08/10/2011 12:23 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Cornel West & Tavis Smiley on Obama: "Many of Us Are Exploring Other Possibilities in Coming Election"

On Democracy Now!, veteran journalist Tavis Smiley and Princeton University Professor Cornel West offer a stinging critique of President Barack Obama and discuss the upcoming 2012 elections.

"He's rightly associated much more with the oligarchs than with poor people," says West.

Adds Smiley, "I don't think the President would be hurt, necessarily--the country certainly would not be hurt--by a primary challenge that would refocus him on what really matters. It would refocus him on what's happening to too many people in this country. It would refocus him on a more progressive agenda."

Smiley and West are in the midst of a 15-city, cross-country trek they have dubbed "The Poverty Tour: A Call to Conscience." The tour comes on the heels of last week's deficit agreement, which has been widely criticized for excluding a tax hike on the wealthy, as well as any measures to tackle high unemployment.

"Any legislation that doesn't extend unemployment benefits, doesn't close a single corporate loophole, doesn't raise one cent in terms of new revenue in terms of taxes on the rich or the lucky, allows corporate America to get away scot-free again--the banks, Wall Street getting away again--and all these cuts ostensibly on the backs of everyday people," says Smiley.

Click here to watch the extended interview with Tavis Smiley and Cornel West on Democracy Now!

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