Washington — The thorny intersection of race and the economy topped the political agenda Wednesday as President Obama huddled with key African-American leaders at the White House.
Obama held what has been dubbed an “urban economy summit” in the Oval Office with a group including the Rev. Al Sharpton, NAACP President Benjamin Jealous, and National Urban League President Marc Morial.
National Council of Negro Women Chairwoman Dorothy Height, who is 97 years old, declined an invitation to attend due to the winter storm pounding the Washington area.
Behind The Scenes At The White House
The group urged Obama to spend money initially reserved for bank bailouts on areas suffering from chronically high unemployment, according to sources familiar with the attendees’ plans.
The investments should be “place-based rather than race-based,” Jealous said.
The nation’s first African-American president remains extremely popular among black voters. A number of African-American leaders, however, are increasingly upset with what they perceive as the federal government’s inattention to the needs of economically hard-hit minority communities.