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Obama's Speech To CBC A Call To Arms, Not A Calling Out: White House Spokesman

Obama Congressional Black Caucus Speech

First Posted: 09/27/11 05:56 PM ET Updated: 11/27/11 05:12 AM ET

Over the weekend, President Barack Obama's speech before a gathering of the Congressional Black Caucus, in which he called on supporters to "put on your marching shoes" and stop "grumbling," has ruffled a few feathers. Some called the president's blunt talk patronizing and condescending in the face of staggering unemployment rates, rising poverty and vanishing wealth among blacks.

Rep. Maxine Waters, perhaps the most vocal of the president's Democratic critics, said she found the address "a bit curious" in that he did not address Hispanics, gays or Jews in such a direct manner.

But a White House spokesman this afternoon told The Huffington Post's Black Voices that the president is too focused on job creation and moving the country forward to be "distracted by critics."

"I think at the end of the day, the president is familiar with criticism," said Kevin Lewis, a White House spokesman. "It is nothing new to him. And I think the president's remarks are being mischaracterized. I think what the president was saying was that he's fighting for a lot of the folks that were in that room and fighting for the American people and calling on not only the CBC but lawmakers and folks who are in the room and across the country to join him.”

The sound bites, Lewis said, that have been looped on cable news shows and quoted in news stories do not do the speech justice. To take only last couple of lines from a 25-minute speech and mistake their style for the speech's content is a missed opportunity to talk about the substance of the American Jobs Act and how it might affect the most vulnerable Americans, a vast majority of whom are undoubtedly black.

To that end, Lewis urged people not to rely on said sound bites and read (or watch on the White House's Youtube channel) the entire speech.

So, here you go. The full transcript of the president's speech, as provided by the White House, follows on the next page.


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