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Monday, July 14, 2008

Obama Stands Up to Jesse: Doesn't Tone Down Rhetoric

Barack Obama spoke to the NAACP convention tonight in Cincinnati, Ohio and did nothing to change his message to the African American community despite Jesse Jackson's admonition that Obama was talking down to black people. From the AP:

Democrat Barack Obama received a prideful welcome from the annual NAACP convention Monday night, but in a stirring speech to the nation's oldest civil rights organization, he nonetheless insisted blacks must show greater responsibility for improving their own lives.

The man who could become the first black president urged Washington to provide more education and economic assistance. He called on corporate America to exercise greater social responsibility. But he also received his most lusty applause as he urged blacks to demand more of themselves.

"If we're serious about reclaiming that dream, we have to do more in our own lives. There's nothing wrong with saying that," Obama told a crowd estimated at 3,000. "But with providing the guidance our children need, turning off the TV set and putting away the video games; attending those parent-teacher conferences, helping our children with their homework, setting a good example. That's what everybody's got to do."

He added: "I know some say I've been too tough on folks talking about responsibility. NAACP, I'm here to report, I'm not going to stop talking about it. Because as much I'm out there to fight to make sure that government's doing its job and the marketplace is doing its job, ... none of it will make a difference — at least not enough of a difference — if we also don't at the same time seize more responsibility in our own lives."

Amid building cheers, Obama declared: "When we are taking care of our own stuff, then a lot of other folks are going to be interested in joining up and working with us and taking care of America's stuff. We can lead by example, as we did in the civil rights movement. Because the problems that plague our community are not unique to us. We just have them a little worse, but they're not unique to us."

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