursday, January 3, 2008 at 10:13 pm.

DES MOINES (Posted Jan. 3, 2008) – Miles of skywalk in downtown Des Moines help you combat the cold and negotiate your way Vote Republican Signaround the city.  There is a collage of campaign buttons and candidate signs, and a voter enthusiasm for tonight’s caucuses is at a fever pitch.

One of those exuberant folks is Princella Smith, a 24-year-old who proudly sports the campaign of Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s (R ). Smith’s an African-American, a Republican and a native of Arkansas.  She told me that other Blacks should also take a serious look at him too.

“He’s got a lot of executive experience,” Smith said. The American people cannot be bought, and they can’t be fooled. He’s not trying to do either.”

Black folks and the Republican Party have a lot in common, she said, and they should at least consider him as an option.

  “The Republican Party is about ownership, leadership and individualism,” she said. “It talks about a message of improvement, and it’s very in-sync with African-Americans.”

Lori Mordini, from Des Moines, is supporting Delaware Sen. Joe Biden (D).  “I’ve always been impressed; my husband supported him in 1988,”she said.  Mordini went to see other candidates, but she said none came close to Biden.  “He spoke to my heart and gave detailed answers to every question – he brings the audience along.”

When you look at media reports, the race appears to only be about the frontrunners in both parties.  But I discovered, while driving around town, that the neighborhoods are peppered with placards for all of the candidates and that folks are wearing lapel pins for dozens of candidates.

Brendon Davis, 28 is from Washington, D.C.,  and he moved to Iowa for a month to help his candidate, Ron Paul.  Davis said his support for Paul is to protect his generation and his children’s from the reckless ways of Washington.  “Spending is out of control and he’s the only candidate who wants to restore good government and cut spending,” Davis said.

While we’ll have to wait for the results tonight, one thing is for sure: We don’t have a clear picture of who’ll win in either party.  

Do you think Blacks should take a look at more candidates in the Republican field?  Will you?

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Who Won the Democratic Debate?

Published by Tanu Henry on Wednesday, July 25, 2007 at 1:25 pm.

Posted July 24, 2007 – Last night as the Democratic presidential candidates faced off I was wondering if supports were evaluating their performance as well. So I decided to check with members of the Congressional Black Caucus to see how they thought their candidate faired.

Rep. Danny Davis, (D-Ill.) likened Barack Obama’s performance in terms of baseball, telling me, “I think he did well – he didn’t hit a home run – but every time he steps up to the plate he’s a threat.”

Before the debate pundits were speculating Obama was going to be “edgier” – in other words go after his colleague Sen. Hillary Clinton (D – N.Y.).

Davis said, he held his own, “On balance not only did he hold his own, the positions he was willing to take indicates he would be good under fire.”

Rep. Edolphous Towns (D-N.Y.), a Clinton supporter, was pleased with his presidential pick as well. “I thought she did very well and sounded very presidential, and I thought she addressed the question upright and upfront – I’m delighted she’s in the race,” he told me.

Towns said Clinton’s response to leading the country forward set her apart from the others. “I think the things she’s about are the same kinds of thinks I’m about and I feel should happen,” he said.

We’ll get to see them a few more times before anyone has to decided on making a choice, so based on these Davis and Towns evaluation, I’m going to call this one a draw.


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A Muslim, Atheists and the Power of the Other ‘N’-Word

Published by Tanu Henry on Friday, July 20, 2007 at 4:52 pm.

Do you think the congressman crossed the line or do are people over-reacting? Read and post your comments.

 Posted July 20, 2007 – About two weeks ago, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) was speaking Rep. Keith Ellison to a group of atheists at a forum in Minneapolis when he reflected on the attacks of 9/11 as the turning point that opened the door for the U.S. government to enact laws that it otherwise wouldn’t have been able to do.

Addressing a group of atheists is, by itself, enough to evoke public outrage in a nation where “God-fearing” is the label of choice. But Ellison – already the target of skepticism and mistrust by those who find it absurd that a Muslim could be elected to Congress in this post-9/11 era – did nothing to win over his critics when he alluded to the “N”-word in describing the Bush administration’s war in Iraq.

No, the other “N”-word. “Nazis.”

“It’s almost like the Reichstag fire, kind of reminds me of that – after the Reichstag was burned, they blamed the Communists for it and it put the leader of that country in a position where he could basically have authority to do whatever he wanted,” Ellison told the 300 or so members of Atheists for Human Rights.

Ellison was referring to the Reichstag German Parliament building that burned in 1933, an event that Hitler used to justify suspending the German people’s civil liberties. The run-up to the passage of the Patriots Act is a lot like that historic event, said Ellison, a steady critic of the administration.

The ensuing public outrage was prompt and powerful.

Abraham H. Foxman, national director for the Anti-Defamation League, immediately called for Ellison to retract his comments and to apologize to the American people. He issued the following statement:

“Congressman Keith Ellison’s comments, comparing the rise of Nazism in the aftermath of the burning of the Reichstag to the War on Terror in the aftermath of 9/11, is outrageous and offensive to all Americans. Whatever his views may be on the administration’s response to 9/11 and the conduct of the War on Terrorism, likening it to Hitler’s rise to power and Nazism is odious and demeans the victims of 9/11 and the brave American men and women engaged in the War on Terror. Furthermore, it demonstrates a profound lack of understanding about the horrors that Hitler and his Nazi regime perpetrated.”

Seeking to mitigate the political backlash from his remarks, Ellison wrote in a July 13 editorial in The Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune that, “I spoke to constituents about religious tolerance and the erosion of civil liberties in a post 9/11 America. It is precisely in the aftermath of a tragedy like 9/11 that we must be most vigilant about our precious civil liberties. Unfortunately, some have tried to misconstrue my remarks.”

A spokesman in Ellison’s office told me he wasn’t comparing Bush to Hitler and, in an interview with The Associated Press, the congressman said, “In hindsight, I wouldn’t have used that reference point.”

But he didn’t back down on his assessment of the administration’s policy blunders. “Bush and his team seem intent on enlarging his authority and defying those who would challenge him or his administration,” he said.

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