Obama Targets Black Voters in New Campaign

Feb 1, 2012 4:21pm

President Obama today launched an aggressive, targeted effort aimed at engaging African-American supporters for his 2012 campaign.

“I don’t think there’s a better time than African-American history month to consider the tremendous progress we’ve made through the sacrifices of so many, or a better time to recommit to the challenges we face right now,” Obama says in a video to supporters posted on his campaign’s blog.

Continuing economic woes disproportionately plaguing the African-American community have caused some frustration and dampened enthusiasm among voters, raising questions about whether turn out by blacks in November will be as robust as it was four years ago.

The unemployment rate among African-Americans was 15.8 percent in December, with no net change the entire year, according to the Labor Department. Meanwhile, only 7.5 percent of whites are unemployed.

Still, the new “African-Americans for Obama” website touts the president’s record of fighting “to restore economic security that has been eroding for American families for a decade.”

A fact sheet outlines new contracts and financing initiatives aimed at helping minority-owned small businesses, and Recovery Act spending that “kept 1.4 million African Americans out of poverty” and provided tax credits to help 2.2 million African-American families.

The most recent ABC News-Washington Post poll found Obama’s approval rating among blacks stands at 91 percent, higher than any other surveyed demographic category. He won 96 percent of the black vote in 2008.

“This campaign is powered by folks at every level taking ownership where it matters most: around the kitchen table, barber shops and beauty salons, in your faith community, at work, or at school,” Obama said in an appeal for support. “And, of course, in the voting booth this Election Day. We are greater together than we can ever be alone.”

The campaign will focus its African-American volunteer recruitment, voter registration and turnout efforts on four areas:  churches; barber shops and beauty salons; historically black colleges and university campuses; and African-American civic organizations, according to plans outlined on the website.

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