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President Obama Says Education is 'Civil Rights Issue of Our Time' at Al Sharpton's Nat'l Convention


Three cheers for school vouchers? Not quite.

Yesterday--or, actually, very, very early this morning--The Blaze noted that President Barack Obama would court black voters cautiously at Rev. Al Sharpton's national convention in New York City today. And the president seemed to do just that, focusing on education and energy issues during his evening speech.

President Obama told Sharpton's civil rights group that his administration has more work to do to create opportunities for all Americans and close gaps in education and employment rates between different groups.

The president said Americans of all types are struggling to make good. But he also said the black community faces higher unemployment than other groups. And he said the poorest in society had to sacrifice the most during the recession.

The president made his comments Wednesday before the Rev. Al Sharpton's civil rights group in New York City, making good on a promise he made as a presidential candidate to return there.

Obama spoke about making education more accessible and affordable, calling it the "civil rights issue of our time."

Education is another item on Obama's competitiveness agenda. That issue was to be the focus of a speech he was giving later Wednesday to the Rev. Al Sharpton's civil rights group in New York City. Obama's appearance keeps a promise he made to the National Action Network when he spoke there as a presidential candidate in 2007. Obama pledged to return, win or lose.

He returns just two days after launching his re-election bid. He is facing a key constituency that at times has scolded him for not being attentive enough to certain issues, such as double-digit black unemployment, but continues to hold him in high regard.

Obama deflects such criticism by arguing that his polices to expand the economy, create jobs and improve the education system, among other goals, will help the country as a whole, blacks included.

Ninety-five percent of blacks who voted, opted for Obama in 2008. A Gallup poll released last week showed his job approval among blacks holding at 84 percent, about the same as six months earlier.

The AP contributed to this report. Read the full story here.

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