On September 10, 2011 NBC Nightly News anchor and managing editor Brian Williams sat down with President Barack Obama to discuss the issues of unemployment and poverty. Williams asked Obama about African-American sentiment towards the unemployment rate and whether or not he has been negligent about their concerns. Obama simply responded, “The most important poverty program is a job.” Obama also states that he doesn’t think it is his job as president of the United States to target specific segments of the population. His goal is to pull America together to solve its problems. “My job is to be the president of the United States. My job is not to be a pundit or a columnist,” he said.
BRIAN WILLIAMS: I want to ask you about African Americans. I’m hearing and reading from many, and not just Mr. Smiley and Professor West, who say you’ve exhibited to them what they see as a mystifying silence on the especially crippling unemployment rate, poverty, and especially where young African American males are concerned in our urban area.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: The most important poverty program is a job. And so what we talked about on Thursday will help most directly those who have the highest unemployment rate: African Americans, Latinos, rural communities, young people. And so, you know, if, if you look at everything we’ve done for the last three years, my entire focus has been providing ladders of opportunity for people so that they can make it. And by definition, that means that communities that are hurtin’ more are gonna get more help.
But you know, the, I don’t think of my job as president of the United States as looking at different segments of the population. I think about how do I pull all of America together to solve problems. And in some cases, for example in the American Jobs Act, we’re specifically targeting, targeting disadvantaged youth, we’re specifically targeting the long-term unemployed. There are a number of programs that we’ve initiated over the last two and a half years that are having a direct impact in the cities, and in rural communities that are under-served.
But, you know, I, the vast majority of African Americans, the vast majority of Latinos, are experiencing the same problems that everybody else is experiencing, just more of it. And the most important thing I can do is to grow this overall economy, drive the overall unemployment rate down, because if I’m doing that, then those folks who are out of work are gonna have the best possible opportunity to get a job.
BRIAN WILLIAMS: So you don’t see yourself as being in a special role to deliver a special message?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: My job is to be the president of the United States. My job is not to, to be a pundit, or a columnist.
_Watch the full interview on NBC Nightly News tonight at 6:30pm EST._