Monday, October 18, 2004
The Congressional Black Caucus' Unwelcome March on the White House
Most folks know that I am a strong supporter of Rep. Jan Schakowsky. She understands and empowers grassroots activism in her district without ever feeling threatened like many other politicians. The result? She continues to increase her margin of victory in each election, plus has created an environment where progressive advocacy flourishes and spreads outside her district. If only other Democratic safe seaters worked like her, we would take back state legislative seats all over the country.
Anyway, enough of my Jan praise... Here is a story I heard her tell multiple times about the "meeting" Bush had with the Congressional Black Caucus in the White House.
The Black Caucus (plus Jan, as one of the minority leaders) literally marched on the White House and demanded to see the President over the crisis in Haiti. The White House said the President was busy and could not see them. Not to be deterred, the CBC+JS protested and said they were "not leaving until the President saw them."Was Kerry right in spirit to say that Bush had not meet with the Congressional Black Caucus? I'll let you be the judge.
At some point, the White House decided they just might be serious and sent Condi Rice out to talk to the group. (My thoughts: I can just see it, Andre Card must have said, hey grab one of "our" African-American folks to come out and talk to them. They'll be able to understand them.) Anyway, after a cordial meeting, the CBC+JS said thanks, but we aren't leaving until "we see the President."
After more confusion in the White House, they decided to send Colin Powell out. (My thoughts: no commentary needed) Again a cordial meeting with the CBC+JS saying thanks, but we aren't leaving until "we see the President."
To finish the story, finally they pressured the President into coming out and having a quick meeting with them. Jan, obviously didn't get into the details of the meeting, but this was the meeting where the funny Obama incident quoted in several other blogs and newspapers occurred.
For those who don't know this story, it happens after the meeting when Bush was shaking hands with the CBC+JS. He looked at Jan's Obama button and stepped back in horror. Jan figured out after a second that Bush thought her button said, "Osama." She stepped forward to the President and stated, "Obama, Mr. President. Barak Obama, he is running for Senate in Illinois." To which Bush mumbled something to the effect of "I don't know him" with Jan wittily responding, "Oh, you will soon Mr. President. You will soon."