About a dozen Democratic senators said Thursday that neither the Democratic-controlled Senate nor President Barack Obama's White House needs to develop an agenda that specifically addresses issues adversely impacting African-Americans.
With African-American unemployment twice the national average, numerous African-American leaders, economists, voters, commentators and some elected officials have called on the White House and lawmakers to take targeted action to address the problem.
Obama received 96 percent of the African-American vote in 2012 but has rebuffed calls for a targeted approach, saying that he is president of all the people and not one group. The president likes to say "A rising tide lifts all boats," meaning that broad-based programs, such as the health care law, can benefit one group while benefitting the nation as a whole.
Senate Democrats who attended a Capitol Hill round table meeting with African-American journalists Wednesday echoed Obama's sentiment.
"The president wasn't elected to be president of black America, he's president of all America, the same issue you have in Massachusetts with (Gov.) Deval Patrick," said Sen. William "Mo" Cowan, D-Mass., the Senate's lone African-American Democrat. Tim Scott of South Carolina is the Senate's only African-American Republican. "If you're going to govern, you've got to govern for everybody: those who voted for you, who look like you, and those who voted against you."
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