CNN Stories Saturday: State of the Black Union

This Saturday’s top CNN Story, Obama takes heat for skipping State of the Black Union.

This years State of the Black Union forum will play host to a number of famous names as it gets under way in New Orleans, but this year’s event is getting much more attention for who won’t be there, namely Barack Obama.
Senator Hillary Clinton, was the only major democratic presidential candidate to accept an invitation to attend, Barack Obama declined.

And it’s Obama’s absence that’s prompted both controversy and a backlash against Tavis Smiley, the organizer of the event who has openly criticized Obama’s decision.

In a letter to Smiley earlier this month, Obama commended the forum for addressing important issues, but explained he needed to focus on his presidential run ahead of the critical March 4 primaries.

Obama said, “In the final stretch, I will be on the campaign trail every day in states like Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin talking directly with voters about the causes that are at the heart of my campaign and the State of the Black Union forum.”

“That is why, with regret, I am not able to attend the forum.”

Smiley has been vocal about his disapproval of Obama’s decision.

“I think it’s a missed opportunity on Mr. Obama’s part,” Smiley told CNN. “Now, I am not interested in demonizing him for his choice, but I do disagree with it.”

Smiley said he picked New Orleans as the 2008 host city to highlight the continued plight of its residents in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

“We owe it to them, those who survived, those who are still struggling to rebuild their lives,” Smiley said. “We owe it to them to raise these issues louder than ever.”

New Orleans continues to battle problems, including crime and lack of affordable housing. Entire communities still lack hospitals or emergency care.

Obama campaigned in the city before he easily won Louisiana’s Democratic primary on February 9, taking 57 percent of the vote.

But at least one Louisiana lawmaker praised Clinton for being there when the region needed help.

“I don’t support people just because they are black,” said Democratic state Rep. Juan LaFonta.

“I support people because they are qualified and committed to issues that affect my constituent base.”

Does anyone else think maybe Obama cares more about his campaign than the African American community? Maybe Obama should take a lesson from Hillary and put the interests of the people above himself and his campaign.


3 Responses

  1. “Does anyone else think maybe Obama cares more about his campaign than the African American community? Maybe Obama should take a lesson from Hillary and put the interests of the people above himself and his campaign.”

    Are you kidding me? You think that Clinton came because she cares about the black community. She came becasue she is trying to get some of the black votes back. We as black people need to realize that Barack is running for the President of the United States and not just for black people. He can not and should not cator to our needs exclusively.

  2. why is every photo on the news about the Black Forum carrying a photo of Barack when he wasn’t even there?

  3. Blacks need to realize that voting for someone en mass just because they are the same race as you are – is prejudice and discrimination, anyway you dice it.

    Hillary is by far the best candidate and one of the strongest voices in black culture – Maya Angelou said it best when she endorsed Hillary because of her experience, her background, her character, her brilliance, and the fact she has worked for more than 30 years as a public servant to better the lives of blacks, whites, latinos, asians, children, families, women, poor and working class citizens.

    She knows foreign and domestic politics better than any otehr candidate – she has travelled extensively to 83 countries – she stood up to china and the US State Department in Beijing and declared that women’s rights are human rights and did not back down.

    She busted her butt to bring about universal health care – when that was shot down – she busted her butt until the SCHIP act was passed that gave millions of lower income children health insurance.

    If she would have been president – Katrina victims would have been treated with dignity and respect, and help truly would have been there.

    It really irks me that the black community, long friends of Hillary and Bill, have so quickly abandoned ship simply because of Mr. Obama’s race and his charisma – because on credentials and proven leadership ability – there is no comparison.

    there are rumors in Texas that republicans are voting in the democratic primary for obama – my question – why would they??? the same republicans who are claiming to vote for Mccain in November. Why would Republicans think they will have an easier time winning against Obama than against ?? because up to now they have been almost praising Obama – if he wins the nomination, i guarantee the republicans will come out fighting – knocking Obama for his weak spots – like inexperience.

    Hillary has won all the major states except 1 – California Florida New York – and soon to be Texas and Ohio. She has the won the states where democrats need to win to gain the presidency.

    Obama has won mostly “red” states … and smaller states. they are pretty close in the delegate count – and yet the media keeps harping on Obama…

    As a woman – I was sadden and disgusted that Farrahkan was a mentor of Obama and speaks so highly of him – when Farrahkan’s politics are very very oppressive to women – and yet i do not see the black women shooting out – what is this??? Oprah who talks up a real impressive feminist line has made Obama into a rock star – too bad that’s not what we need right now. our troubled country needs a proven leader with proven brains, balls and savvy to tackle the biggest of our issues.

    Obama needs to gain more experience before he will be ready to face off with leaders of other nations – This is Hillary’s time and she is ready to lead on day 1.

    why would they

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