Obama Continues Outreach With Message to Black Newspapers

Mary C. Curtis, AOL News, October 19, 2010

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{snip} As Democrats in close races distance themselves from the president and policies such as health care and the stimulus bill that are unpopular among voters on the fence, they risk demoralizing voters who approve of those initiatives and want to see the government continue to address their concerns. Those same voters could make the difference in key contests but not if they stay home.

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The president cited the money being spent on “negative ads from independent, undisclosed organizations run by Republican operatives,” a recent theme in campaign speeches. And, he said, “Democrats are going to be far less likely to cut education spending,” needed, for example, to improve low-performing schools.

The national unemployment rate of 9.6 percent rises to 16 percent for African-Americans and is even higher for teenagers. Yet black voters don’t blame the president, and give him an approval rating double that of Americans overall. Not having the president on the ballot could hurt turnout, particularly if Democratic candidates are running as fast as they can away from economic policies that are seen as providing some relief in areas such as job creation.

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At the end of the discussion, Obama urged the journalists to tell their readers “the president of United States specifically asked them to turn out to the polls.” It’s not a “partisan” thing, he said. “Folks should make up their own mind.” Just “take a look at who they think best serves their interests.”

Though the majority of African-American voters don’t seem to buy the GOP message, it’s not certain that Democrats and the president have closed the deal.

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