Patt Morrison

<em>Patt Morrison</em> is known for its innovative discussions of local politics and culture, as well as its presentation of the effects of national and world news on Southern California. Hosted by

What Obama says to African-American voters and how he says it

by Patt Morrison

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U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a statement in the East Room of the White House July 9, 2012 in Washington, DC. Alex Wong/Getty Images

African-American voters remain a key voting block for President Obama. After failing to appear in person to address the NAACP conference earlier this month, the president was warmly greeted before his speech at the Urban League last night in New Orleans.

In his speech, he announced the new White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African-Americans. The president also came close to admonishing black students for not working as hard as their Indian and Chinese counterparts.

Despite the sometimes strongly-worded speech, the president enjoyed an enthusiastic reception from the mostly black audience.


- Does the president face diminishing enthusiasm and support from black voters with the black middle class suffering huge economic setbacks?

- Will black voter turnout decide key swing states like Pennsylvania?

- Does the president still face questions of being “authentically black” enough? Does the manner and tone in which he addresses black audiences - such as the Urban League - have an influence on this perception? Does the president still risk alienating other key voting blocs by sounding “too black?”

- Will new, tougher voter ID laws in some states diminish the impact of black voters?


Dr. Franklin Gilliam, dean of the UCLA School of Public Affairs and Professor of Public Policy and Political Science.

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