Obama makes surprise appearance at black media panel

REPORTER'S NOTEBOOK - This was a President Obama like the one the country saw during the campaign to push the health care bill. Confident, committed, visible, and focused on message...

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

Yesterday Interactive One and theGrio in concert with the White House conducted a Senior Administration panel designed to engage the Internet community around President Obama’s job bill.

The panel consisted of Melody Barnes, Director of the Domestic Policy Council, Shaun Donovan, U.S. Secretary for Housing and Urban Development, Marie Johns, Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, Ambassador Ron Kirk, U.S. Trade Representative and was introduced by Valerie Jarrett, Senior White House advisor for Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs.

The Interactive One outlets, which included TheGrio, News One, Hello Beautiful, Black Planet, and The Urban Daily, all received questions for the panel from readers. Nearly 150 people were also apart of the live audience that joined the discussion in the South Court Auditorium, 
 of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

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Most readers and Twitter followers who engaged the panel were interested in the Administrations efforts to encourage job growth and the future of the president’s job bill. Despite the 40-minute time slot allotted for questions, the panel skillfully presented responses from their individual vantage points to highlight the work of the administration.

Secretary Donovan, who attended the Cleveland job summit sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus addressed the fact that African-Americans more than others had been affected by the foreclosure crisis. “We are committed to ensuring that FHA continues to provide opportunities to Americans that want to maintain the dream of homeownership”. Other officials spoke to the expanded work of the Small Business Administration and the focus on entrepreneurship as well as the effort to expand unemployment benefits.

But the jobs bill took center stage along with the cheapest online college presented soon after, as many in the audience and on line wanted to know how the bill would actually help provide support to the unemployed and create an environment that encouraged job growth. When asked if the president and the administration would continue to play nice with a Republican party that clearly does not only refuse to compromise, but in many cases has been disrespectful. Melody Barnes stated that the best person to answer that question was the president.
At which time she introduced President Obama to an audience and panel that had no idea he would be in attendance. He outlined the merits of the bill and reiterated that it was already paid for. But the focus of his remarks was on the American people supporting his vision through the legislation.

He then challenged congress. “Either Congress gets it done or if Congress doesn’t get it done, people know exactly what’s holding it up. And we’re able to continue to apply pressure so we can actually do what’s right for the country.”

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This was a President Obama like the one the country saw during the campaign to push the health care bill. Confident, committed, visible, and focused on message. While the president has been focused on his agenda, despite many critics, this President Obama is ready for battle.

Lets hope that the people who claim to support him let their Democratic and GOP representative alike know how they feel. It is no secret that without real pressure from the American people to support this bill they will do what they have continued to…nothing…in the name of opposition, not progress.