West and Smiley Take on Obama With Bus Tour

July 23, 2011  |  

(AP) — Black activists Cornel West and Tavis Smiley are planning a 15-city “Poverty Tour” to bring attention to the needy and to what they say are the failings of President Barack Obama.  West, a Princeton University professor, and Smiley, host of a PBS talk show, expect to begin the bus trip Aug. 5 at a Native American reservation in Wisconsin. With visits to soup kitchens, housing projects, farms, families and low-wage workers, they say they hope to create momentum for large-scale job creation programs and put poverty on the 2012 election agenda.  Smiley said that as budgets are cut in Washington, “poor people are being rendered invisible.” Obama and Congress must pay more attention, he said.  “It’s not just about the president,” Smiley said. “Having said this, it would be nice to hear the president say the word ‘poor.’ To say the word ‘poverty.’ We get conversations about the middle class. Well, the new poor are the former middle class. But we can’t get this president or any leaders to say the words ‘poor’ or ‘poverty,’ much less do anything about it.”

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