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Tavis to Michelle Obama: Thanks, But No Thanks

Michelle Obama, (left), and Tavis Smiley, (right)

Michelle Obama, (left), and Tavis Smiley, (right) Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Getty Images

Radio host Tavis Smiley says Michelle Obama is persona non grata at his State of the Black Union being held next week. Smiley initially invited Barack Obama to attend the symposium; but Barack, who is busy campaigning, regretfully declined and offered to send his wife, Michelle in his place.

Here's an excerpt of Barack Obama's letter to Smiley:

In the final stretch, I will be on the campaign trail everyday in states like Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin talking directly with voters about the causes that are at the heart of my campaign and the State of the Black Union forum such as affordable healthcare, housing, economic opportunity, civil rights and foreign policy. I am committed to touching every voter, and working to earn their vote.

That is why with regret, I am not able to attend the forum. I understand that you have declined the campaign's request to have Michelle Obama speak on my behalf. I ask that you reconsider. Michelle is a powerful voice for the type of real change America is hungry for. No one knows my record or my passion for leading America in a new direction more than Michelle Obama.

According to this letter — and radio host and columnist Roland Martin — Tavis turned down the offer of having Michelle attend. Read more of Roland's take on it, and listen to Michelle Obama talk to radio host Michael Baisden about this issue.

Should Barack Obama attend this event? Or is Tavis Smiley being irrational?

Comments

 

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Michelle's remarks about the situation are extremely respectful and gracious. Michelle is an excellent speaker and representative; Tavis should accept the offer to have her appear--no question about it.

Sent by Celeste W. | 8:36 PM | 2-14-2008

Mr. Obama is showing how a shrewd a politician he truly is. he has already made significant inroads with the black community regardless of socio economic position. he must now focus on the other people that make up this great country. he no doubt cares about the state of the black union but he must now focus on becoming the leader of "the Union."

Sent by james | 8:54 PM | 2-14-2008

I'd say Mr. Smiley is overreacting, as some of his guests at the event have previously. Senator Obama is running for President; he's a little busy. Just because Barack is African American does not mean he is obliged to attend every event hosted by other leaders from the community. I understand where Tavis is coming from, but I think he's wrong on this one.

Sent by Steve Collins, Ann Arbor, MI | 9:06 PM | 2-14-2008

I am very disappointed in Tavis Smiley. Senator Obama must reach out to everyone and not allow himself to be the black candidate with a narrow focus. He must have a broad appeal that includes all. Otherwise he will lose the majority vote that he needs. Tavis's approach is not strategically in favor of Obama and he appears to have lost his objectivity.

Sent by Allen | 9:22 PM | 2-14-2008

Tavis Smiley needs to get over himself and accept Michelle Obama as a guest speaker.

I like Tavis, but he is truly wrong in this situation.

Sent by Alan B. | 10:53 PM | 2-14-2008

When it comes to Barack Obama: Tavis is a power drunk, venom spewing, egomaniac. Based on his tone when addressing Obama, I honestly think he's jealous of all the attention Barack is getting.

I have a problem with Tavis' tone -- he does not seem objective at all. Tavis does not just make a point about Obama and move on -- he goes into a diatribe. I have found it difficult to listen to. It sounds like silly, made up, drama.

Not a good look Tavis. And normally I have the utmost respect for you.

Sent by Debbie | 11:20 PM | 2-14-2008

Tavis ...Tavis ... Tavis! And i don't mean that in the girlish voiced cult kind of tone. I mean it in the tone of: Brother, don't believe the hype!
Even if you are the one who has created the hype. Your past is/has been wonderfully productive. But even you have the right to be wrong in the present. And here you are wrong ... clearly very wrong.
Move on to the future;
keeping your eyes on the prize.

Sent by audiodramatist | 2:37 AM | 2-15-2008

@ Debbie, I don't think that is the case at all. I listen to Tavis Smiley's commentary on Tom Joyner Morning Show and when people did not have faith in Obama getting this far, Tavis was shouting his support for Obama from the rooftops.

I just think the timing for the State of the Black Union is a little off, maybe he could've worked something out where Tavis asked Obama a few questions and his pre-recorded response gets aired during the event.

It's a squabble that doesn't really need to blow up.

Sent by ceecee | 8:36 AM | 2-15-2008

A friend called me about this situation a couple of nights ago and her words were: "What's up with your boy Tavis?" Since I've been under the weather I haven't heard the story until she gave me a summary and didn't get the whole story until I listened to Tavis commentary on Tom Joyner Morning Show yesterday and heard an archived version of Roland Martin's take on the situation.

Here's my take: Tavis sometimes you need to give up being right for the ultimate good. So you highlight in your commentary yesterday morning that last summer when you had the Howard University debate, people criticize you for stacking the deck in Obama's favor and now people are taking you to task for criticizing the same Obama. Well, eight months in today's politics seem like a lifetime ago. So Clinton has accepted the invitation for the State of the Black Union event; she needs to do so as a timely strategy because she's falling out of favor with blacks with her and her husband's recent comments about the civil rights movement and a product of such movement.

Let's be honest Tavis, if Clinton was leading in the polls, and no "fairy tale," "MLK and LBJ" comments were ever made, do you think she wouldn't have sent her husband in her stead? Tavis, if the ultimate good is to highlight the "State of the Black Union;" then let your pride of being right get out of the way and that love you always preach really "win." Tavis Smiley get Michelle Obama to speak.

Sent by Moji | 9:50 AM | 2-15-2008

Tavis is still probably harboring some feelings about Barack not being able to attend last years event.

That being said, I think his timing is horribly wrong; with the delagate count being so close, and Hilary having the edge in name recognition.

And his turning down Michelle Obama is, let's just say, less than gracious. Michelle is a dynamic woman, and would have added much to the forum.

Sent by Joy | 10:22 AM | 2-15-2008

As much as I like Tavis and respect his passion for making a difference in the community - i think he is wrong about this. He is becoming an example of black leaders/people not working together - not compromising and being supportive of one another and that is very unfortunate. Barack is engaged in an unprecedented battle right now and in order to win he must focus on the BIG picture and work harder and smarter than any candidate has ever worked - something black leaders, like Tavis, should understand and support. Tavis should welcome Michelle and say to Barack "I understand, Michelle and I will take care of this for you. I got your back, brother." - Instead of attempting to turn the situation into a test of Barack's loyalty.

Sent by Lovenia | 10:56 AM | 2-15-2008

Tavis is tripping! Although I respect him & think what a lot of what he says is on point, I still think he is an arm chair revolutionary type Negro. He likes to ask a lot of questions & throw out an anecdote every now & them, to me that is not enough for me to be like oh no Obama didn't.

America is a lot bigger that the handful of Negroes that will be at the State of The Black Union.

Bygbaby

Sent by Tafari | 11:01 AM | 2-15-2008

Tavis is not only being irrational; he's fooling himself. If Mrs. Clinton weren't behind in the polls and unsure of the Black vote, she would not have accepted Tavis' State of the Union invitation.
I feel Obama's experience as a community organizer (empowering Black people), his economic plan (helping the middle and lower classes and encouraging saving), and his plans to improve the educational system (equipping people for the future) address the issues that matter most to Black people.
Tavis is really out of touch on this one.

Sent by Lisa | 11:04 AM | 2-15-2008

I don't understand its his party or sandbox why should he settle for second best? As a people we always settle. There are key people that are needed and if they can't make they can't-- what ever the reason.
Tavis- thanks for not settling or substituting. Can't wait to see who attends the "party".

Sent by Amanita (Ah MA NITA) Thomas | 11:05 AM | 2-15-2008

I respect Tavis and his work tremendously. I just think he is being unreasonable at this time. Is this the same reaction he would have if Hillary had decided to send Bill instead? They probably would have been glad to receive the first "Black" president. I have heard Michelle. She would be a great representative. Also, how about a live video feed? Could that not be arranged for this occasion?

Sent by WGT | 11:41 AM | 2-15-2008

I think Obama should attend the forum. I understand he has scheduling issues, but when Republicans used the very same excuse for not attending the Morgan State event and the Univision event people were crying foul.

And for parity's sake, Michelle and Hillary at the same event ddoesn't make sense. That's right up there with Bill speaking on behalf of Hillary.

Sent by Bill M | 12:54 PM | 2-15-2008

I am not an Obama supporter. This guy is conservative as former senator Sam Nunn. He isn't for black people but using the race card as you new political trendsetters like to refer to old school making a sucker out of you. He is too green...we need someone with experience like Joe Biden. He launched his political carrer by a short stint as a grassroot activist. But he is know Martin Luther King...Malcolm X....Thurgood Marshall. He is a clone of John F. Kennedy...who couldnot have won the presidency with tapping into the black vote....JFK did absolutely nothing for black people...his legacy is a fairy tale...Obama is among the new blacks...Thomas Clarence...Condoleeza Rice...Colin spineless Powell.*******

Black folks chase history....and never progress....we haven't made any gains as to civil rights...and justice and equality since the civil rights era...because all of you Lexus driving..debt carrying...house full of functional illerate children need to study the issues....someone should shut off your emotional plumbing...so that you can engage in critical thinking.

Carry on Tavis...I will be watching....

Sent by Lois | 2:00 PM | 2-15-2008

THE heart of this matter is so
simple.MR. Obama can not seem too
black to white voters.HE should
attend the 'STATE OF THE BLACK
UNION regardless of his fear of
losing white male voters, who do
not support him anyway.Having his
wife as a pinch hitter is like
the Yankees sending up the teams
worst hitter to bat for A-Rod.THE
Obama fear of offending the white
female and white youth vote is
un-balance when his scale of black
support is balance. Not attending
Tavis event is a threat to un-
balance his black scale.

Sent by jerry a. Myers | 3:14 PM | 2-15-2008

This is the equivalent to asking Martin Luther King to leave birmingham to go on a talk show and then dissing Coretta because Martin is to busy with Bull Connors and civil rights to leave.

I love Tavis and his work as a griot in our society in unprecedented but the brother done lost his mind

Sent by larry english | 5:34 PM | 2-15-2008

I second, every word posted by Lovenia, I could not have stated it better !!

Sent by Robert H. | 8:02 PM | 2-15-2008

I generally agree with Tavis, and have the utmost respect for him, however in this instance he is off the mark. For the first time in history there is a real possibility of electing an African American for president. This is history in the making, and cannot be taken lightly. Although I am sure we all would like for Barack to have had a little more "seasoning", nevertheless, he is an excellent politician who has a real chance to win. Our seasoned politicians have really not done a very good job - I am looking forward to having someone with fresh ideas. As he often says in his speeches, "our time is now". Tavis should understand that sometimes, you may have to lose the battle to win the war. Having Barack at the Black State of the Union would certainly be nice, however having him elected as President of the United States is essential. Once he has been placed in the position of president, he can effect real change. We have to keep our eyes on the prize.

Sent by Cheryl B. | 8:54 PM | 2-15-2008

Not now, Tavis, Not Now!!!

Our civil rights heroes have got to looking down and rooting Obama on. They've got to be as tickled as they want to be. We have an incredible opportunity here and we'd be foolish to let something as small and petty like Obama, respectfully, turning down an invite to Smiley's forum, derail us from getting to the White House. My goodness, with Obama in the White House, folks like Smiley will have the President's left ear, right ear, and everything else in between so why put a limitation on this thing. Get over the pettiness and let Obama bring this thing on home. This should not even be an argument. Embrace the "bigger picture" angle and allow Michelle Obama to come and speak.

I think Tavis has jumped the gun. His forum would carry even more weight IF after Obama became President and he hadn't done many of the things he said he was going to do or put some of those things in motion while in office. Coming off criticizing like this makes him come off looking petty and a little jealous.

Sent by Thomas | 8:54 PM | 2-15-2008

I think it is a bad move on his part (Smiley) to turn down Michelle. To have a former First lady and a potential First lady discuss issues of Black Union will give this conf. a "unique" perspective.

Sent by SamS. esq. | 9:32 AM | 2-16-2008

"This guy is conservative as former senator Sam Nunn. He isn't for black people but using the race card as you new political trendsetters like to refer to old school making a sucker out of you. He is too green...we need someone with experience like Joe Biden"

Ok, the guy who said the above quote is an absolute nut-bag. That just had to be said. Peace.

Sent by Jay | 10:00 AM | 2-16-2008

And, he said, he had been to the mountain top and look over and seen...the coming [of the shadow of...] of the promised land... If Mr. Obama's campaign agenda is booked and he cannot attend in person nor be tele-conferenced in for 15-20 minutes during Mr. Smiley's SOBU program. Mr. Smiley is well within his right to decline Mrs. Obama as a secondary. After all, it is Mr. Obama who is running for this office position and not Mrs. Obama. And it is Mr. Obama who must answer to the the African descedants of the nation regarding their issues and its concepts of addressing them. It is not for Mrs. Obama to speculate in that regard. Simple.

Tavis --official theme song of this year's SOBU...Supremes 1970- "Stoned Love" - "...a love for each other will bring fighting to an end..." "And to the man on whose shoulder the world must depend...I pray for peace and love, Amen[-Ra]..emphasis added]...Don't ya hear the wind blowin..."

Sent by K MJUMBE BY WAY OF KEMET | 2:59 AM | 2-17-2008

I have much respect for Tavis Smiley, but I think this has gone too far. Was an attempt made to have Obama appear via tele-conference? I am very disappointed in how this situation is being handled on black radio. I expected more.

Sent by Paula | 4:45 PM | 2-18-2008

Obama made his decision and Smiley made his. It would be nice if his wife could appear if he couldn't, but I assume that Smiley knew enough about what he wanted to do and made a rational decision, not one based on his ego and hurt feelings at not getting the next president.

Time to move on.

Sent by Christopher Hobe Morrison | 4:55 PM | 2-18-2008

I am a great fan of Tavis Smiley??? I watch or record every night. I use much of the content of his talk show and the annual State of the Black Union in my library classes in my school on the South side of Chicago. All of my students, from kindergarten to eighth grade, understand the enormity of the presidential candidacy of Barack Obama and they love and support him. So, I am really at a loss as I try to understand why Tavis is ???going there??? with this. Michelle Obama has just blown me away with her speeches. She is so incredibly articulate and down to earth. What a perfect spokesperson for the state of the black union! I would love to hear what she has to say in this kind of arena. Barack is working hard campaigning to become the President of the United States of America. But Michelle can and will speak truth to power at the State of the Black Union in a way that right now Barack is unable to. I always watch the State of the Black Union every February with my students. However, if this year???s program is going to be one that berates and degrades Barack Obama and all of his hard work, just because he is campaigning and could not back the show, I will turn it off, FOREVER.

Sent by Sharon Hicks | 5:46 PM | 2-18-2008

It's been said before, but I'll say it again. Obama is running for president of the United States not President of Black America. He need to do whatever is necessary to take the Oval Office even if it pisses off Tavis Smiley.

Sent by Alan Bell | 5:51 PM | 2-18-2008

Clearly, Tavis Smiley sees this State of the Black Union event as significant as any other political forum this year. His own ambitions however seem to have clouded his judgment insofar as he has pronounced his disappointment in the form of a condemnation of Barak Obama and impugned Michelle's Obama's credibility in the process. Tavis is really just a journalist-type celebrity with his own credibility insecurities (rightfully, perhaps) and his posture this time is telling.

Sent by Robert E. C. | 6:04 PM | 2-18-2008

I agree with Bill M.

The only reason that Mr. Obama is attending the debate to be aired on Univision in Texas this week, is because he is sadly behind in the Latino vote.

It is only politics - Hillary is a viable candidate and Obama is going neck and neck with her. However she thinks this event is important enough to attend, when she is just as busy on teh campaign trail. So why can't Barack make time too?

Or is he taking for granted the fact that blacks will vote for him, not based on his qualifications, but because of his multi-cultural race. That would be prejudice would it not?

And I agree with Bill M. - Mrs. Obama might be a very eloquent and gracious person - but Hillary needs to be addressing issues on a forum such as this with the candidate, not his wife.

Sent by carmen zayas | 6:14 PM | 2-18-2008

I had the utmost respect for Tavis until I read his book, we all praise him as if he has done something for us, He capitalizes off our struggles. He made a comment about not caring who comes or goes during his speech in NC in 06.."Im still gonna get paid" He makes his money off pointing out the obvious. Why would Barack show & turn this into a "black thing"? Its about equality for ALL RACES!!!!Get it? Thats the premise of his campaign. How are we to demand equality if we want to constantly be treated superior? Our ancestors struggled, not us so how can we demand what should have been given to them? What have we earned? We should settle for nothing less than equality, & nothing more either. Barack had every right to refuse & it should have been left @ that, not publicized further to make an argument out of it. We (the public) should not even know about it. It just shows Tavis' true character. I watched clips of the last SBU when Cornell West in his arrogancy demanded to know where Barack was as if he were obligated to prove something to MR. West. It seems Barack has had to prove himself more to the "black community" than the white. Rev. Al still has not endorsed him & so on. You all complain about treatment of our people yet you continue to stand behind the ones who treat us so. Can Hillary relate to our struggles? We need to get rid of that crab-in-a-barrel mentality where each time one is close to escaping another comes to pull it back down. Give the brother a chance to follow through on his promises. Im sure he knows what hes doing..Have a little patience & faith, it will all work out..PEACE!!!!!!!

Sent by Adelialda Williams | 6:36 PM | 2-18-2008

Tavis is insignificant and his deacon style indignation is empty & tired. Nice little entertainment show but really; constantly name-dropping and when not serving up soft ball questions; making long winded (can you please get to the point) comments posed as questions.

He fantasies himself as some post modern spokes perons (player) for Black America, but he's a younger version of that old guard; AME politics of the past. Man his 'state of black america summit; is so comical that I don't get how anyone takes it serious? Well, actually most people don't, at least no one on a sophisticated power broker level. Check the content from the summit, it hasn't changed since it's inception. Same ole same ole meet once a year to rehash a familiar narrative; with no solutions.

Another narrative is being written and all you hear is sour grapes from Tavis and the rest of that crew because they weren't sought after for their blessing.

Their gate-keeper status (that only attracts & secures benevolent nonsense) is fading. Fact is to reach Black America one doesn't need them as filters.

THEY ARE NOT INNOVATORS. THEY HAVE NOTHING TO OFFER. They make headlines by mudding the water to make a splash & get noticed. Please, moving right along!

Sent by Jon J. | 10:19 PM | 2-18-2008

I apreciate both the emotional and heartfelt expressions posted, but hey, 1)BOTH Clintons' were genuinely there to and for the Black Community and NOT because they politically HAD to, they WANTED to. Fact, they ain't the "enemy". 2) The important thing is that the Democratic Party is at a pivital point for not just me, you, them, but rather, everyone. Frankly, Obama is a tad shy of some experience and practically, Hillary is what, 61, if she was Pres. for 8 years, then Barack wold still only be 49-50, and then he'd be Pres. for 8 years. Think of it. 16 years Democrats! Time to rise above soooo much for everyone. The fools are the Republicans! Let's not get into in-fighting. Fair? If Barack is Pres. now, may only be 8 years Democrats and then Rep. again! Never know? Go for the sure bet!

Sent by Alan J. Cornell | 11:03 PM | 2-18-2008

Tavis is wrong, and I too am disappointed in the negative commentaries he has delivered on the air regarding Senator Obama over the last month. I have been a supporter of Tavis in the past, however I am shocked at his behavior. Senator Obama is making history, and Tavis is jealous. If he continues to give Obama negative and unnecesary publicity, yes Tavis's shows need to be boycotted!

Sent by Elaine Fitzgerald | 11:05 PM | 2-18-2008

Lois is a nut-bag.
your quote: 'He isn't for Black people', I can't stop laughing at that unsophisticated emotional kindergarten nonsense.
I picture politicans lined up with signs & cheerleaders shouting: 'go Black people, go Black people.
ISN'T FOR BLACK PEOPLE..what the hell does that mean. Thanks for the laugh.

Sent by Jon J | 12:13 AM | 2-19-2008

This is truly not the time for this!

Tavis is one of the leading voices of Black America and truly has earned the respect of most of America. but on this issue, he is flat out wrong. Today we stand face to face with history. We have a leader who is poised to be the leader of the free world. Tavis should be urging us all to do what we can to help in this historic moment. Alas, he feels slighted. This is not the time or place for this! Enough. If he loses a key state and the delegates that come with it, will Tavis be satisfied because Obama attended his precious summit yet failed at a much higher quest? He should hoist this man on his shoulders and suport him, not seek ways to bring him down amongst a key constituency.

Sent by James R. | 12:31 AM | 2-19-2008

Obama SHOULD NOT attend that ridiculous state of the Black union event.

oh my goodness: those long winded self-serving preachy rhetoric filled lectures from a panel of usual suspects trying to make themselves relevant....zzzz! I can walk into any barber or beauty shop and here the same stuff I'd hear at that event and it's suppose to be these great thinkers?

I remember watching some silly panelist trash 'corporate Negros' and thought about all the corporate logos at the event & that it was probably some community relations department Negro who was responsible for much of the funding and wondered how they might have felt hearing this idiot & her tired familiar trashing of 'corporate Negros'. And if she got a speaking fee for attending it's even more egregious.

I am sooooo SICK of this silly unsophisticated shit!

Tavis (celebrity not journalist and certainly not an intellectual) is just seeking publicity to make his event more relevant to get more money in future events and to boost his credibility.

Sent by Jon J | 12:50 AM | 2-19-2008

The people are so desperate for real leadership and identity that in the absence of the real thing they will drink the sand to keep hope in the mirage alive.

Tavis is a decent journalist and radio personality. He has made a decent career shedding light on issues important to our community. Do not, for a second, however, confuse this man doing his job with him heeding some higher calling in the vein of a true leader. Let us be honest, Tavis is doing what he can do. Can anyone really see him in the mainstream press talking over guests and asking questions that never seem to end? Really?

I wish him the best in his career but being President of the United States is a little too important to make nice with a niche journalist with limited impact and no constituency.

I???ll be too busy rocking the vote for Barack to keep watch of this pseudo controversy.

Sent by tressie | 1:49 AM | 2-19-2008

America' black elites...self-appointed leaders of this farce of an African-American monolith: Congressional Black Congress, Tavis Smiley, and like-minded "Obama 08" dissenters such as Magic Johnson, Rep. Charles Rangel, Quincy Jones, Rev. Calvin Butts, Rep. John Lewis, Bob ???BET??? Johnson, Rep. Maxine Waters, Sheila Jackson-Lee, Rep. Stephanie Tubbs-Jones, Dr. Maya Angelou, Andrew Young, Rev. William Gray, attorney Willie Gary, and Vernon Jordan, only serves to show that for centuries "Black Angst" and "White Guilt" have been the columns upon which many of the aforementioned heirs of Dr. King???s grass-roots equality campaigns have built, financed, and in many instances, resurrected their financial-livelihoods???as well those of their scions.
Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. faced-down similar resistance and cowardice from many within both the Black establishment-class and clergy during his struggles.
Regarding Tavis??? so-called outrage over Sen. Obama??? decline to attend either of his ???Covenants with Black America??? or ???State of the Black American Union,??? I suspect the final common denominator to be... book sales, registration fees, airline/hotel commissions, and celebrity-pimping.
Naturally???given the Illinois Senator???s already condensed-crucial, presidential campaign primary-schedules loom in Wisconsin, Texas, and Ohio, Sen. Barack Obama??? breath-of-concern extends to all of America and the world-at-large, not to serve as promo to further enrich Mr. Smiley and Company???s financial coffers.
Tavis has become a 21st Century egotist in the tradition of the Greek Myth Narcissus???one whose self-obsession and over-hyped self-image became his Achilles??? heel.
Sen. Obama is daring to challenge that which Martin Luther King, John F. Kennedy, Caesar Chavez, Bobby Kennedy, and Mahatma Gandhi all sacrificed their lives for: a destructive Status Quo Anti! Thus, it is no coincidence Tavis Smiley and his contemporaries are doing all they can to sabotage Sen. Obama' presidential candidacy.
They are deathly afraid...outside their dual comfort-zones of "White-Guilt and Black-Angst," they'll actually have to work for a living under an Obama Administration, once and for all having been being barred from pillaging American treasure???rather taxpayers hard-earned dollars.
Now more than ever before I understand the immortal words of Frederick Douglas: "Power concedes nothing without a demand.??? And this???Sen. Obama??? grass-roots revolution, has morphed into to just that-a demand for a more equitable distribution of this nation???s wealth.
Unfortunately for those within the African-American community attempting in vain to derail this freight train...just remember the source of the fuel propelling it is not just Black Americans, but Latino, White, Asian, Jewish, and Middle Easter, and most importantly God!

Houston, Texas

Sent by CBW | 2:51 AM | 2-19-2008

America' black elites...self-appointed leaders of this farce of an African-American monolith: Congressional Black Congress, Tavis Smiley, and like-minded "Obama 08" dissenters such as Magic Johnson, Rep. Charles Rangel, Quincy Jones, Rev. Calvin Butts, Rep. John Lewis, Bob ???BET??? Johnson, Rep. Maxine Waters, Sheila Jackson-Lee, Rep. Stephanie Tubbs-Jones, Dr. Maya Angelou, Andrew Young, Rev. William Gray, attorney Willie Gary, and Vernon Jordan, only serves to show that for centuries "Black Angst" and "White Guilt" have been the columns upon which many of the aforementioned heirs of Dr. King???s grass-roots equality campaigns have built, financed, and in many instances, resurrected their financial-livelihoods???as well those of their scions.
Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. faced-down similar resistance and cowardice from many within both the Black establishment-class and clergy during his struggles.
Regarding Tavis??? so-called outrage over Sen. Obama??? decline to attend either of his ???Covenants with Black America??? or ???State of the Black American Union,??? I suspect the final common denominator to be... book sales, registration fees, airline/hotel commissions, and celebrity-pimping.
Naturally???given the Illinois Senator???s already condensed-crucial, presidential campaign primary-schedules loom in Wisconsin, Texas, and Ohio, Sen. Barack Obama??? breath-of-concern extends to all of America and the world-at-large, not to serve as promo to further enrich Mr. Smiley and Company???s financial coffers.
Tavis has become a 21st Century egotist in the tradition of the Greek Myth Narcissus???one whose self-obsession and over-hyped self-image became his Achilles??? heel.
Sen. Obama is daring to challenge that which Martin Luther King, John F. Kennedy, Caesar Chavez, Bobby Kennedy, and Mahatma Gandhi all sacrificed their lives for: a destructive Status Quo Anti! Thus, it is no coincidence Tavis Smiley and his contemporaries are doing all they can to sabotage Sen. Obama' presidential candidacy.
They are deathly afraid...outside their dual comfort-zones of "White-Guilt and Black-Angst," they'll actually have to work for a living under an Obama Administration, once and for all having been being barred from pillaging American treasure???rather taxpayers hard-earned dollars.
Now more than ever before I understand the immortal words of Frederick Douglas: "Power concedes nothing without a demand.??? And this???Sen. Obama??? grass-roots revolution, has morphed into to just that-a demand for a more equitable distribution of this nation???s wealth.
Unfortunately for those within the African-American community attempting in vain to derail this freight train...just remember the source of the fuel propelling it is not just Black Americans, but Latino, White, Asian, Jewish, and Middle Easter, and most importantly God!

CBW,
Houston, Texas

Sent by CBW | 3:11 AM | 2-19-2008

I sense some machismo behavior here from Mr. Smiley. Get with it! Michelle is Barack's rock. She is he. You should be honored even SHE can come during this critical primary week. Damn! Get over yourself.

Sent by Phil | 9:21 AM | 2-19-2008

Wow, I have to admit it I am shocked and puzzled that Tavis Smiley is taking such a hardline on Obama's appearance at the State of the Black Union, I am equally surprised and disappointed that so many members of the CBC would support Hillary Clinton over Barrack Obama, both are equally qualified, both would signal a significant chaange in politcas as usual, but the constituency of the CBC has spoken they have voted overwhemingly for Obama, what is the problem, you think you know better then the people? I am totally supporting Obama because 1. He is not taking special money,If you take the money then you must pay the debt.
2, The war should be ended as soon as possible.
3. College must be made more affordable, serving your country in lieu of college tuition teaches compassion for others.
4. Healthcare must be revised and free univeral healthcare will not be possible anymore than the tobacco industry will be demolished.

Sent by C Miller-Holmes | 2:12 PM | 2-19-2008

This is much a-do bout no-thing but Tavis taking issue with a brother. I requested to be on his panel and NEVER got a reaction from he and his Team. My disappointment is much a-do bout no-thing.

Sent by Robert | 4:06 PM | 2-19-2008

This article is categorically untrue and filled with misinformation.

Michelle Obama is not "persona non grata," the invitation was for candidates and candidates only.

If I go to the car dealership and ask for a Mercedes CLK that I'm going to pay for with my own money, don't get upset when I say no to something else you offer in its place.

The PBS Debates were for candidates, not surrogates or their spouses, and this particular portion of the symposium is crafted the same way. Michelle Obama is not running for president and her engaging Hillary Clinton in a discussion of "the issues" at SOBU is inappropriate.

Going further, for everyone saying Obama isn't trying to become "President of 'Black America'" you remember that when Obama shows up at a Latino rally in Texas or the union rallies which helped him garner the SEIU endorsement in the past week.

Campaigning for president is coalition building, not coalition disavowing. Smiley expected the same of the Republican candidates who chose not to appear at the PBS debate in Sept. '07. There is consistency here, despite the best efforts of some to disregard it.

www.mokellyreport.blogspot.com

Sent by Mo'Kelly | 11:38 PM | 2-19-2008

Mo'Kelly hit the nail on the head. This invitation was for "the 4 remaining Republican and Democratic" candidates.

The excuse that Obama is concentrating on Texas doesn't hold water because there is a 2 week gap (the longest of the campaign) between the last primary (Wisconsin and Hawaii) and the Texas Primary. Can someone look at a map and figure out how far New Orleans is from Texas? This runs deeper than not having the time to appear.

Regardless if you like Tavis or not, his forum is the premier gathering of African Americans in the Country. If there is a forum that has a greater representation of African Americans than the State of Black America, I would like to know about it.

Let's be clear and frank here. There is a pattern started back during last years "State of Black America." Obama's campaign chose the same day to announce his candidacy, which C-Span broke coverage of the "State of Black America" (a first) to go to Obama's announcement. I immediately found the decision to announce on the same day suspicious. Then, he dis-invited has pastor from giving the invocation because he was "too pro-black." This all started the "is he black enough" debate. Now here we are again. Full circle.

I am an Obama supporter, but first and foremost I am a black man. I have trouble with the idea that for a Obama to succeed he has to distance himself from certain black folk. Don't get me wrong, the strategy is working, but at what cost.

Sent by Derek | 10:41 AM | 2-20-2008

Derek & Mo'Kelly,

Tavis is the one who doesn't hold water. his little event is an insignificant joke. No one really pays attention except the pain & healing crew; if you think that little Sunday go to meeting he fashions as a 'think tank' means anything or has any sustainable impact in the grand scheme (global context) you are delusional.

If I want to know if Obama is for me I access information on his website and other sources & make my decision. When he talks about issues like education, envirnoment, health, economy he IS talking to me. Why the hell do I need a Black filter or Black version and what would that look like anyway? As a Black American I'm glad a politician isn't pandering to me in a condescending way promising to deliver something race specific; or fool's gold! Maybe he assumes we are more sophisticated than that.

Obama is speaking to America & the entire world is listening. I don't need a special meeting or a different script; I listen like everyone else. Obama isn't distancing himself from 'Black America'. The Black America you speak of should embrace modernity, join the 21st century community and stop expecting someone to come in an placate you. The sort of politics of tribalism you cling to doesn't work in the global world.

That's why Tavis, the old guard and others of that ilk have been & are insignificant and the only role they play is as blockers to get attention and appear relevant. Not any of them or any who might appear as a panel guest at the event offered anything while we were in the middle of the 90's revolution. They were completely missing in action; went right over their heads!

Try having an original thought and trust your own ability to access information and the ability to think critically; not limited to some narrow (outdated) social construct...or some celebrity journalist.

Derek asked at what cost? No cost at all bruh..because the world will keep right on going. The real question is Black provincialism in today's world...at what cost?

Sent by Jon J | 6:13 PM | 2-20-2008

Why are some (not all, I repeat, NOT ALL!) Obama supporters so angry? It reminds me of Evangelical Republicans circa 2004.

Sent by Bill M | 8:44 PM | 2-20-2008

Tavis needs to take the pacifier out of his mouth and grow up.

Sent by Godzuki | 8:55 PM | 2-20-2008

Tavis, it appears that your displeasure with Barack Obama is self serving. I watched last year when you were displeased because Barack did not attend or announce his candidacy or by scheduling his announcement on the same day of our State of the Black Union event. Now you???re displeased that he can???t attend this year. You say that you have known him for some time. If so, you would know about his works on the Southside of Chicago, you would also know that he is a member of Trinity United Methodist Church. If you know this, then you would know how he stands on issues that are important to Black America. You have a big voice; you can share with all of us where he stands. However, I think Black America already knows. He is getting 87% of our vote with or without your position. Your voice is being drowned out. If you want to address something important to the Black America, try bringing the Congressional Black Caucus members who have endorsed Hillary Clinton when their districts overwhelmingly voted for Barack Obama. Let???s have a national discussion on their accountability to their constituencies. They are all Super delegates that can decide this race. Where is the outrage about that? I don???t hear too many of our so called leaders talking about that. You claim to be the voice of the people. Start being a real voice and represent us on the attacks from within our own elected officials.

Coming soon; Congressional Black Caucus district votes???

Sent by Donald Blount | 8:56 PM | 2-20-2008

Bill M
Has an agenda, wish he had the balls to lay it out but he doesn't. Those of his ilk will stand on the sideline criticizing but are never willing to put themselves out there and do anything. No matter the issue he keeps showing up talking about 'Obama supporters angry'. Nothing else just that. Nice little slight of hand trick; equating the supporters with the evangelicals; ahh I see. Bill you are amusingly transparent. Angry huh? That is usually code word like: Why are the Blacks so angry. Similar to when someone tries petty tactics and then cry foul when you fight back or call them on it. The only time it's vogue to be 'angry' is in the context of 'angry White male'; in that case it's justified.

Laughable little trick Bill. LOL! Isn't it as plausible that it's passion not anger Bill and how do you know the difference based on a post?

After 8yrs of this coup that we have experienced shouldn't people be passionate and angry? Or should we continue the typical demo strategy; safe, middle of the road not willing to fight or be bold. The bull-dogs count on those of your ilk who acquiesce when it's time to dig in and are willing to be conciliatory because you have no courage.

Maybe we need a little anger to get our country back. Stay on the sideline and observe this wave and stop obfuscating.

There is nothing about Obama or his supporters that resemble the mean-spirited, shady tactics of the evangelicals, certainly not attempting to impose some dogma on anyone; the coalition looks nothing like the evangelicals. A total misfire on your part; horrible analogy :)

Sent by Rinehart | 11:49 PM | 2-20-2008

Why Angry?
Well I know this sort of passion seems strange to the typical Demo & old civil rights crew. You've been so dormant it's not something you recognize; we understand.

CBW from Houston summed it up with this quote:

Thus, it is no coincidence Tavis Smiley and his contemporaries are doing all they can to sabotage Sen. Obama' presidential candidacy.
They are deathly afraid...outside their dual comfort-zones of "White-Guilt and Black-Angst," they'll actually have to work for a living under an Obama Administration.

Yes! Angry at those who couldn't LEAD, refuse to FOLLOW and won't GET OUT OF THE WAY!

The legacy: a continuum of Black voices that stand just to criticize bold thinkers who push the envelope:
Jack Johnson
MLK
Malcom X
Muhammad Ali
All were roundly criticized by small minds.

Sent by Just B Free | 12:53 AM | 2-21-2008

Wow! Merely but upon reading a majority of these brilliant responses and inquires, one might be forced to as a ???State of the Black Union,??? or ???Black Covenant?????? as well all the propaganda, begs; Would this be a sampling of respondents which Tavis Smiley erroneously perceived were members of ???a-so-called" monolithic African-America nation...a wildly-diverse group by any stretch of the imagination, and all harboring differing political views.
Accordingly, I personally, why would a centrist??? ???United,??? 2008 Presidential-contender pander too such an extremist far-left nationalist agenda. I recall former President Ronald Reagan also refusing to cow-tow to a similar such ???Black-wash??? by the Black Congressional Caucus many years earlier.
A group which today ironically refuses to back the first truly viable African-American candidate, this one which attempted to strong-arm a former US President, as has Tavis Smiley attempted with Sen. Barack Obama???while campaigning during a crucial primary schedule.
Events which in my experience, usually quickly degenerates into a convolution of hostilities fueled by black angst???predicated on white guilt, and bearing striking signatures-parallels, of unadulterated 21st Century dogma, while packaged for maximum profitability within the Tavis Smiley brand???"Presidential-esque,??? "State of the Black Union???? ???You think????

Sent by CBW/Houston Texas | 1:58 AM | 2-21-2008

Rinehart:
You illustrate my point. Whenever there is the slightest hint of dissent or criticism of Obama, some (NOT ALL!) supporters resort to personal attacks and condescension. Saying that someone 'Doesn't have the balls' is neither passionate or angry, it's just unintelligent.

Maybe calling a person who disagrees with you 'A nut bag' is a form of passion, maybe just a very aggressive form of passion. I call it anger. We disagree.

And as for my 'agenda' or that of my 'ilk', I refuse to comment. Let's talk about ideas, if I wanted to gossip I'd go to another site.

Sent by Bill M | 8:08 AM | 2-21-2008

Bill M
Seems you are condescending & resorting to 'name-calling' ('it's just unintelligent')...hmm, or is the comment 'doesen't have the balls' worse than unintelligent meaning stupid same as ignorant? :) Leaving parting shots while you scurry for the high ground huh Bill? So the Obama supporters are not angry but in fact unintelligent? Anyway!

Doesn't have the balls is a very useful metaphor, an accurate term to use if that's your opinion. ESPECIALLY in a new media form like blogging which isn't the same as a formal debate OR term paper. If this kind of forum offends your sensibilities you might consider another forum. Condescending indeed!

Also yeah I too think the poster Lois, (re-read her post) is a nut bag but I'm not angry at her. So it's not disagreement you are wrong about my emotional state. I recognize her humanity and she has every right to be a nut bag. But when she puts it out in public she opens herself up to a response. Especially considering her tone. I have relatives & friends that I love who are nut-bags so?

Anger & passion are both functional especially in politics & revolution but certain kinds of nonsensical ranting should be attacked & it's open game; it becomes the stuff of 'urban myths' or a meme. Those are very hard to undo once they take root and if allowed to take root without challenge they serve as reference points. And they hijack real discourse.

There is plenty of dissent or criticism of Obama that one doesn't respond to. Criticism: experience- ok, certain specifics about one of his plan- ok, nuclear energy issue- fair game.

BUT THAT'S NOT THE STUFF YOU HEAR. What you hear is nonsensical stuff like identity politics; race baiting; wrongly label as Muslim by those who know it's a lie, not Black enough, his church having ties to Farrakhan. You know people have apologized so obviously they've gone overboard. But look back over the last 8yrs you tell me anger doesn't have a place? If the Karl Rove types don't make you simmer you either support them or you're afraid of them. Theses people who have taken over our country, cost lives & billions of dollars; don't give a damn about decorum. They poo poo dignified discourse and move forward, even when they are proven liars. So when we take them own & try and recapture our country we can't afford those who do not have the courage if you prefer and we can't suffer nut-bags.

Bill this is a public forum you do not make the rules. There is a diversity of styles.
Want to talk ideas? Asking about anger isn't about ideas it's petty (or gossipy) stuff on the level of Obama 'snubbing' Hilary at the state of the union. It's Freudian deconstruction by those who don't have ideas and want to obfuscate. Unless the idea you want to talk about is anger of Obama supporters. And what does that have to do with 'ideas' brought forth by the candidate or who the best person for the job is? Seems a little off point; so much so that you didn't bring up any 'intelligent' ideas in your post.

Sent by Rinehart | 7:16 PM | 2-21-2008

Rinehart:
It's obvious you have a personal issue with me and my 'ilk' that will not be resolved in this particular forum. This is a good thread with good information, rather than waste everyone's time with our back-and-forth, I concede your points that I am both disingenious and hypocritical. Now that we agree, let's move on.

Sent by Bill M | 8:41 PM | 2-21-2008

I think it is crazy for Tavis to make it a big deal.. Obama is not ignoring balck people issue. I think Tavis is getting paid by Clienton and he is trying to get more balck votes for her...

Sent by Heather | 11:17 PM | 2-24-2008

all you have to do is look at the sponsorship of the event to know where tavis is coming from..

Sent by julian | 1:04 PM | 2-25-2008

Bill M,
Laughing! please, it's not personal, you're giving yourself waaay too much credit.

You seem lost in transition. My friend, YOU posed the question, did you not want an answer?
YOU could have stuck to the issues in this thread, yet you CHOSE that particular angle. The strand was about Tavis, not the mental state of Obama supporters being analogous to Evangelicals. I just called you on a premise (or THREAD) that YOU introduced.

Sent by Rinehart | 9:31 PM | 2-25-2008

I don't think that Tavis is wrong for inviting Barack and expecting him to show instead of Michelle. I don't think that he would have accepted anyone else's spouse in their absence.

And I guess that I don't see Barack's participation in the Congressional Black Caucus as being ONLY committed to the "Black Cause". He said that he wants to reach all citizens and address all issues, well...why is this any different? If he can address Latino issues, Asian issues, women's issues and labor issues, then why can't he address Black issues without being marginalized? Are we just as guilty as the majority in assuming the reverse?....That he DOESN'T have to speak directly to the people of his ethnic group because he already knows all of the problems and concerns. I think that mindset is discriminatory and illustrates how the Black Democratic vote is taken for granted.

I'm not voting for Barack because he's Black. I'm voting for him because I believe that he is the most sincere in his intentions to accomplish what he says.

Sent by CJS | 11:10 AM | 2-26-2008

'speak directly to people of his ethnic group'?
His folks in Kansas? Kenyans? Man, we rely too heavily on prescribed cliches, inaccurate labels & simplistic frames to inform us.

Tavis isn't wrong for inviting Barack. He could have allowed Michelle AND voiced his disappointment that Barack didn't make it for one. #2 Smiley's overplaying of his assumed clout when he states that; 'don't think come election folks aren't going to remind you..etc..etc....' IT'S THAT NONSENSICAL QUOTE i found ridiculous. A sort of an implied (or suggested) threat; typical extortion type politics. It was a sandlot, bush-league move by Tavis.

The 'politics 101' that Tavis seems to forget is; Barack is getting 90% of 'the Black vote' why would he spend his efforts; change ALL his arrangements, speaking engagements, etc. to attend that event when he's at the brink of a knock-out blow and needed in other places? He has apparently gotten his message across without that event; which is the real fear for the go-betweens. In Politics 101 that would be bad strategy for Barack. Tavis justed wanted publicity for his event, knowing the national media would follow Barack to ATL; perfect photo op for him & his event. NOW THAT IS ENTERTAINMENT/PUBLICITY 101! The ENTIRE move & subsequent grandstanding was self-serving. And we have bigger fish to fry!

By the way; a couple of questions:
What are the specific Black issues that Barack has ignored?

AND what information did anyone who watched or attended that event gain that they didn't already know; not some anecdotal info..but real substantial new knowledge that you can put in practical use?

Sent by Jon J | 12:36 PM | 2-26-2008

DO NOT ALLOW THE MEDIA TO DIVIDE AND CONCOR US YET AGAIN.
It is obvious that in order for Barak Obama to assimilate and ascend to the throne, any credible Black public figure who will question him (Tavis) must be neutralized. Tavis has the respect of BLACK AND WHITE FOLKS FOR THE WORK THAT HE HAS COMMITTED HIS LIFE TO, AND WE HAVE KNOWN TAVIS TO PUT REAL ISSUES OUT ON THE TABLE FAR LONGER THAN WE HAVE KNOWN THE NAME BARRACK OBAMA. Tavis is not doing anything in regards to Obama that he has not done to any other political figure BLACK OR WHITE???..ASKING A POLITITIAN TO SPEAK TO BLACK PEOPLE REGARDING URBAN ISSUES. . OBAMA wants to be treated just like any other candidate, EXCEPT to be questioned by Black people about Black issues. WHEN HE DOES THAT HE IS THE ONE WHO IS MAKING RACE THE ISSUE. NOT TAVIS. But if you recall, when he was the underdog he was giving speeches in Black Churches and OBAMA did not have a problem speaking to Tavis before white people started voting for him. He is using Black people just like every other politician has, to get elected.
DON???T YOU FEEL JUST A LITTLE SILLY CRITISIZING A BLACK MAN FOR ASKING A BLACK PRESIDENTAL CANDIDATE TO SPEAK ABOUT VIEWS ON BLACK ISSUES? WAKE UP!!! YOU ARE BUYING IN TO THE PROPOGANDA. You are being made into the ???crab in the barrel??? not Tavis he is doing what we have praised him for and can always count on him to do ASK THE RIGHT QUESTION, TO THE RIGHT PERSON, AT THE RIGHT TIME, whether we like the answer or not.. TAKE A TIP FROM OBAMA- JUST STAY NEUTRAL. And don???t fall so in love with ???Hope??? that you throw out reason or FAITH in our people. Faith is the SUBSTANCE of things HOPED for. Tavis has shown us substance, what can you tell me about OBAMA?

Sent by Kamicha | 4:21 PM | 2-27-2008

Assimilate? laughing, are you serious? Please it's 2008, not 1958; we're all assimilated!

DON???T YOU FEEL JUST A LITTLE SILLY CRITISIZING A BLACK MAN FOR ASKING A BLACK PRESIDENTAL CANDIDATE TO SPEAK ABOUT VIEWS ON BLACK ISSUES?

Not as silly and nonsensical as thinking that when a man speaks about education, economy, health care, foreign policy, the environment that he ISN'T speaking to me as a Black person?

Media divide & conquer..doesn't make sense? The only media we're talking about is Tavis and he initiated all of this.

You wrote: 'He is using Black people just like every other politician has, to get elected.' ALL politicians use ALL people to get elected. NEWSFLAHS: apparently the MAJORITY...vast vast MAJORITY of Black Americans don't feel that; guess we're wrong & you alone have it figured out!

You are the one who buying into the propaganda or framework like: Black issues...THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS BLACK ISSUES; THAT'S PROPAGANDA ! Obama can't speak to Blacks unless he attends that event. That Barack needs a different message & medium to an insulated & isolated Black America. That people like Tavis (and you) speak for ALL Blacks and can hold hostage the Black vote unless they are placated.

I can tell you that Obama has energized more people than any candidate or public figure in a long time. Captured the imagination of the entire world; a global context that scares the hell out of you because your tribalism; a tribalism that was imposed on you and one you now embrace doesn't function in it and you have no other way of thinking. I can also tell you Obama is a self made, hard-working, Harvard educated intelligent man with global experience & perspective. I can also tell you that he does not need & the world will go on with or without Tavis & his event. The world is moving on and and won't stop to massage the insecurities of those who need & are defined by their pain.

I ask again, what are the Black issues (specifically). For the Black in Alabama, Oregon, California, Colorado, college educated or not, poor, middle class or wealthy, what one size fits all issues for us in all of our diversity; up and down the spectrum of life in America? Don't forget to answer.

Sent by Jon J | 10:34 PM | 2-27-2008

Tavis is a jackass, a world-class egomaniac, a faux intellectual, power-seeking missile. Listen how he pronounces the word "Particular." Par-Tik-you-lahr -- stressing the last syllable, to prove that he went to school or something. What it proves is that he is a fake.

Sent by ed redding | 11:02 PM | 2-27-2008

I hate it when black folks with an audience such as Tavis Smiley do nothing but run their mouths and are so blatantly on the wrong side of the issue. This whole media driven childish fit Tavis is throwing is more about his bruised ego, than Senator Obama not showing up. The last thing the black community needs is another divisive mouth weighing us down with this trivial nonsense. Black people have very real issues across this country or has Mr. Smiley's overinflated sense of self-importance blocked his vision. I would much rather he allow both candidates to campaign and win the seat first...then talk to the candidate that'll actually be on the ballot!

Sent by m. j. | 12:52 PM | 3-12-2008

This is interesting and relates to a Black Creativity issue I will tell you about.

Sent by Elliot | 12:34 PM | 3-17-2008

Tavis, my brother why can't you understand? Senator Obama is running for the highest office in the land. He hasn't kicked the state of the black union to the curb, but let's face it, a brother's kinda busy right now. Tavis you must know how impossible it is to make every event you are invited to. In as much as the forum is important to you, there's been some invitaions you could not make that were important to someone else. There's a Latin phrase, "sine qua non" it means an essential condition or element and at this point in Senator Obama's life this is an essential condition. I believe that it is time to unite and support this history making moment. Listen up Tavis, the state of the black union will be there after the election and the issues will still be important.

Sent by Randy | 3:34 PM | 4-14-2008

Tavis, my boy (well once was), you are so out of order until it's not funny. I know you have been about reporting issues in the past, but this is truly not an issue. Regardless if Barack is your candidate of choice or not, support his decision to continue to campaign during a detrimental time in our election process. He is on the brink of making history and just the way someone paved the way for you, listened to your views, and supported you, as a black man, do the same for Mr. Obama. He at least deserves the same respect you were given by US, to make you what you are today. You don't think you got here by yourself do you? You don't claim to have attended EVERY event hosted for and by black people do you? Come on Tavis, why are you afraid of Michelle? Or is it that you are such a big supporter of Barack that you were going to try to pin him to the wall at this conference in front of Hillary to make her shine, were you? Well, the light is dimming on you, from my standpoint, and you need to stop smelling yourself and look at the bigger issue. Barack Obama needs to continue to campaign and he definitely doesn't need to be around people like you, who want to bring him down. Who were you before? Who are you now? What gives you the right?????????

Sent by Kendre T | 1:39 PM | 4-15-2008

Oh Tavis, I use to really respect you.

NOW YOU ARE A TRADER

Sent by SABRINA SINCLAIR | 10:53 PM | 5-6-2008

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