Barack Obama speaks to UNITY Journalists of Color Convention [RAW NOTES]

This is a reporter's notebook in the real sense-- raw notes, to be turned into an article next time I have Internet.


[Basic impressions:  I wish Chicago community had been invited in-- tacked on after most people had booked flights, the room was not full and less interested.  I was disturbed he felt the need to emphasize the re-invade Afghanistan idea into a full-fledged platform plank it seemed.  And very impressed that he talked essentially about universal policies with a disproportionate racial impact, in sociological terms, and doing what is right for everyone to make up for the blatant screwing of some groups, in layman's terms (he put it better) -- but why can't he bring that up, without prompting, at an event like this?  To be fair it was all interview / Q&A format. ]








First appearance in U.S. after overseas trip


repeated invitations to McCain but unable to attend due to scheduling c


'not express your political views'



not enough sleep


camera shot from behind



highlights from the trip


Our troops are doing extraordinary work


[Fia points out: wearing his flag pin]


violence is down in Iraq

work of our troops has 

Al Quaeda marginalized in Sunni areas

Shia militias have stood down

setting timeline


in Afghanistan though things are worsening

nine killed in [attack on US base?]

combination of drug trafficking


need more troops in Afghanistan

need more cooperation from Pakistan 


world [is waiting for]

sustained American engagement



[Just like Ted Rall says, he speaks very slowly off-the-cuff]


lack of energy [security] here at home and [uncoordinated policy at home]


Need more effective partnerships with our allies and others overseas

and they are ready for it


while I was travelling

I am glad we have finally passed the housing bill





[my impression is that it's largely a bailout of the big banks?]


Economy has worsened enough that we need a


call my economic team togother, Buffut, Rubin


and structural problems


they came to greet me at the airport

which never happens

usually I have to beg to


3 1/2 years ago were 





8 days overseas doesn't make anyone a foreign policy expert



if you ask the people I talked with they think I am 


make certain we project ourselves on teh world stage with a sense of humility, a sense we are listening to others



is there an are that's a priority for you?

We have to get Afghanistan right

training camps just inside Pakistan border

those folks are in a position to plot how to kill Americans


get entire world united


big carrots and big sticks to present to the Iranians

we cannot afford a nuclear arms race in the Middle East


danger of nuclear proliferation including to non-state actors



During the election you criticized 


commander in chief has to be willing to acknowledge errors in judgement


i have not heard anyone ask John McCain if he thinks his 


what are the strategic 


I strongly believe the


distracted us from finishing the job in Afghanistan


I do believe that putting more troops in there helped to 


I continue to believe that the only way to stabilize the situation in Iraq


any time you put 20-30,000 U.S. troops anywhere in the world, they will 


the question is whether that military action alone will be enough


if there was still a civil war, military solutions would not have been sufficient


job our troops did great work

and terrific tactical work by General Petraus and 



timeline for redeployment

I think my timeline is still realistic



We can't keep spending $10B a month in Iraq


including taking care of veterants



WQ: the audacity - president of the world


I basically met with the same folks John McCain did 




that's part of the job I'm applying for




I admit we did it really well




I don't know the political effect of this

people are worried about gas prices, job security, their retirement fund as the stock market goes down


I don't think a week oversees translates into higher poll numbers in the United States


but as far as me being an effective president, [important] established relationships and level of trust




questions from journalists


Ryan Boll (?), 

Australian minister apologized for 

[applause, but held a bit because 


Personally I want to see the tragic elements of our history acknowledged 


Native Americans

as well as other persons of 


sad and difficult things to account for


what an official apology would look like and how it would be shaped



as sovereign nations they have a whole host of other issues


said to tribal leaders, i want to set up an annual meeting


I've consistently believed that 







that I think is the best strategy


dealing with the legacy of discrimination is going to cost billions of dollars


we aren't going to have that kind of resource allocation


how do we get every child to learn

health care




if everyone has health care, that disproportionately


every child able to go 


often times our children who cannot afford to go to college



chairwoman -  Immigration - almost as many % as historic high a century ago

should we have more or less, and where should people come from?



We are a nation 


Europeans have the opposite problem-- because they don't have a history of assimilating 


people want to come, that's all good


the problem is when we have the legal immigration system running in parallel with illegal immigration system


cracking down on 


serious border security


pathway to citizenship to those here, put down works

pay fine, learn English, go to the back of the line -- 


legal system with a realistic approach

10 year waiting lists for family reunification pushes people to illegal


where are various immigrants coming from?


underrepresented - much harder for Asians


we keep on jacking up the cost of immigration, and that skews it so it is harder for ambitious


and makes it much easier for Mick Jagger to immigrate

and i'm not sure that's the kind of system


[Junior ] 

do you feel you have gone too far 

answering these questions without challenging the inherent



this is a classic example of a no-win situation


I have


[me: say them again]


I just don't like the idea of someone falsely identifying my religion

if you are Muslim and someone falsely identified you as a Christian you would want it corrected


I think your 


I talked about discrimination against Arab Americans in 2004


[actually, Bush did-- the one decent thing I recall]


I would like to be treated as other candidates 

in terms of my record, I have been at the forefront of fights against


QM: No win follow-up.  Do you think you could have come this far if you were a Muslim?


Americans more open-minded and tolerant than pundits give them credit for?  I think if p


"I think I will have their support" 


[I?  question was for a Muslim]


QA:  Affirmative action

Ward Connelly


if the U.S.


Look:  I am a strong supporter of affirmative action when appropriately structured.


Not just a quota-- taking into account hardships and difficulties

and speaks to the value of diversity


I've also said that affirmative action is not going to be the long-term solution to the problem of race in America


if you have 50% of African American

[where is it that high?]


Affirmative action has been [used] as a short cut

and make sure some of our children who are advantaged are not put ahead of a white kid who has struggled more


a university should be able to take into account race, but also class and hardship


I am disappointed that John McCain flipped 

in the past he had opposed as divisive

and he is right

designed to drive a wedge between people

one of our greatest strengths is we come from so many different places yet they are still Americans


Iraquis and Afghans impressed with our military


main commanding officer now in Iraq is an African American


we should not either lose that or see that as a source of division

source of pride

and affirmative action can be part of that



are you 'black enough'?


now I'm too black




It does point--  there is this sense of going back and forth

work as hard as we can around 

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Student-on-hold, ex-stocker and failed union agitator, ex-white-collar consultant and now co-founder and developer at Agaric Design Collective, making web sites with open source free software.

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