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Bush Says He Included CBC Issues In Speech by Roland S. Martin


As President George W. Bush left the House chamber Thursday night, after delivering his State of the Union Address, he told Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Illinois) that he included in his speech some of the issues advocated by the Congressional Black Caucus.

Rush was one of 43 members of the CBC who met with Bush at the White House last week, where the caucus laid out a six-point plan that they will advocate on Capitol Hill.

Among those issues discussed, Bush touted in his speech plans to focus on community college initiatives, increased funding for AIDS in minority communities, and dealing with at-risk youths.

“He whispered to me, ‘That was a good meeting we had (last week). You see I included some of your issues and concern into this speech tonight,’” Rush told the Chicago Defender.

Rush said he was a bit taken aback by Bush’s comments.

“I was grateful that he said that,” Rush said. “I thought that he listened somewhat to the concerns. He didn’t have a lot to say; he didn’t respond. But we asked him to include some of our concerns in his address and he wove some of it in what he had to say. Whether or not he’s going to make a commitment to put some of these initiatives into the budget, we’ll have to wait and see.”

While Rush was optimistic about working with the president on the issues mentioned, Rep. Danny Davis, (D-Illinois), was a bit more harsh in his assessment of the address.

“It was somewhat disconcerting and actually frightening, especially from a domestic standpoint,” Davis said. “It seems to me that there was a clear attack on social security. We don’t know exactly how it’s going to come, but we know it’s there. It was frightening for me to hear the president say we’re going to cut 150 programs that were not working. I don’t know what those programs are, but I have a strong feeling that they are programs that are very basic to the survival of low-income, poor and disadvantaged people.”

Davis said Bush discussed at length on the Middle East, but “I didn’t hear much about Africa; I didn’t hear much about the Caribbean.”

Sen. Barack Obama, (D-Illinois) said Bush offered broad outlines and little specifics to many of his proposals, adding that the president didn’t have the same level of passion for domestic issues as he did foreign. “There wasn’t a lot of enthusiasm from the president to borrow $2 trillion to invest in the stock market and risk the stability of the Social Security system,” he told the Defender. “I was encouraged by the president’s willingness to raise the issue of how we can keep our young men out of jail and encourage the programs at the local level that creates DNA testing that may free innocent men and women from prison.


Roland S. Martin is executive editor of the Chicago Defender. His columns are syndicated nationwide by Creators Syndicate. Martin is also author of “Speak, Brother! A Black Man’s View of America.” He can be reached at rmartin@chicagodefender.com and (312) 961-6890.

This article was originally published in The Chicago Defender and also appears on Black Press USA


Roland S. Martin

Monday, February 7, 2005

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