Obama on the Line: President Reaches Out to Latino and African American Radio
By Krissah Thompson
As President Obama has traveled the country talking up his plans to boost the economy, he's also made a point of reaching out to two constituencies that rallied behind his candidacy, calling in to radio programs popular with Latinos and African Americans.
"Nothing's more powerful than radio in terms of reaching the grass roots," he told Warren Ballentine, who hosts a syndicated show on black talk radio networks, today. And he also called in for a conversation with Eddie "Piolín" Sotelo, the popular host of widely syndicated Spanish-language morning program "Piolin por la Manana," who pressed Obama on the issue of immigration.
"Politically it's going to be tough. It's probably tougher now than it was partly because of the fact the economy has been getting worse," Obama warned Sotelo.
"What I've got to do is I've got to focus on the economy," Obama continued. "I've got to focus on housing to make sure people feel a little bit more secure and at the same time get the various immigrants' rights groups together and have them begin providing some advice in terms of what strategies we're going to pursue in Congress."
Asked about the high African American unemployment rate by Ballantine, Obama said the economic stimulus is designed to save or create three million jobs.
"Part of what we also want to do though is train people to get some of these new jobs," Obama said. "For example, we want to weatherize a million homes around the county to cut people's energy bills. So, I want to train some of these young people who are standing on street corners or are about to drop out of high school so that they can do some of this work."
Both radio hosts gushed a bit, played applause tracks for Obama -- and asked for invitations to the White House.
Posted at 7:49 PM ET on Feb 18, 2009
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