Tavis Smiley: Obama must do more to live up to King's ideals
President Obama might have a bust of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in the Oval Office, but PBS commentator Tavis Smiley said what the president does in terms of policy is far more important than honoring the slain civil rights leader in the White House.
"I think putting the bust of King in the Oval Office instead of Winston Churchill was a nice trade-off," Smiley said. "I celebrate that, but it is more than just having the bust in the Oval Office: It is really about living up to the ideals that King stood for, getting us out of these wars that we are engaged in."
Smiley's comments came hours before his scheduled "America's Next Chapter" town hall meeting at George Washington University, where a panel of leaders and media personalities will discuss the president's agenda at the midpoint of his White House tenure.
Panelists include Princeton University Professor Cornel West; David Frum, former speechwriter for President George W. Bush; Maria Bartiromo, anchor of CNBC's "Closing Bell"; Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post; and Maria Teresa Kumar, executive director and co-founder of Voto Latino.
Since Obama was sworn in, Smiley has been one of the president's loudest critics, and on the eve of the 25th anniversary of the King holiday, that isn't changing.
"If we are going to be true to anything, we ought to be true to what King's ideals were all about," Smiley said. "Justice for all, service to others and a love that liberates people, not just for Wall street ... not just for the rich, the lucky and the elite, but for everyday people."
Hamil R. Harris
| January 13, 2011; 2:41 PM ET
Categories: 44 The Obama Presidency, Ethics
Save & Share: Previous: House to resume work on health-care repeal next week
Next: Gibbs spars with Russian journalist who ties Tucson shootings to U.S. freedoms
Posted by: quavaduff | January 16, 2011 2:55 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: quavaduff | January 16, 2011 2:47 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: bkc2145 | January 16, 2011 1:49 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: bkc2145 | January 16, 2011 1:46 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: oakiedokie1 | January 16, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: mrgrbrad2 | January 15, 2011 8:52 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: jan281965 | January 14, 2011 10:50 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: fairnsquare | January 13, 2011 8:21 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: fredyt3 | January 13, 2011 6:12 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: fredyt3 | January 13, 2011 6:10 PM | Report abuse