Black leaders compared Republicans to the Dixiecrats yesterday in a meeting with President Obama in the White House.
Rev. Al Sharpton speaks to the media after meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama and discussing the economy in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, February 10, 2010. (REUTERS/Larry Downing)
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Obama yesterday won over skeptical African-American leaders who agreed to join his effort to get Congress to pass a jobs bill.
At times, black leaders have criticized Obama for failing to address their community’s hardships, but they insisted they put all that aside yesterday.
“I think he feels the gravity of the problem, and not exclusively as an African-American problem but as a problem for all people out of work. We need a jobs bill,” said the Rev. Al Sharpton, who braved the blizzard here to attend the Oval Office session.
NAACP President Benjamin Jealous compared Senate Republicans with the Dixiecrats who 40 years ago blocked civil rights legislation. “If the Senate Republicans want to kind of keep on using tactics … from the last century that were used against black people in this century, against working people, then we’re going to hold them to account,” he said.
Sharpton noted unemployment has hit African-Americans harder, but said the meeting was not a gripe session to complain that Obama has forgotten his own.
“He’s focused on lifting everybody equally. There’s not going to be an African-American jobs bill,” Sharpton said.