Obama Addresses the National Urban League

Education, economy, small business at top of agenda

Iraq. And if we can spend that much money in Iraq, we can spend some of that money right here in America, in cities all across this country,” said Obama.

League president and CEO Marc Morial had asked the presidential hopefuls to specifically address the League’s Opportunity Compact, the organization’s plan to increase opportunities for underrepresented populations. “I think that Obama talked about it in more depth and demonstrated a real understanding about the Urban League, its work and agenda. McCain offered his perspective on education and while he endorsed the compact, he did not go into as much depth about it and its recommendations as Obama did,” said Morial. The audience also had different responses to the two speeches, very enthusiastic for Obama and respectful and polite to McCain.

Like McCain, Obama closed by taking questions from the audience. The last question came from Morial, who asked if Obama would host a 100th anniversary gala for the League 2010, if elected. Obama responded by saying, “ I’d be honored, because at least in the next administration I expect that the White House will be the People’s House,” which received a standing ovation.

The four-day conference, July 30-Aug. 2, was expected to draw up to 10,000 attendees, according to the organization. In addition to the presidential candidates, the conference will feature 80 speakers and experts in 18 workshops focused on career development, entrepreneurship, financial education, and health and wellness.
Several leaders from business and politics were also scheduled to participate in the conference, including Rev. Jesse Jackson and Radio One’s Cathy Hughes.

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, singer Nancy Wilson, and Harvard professors Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Evelyn Higginbotham were presented the Whitney M. Young Legend Award on Saturday.

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