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Smiley's 'State of the Black Union' Hears From Obama

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Los Angeles-based PBS talk show host Tavis Smiley hosted the State of the Black Union today at the Convention Center. On this, the last day of Black History Month--in the same year an African-American man took the Presidential oath--thousands of people gathered to take part in the event that "was created to educate, enlighten and empower America by bringing people together and engaging them in thoughtful dialogue, leading the way to constructive action."

Last year, then-candidate Obama declined Smiley's invitation to appear at the event; this year he sent a video of prepared remarks. His speech instead zeroed in on the current budget crisis, explains the NY Times:

Mr. Obama did not address the historic nature of his election, nor did he embark on the racial dialogue he called for in his landmark address in March. Rather, he used the opportunity to tout his budget by talking about how it would ease issues affecting Americans generally, but particularly the black community.

At the end, Obama concluded his remarks with a nod to the event host's new book, which features the President on the cover.