(Washington Post) — From the start of his history-making tenure, the nation’s first black president took care never to be seen making policy or political decisions aimed solely or directly at black America. His position: He is the president of the whole country, focused on broad-based fixes to “lift all boats.” The race-avoidance strategy served President Obama well, helping him attract support from many whites while also mobilizing African Americans energized by the powerful symbol of a black commander in chief. But a soaring jobless rate among African Americans and a newfound comfort by black lawmakers to criticize Obama’s economic policies are prompting the White House to recalibrate — and to focus more directly on the struggles of black America. The shift comes amid a growing concern among some Democrats that the stubborn economic conditions in minority communities might hamper efforts by Obama’s reelection campaign to generate the large black voter turnout it needs in key cities to make up for his declining support among white independents.
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