WASHINGTON - A member of the Project 21 black leadership network says President Obama "has a lot of nerve" soliciting aid from black Americans only after his reputation with the rest of America has soured.
The charge, from Project 21's Kevin Martin, comes following Barack Obama's partisan appeal this weekend to the Congressional Black Caucus, asking CBC members to "guard the change."
"President Obama has a lot of nerve coming back to black America for support now," says Martin. "I have no doubt his policies are what is prolonging this recession that is hitting blacks especially hard. And yet it's only now when he appeals to us to come to his aid -- when his back is against the wall? I don't think so!"
In a September 18 speech at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's Annual Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C., Obama reached out specifically to blacks to safeguard his increasingly unpopular policies, saying: "I need everybody here to go back to your neighborhoods, and your workplaces, to your churches, and barbershops, and beauty shops. Tell them we have more work to do. Tell them we can't wait to organize. Tell them that the time for action is now." The speech capped a week of minority outreach by the White House that included appearances on the Tom Joyner radio show and a speech to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
Playing the race card during the speech, Obama claimed "the other side... want to take us backward."
Project 21's Martin added: "In the past, President Obama demanded we hold others accountable for their actions. He still does so, including on Saturday night when he once again said the Bush Administration drove the nation's economic car into the ditch and he won't give the keys back to conservatives in Congress. But Obama drove that car from the ditch into a lake, and alienated a majority of Americans with his brand of politics in the process. Now he wants to jump behind his blackness and use the rest of us as a shield against the accountability he's demanded of others."
"If President Obama is so confident in his vision to move the nation forward," noted Martin, "he would not have to employ black Americans as his shock troops, dividing America so he and his progressive friends can retain power."
Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives since 1992, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research