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Obama stresses 'responsibility' to black audience

White House hopeful Barack Obama took aim at critics of his tough-love approach to African - American social issues, telling a mostly black audience that he is going to keep talking about "this responsibility stuff."
By HT Correspondent | AFP, Washington
UPDATED ON JUL 15, 2008 07:54 AM IST

White House hopeful Barack Obama took aim at critics of his tough-love approach to African - American social issues, telling a mostly black audience that he is going to keep talking about "this responsibility stuff."

In a speech to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the country's leading black civil rights group, Obama yesterday rebuffed criticism from rights icon Jesse Jackson that he was "talking down to black people" in his bid to be the first African-American president.

"Now, I know some say I've been too tough on folks about this responsibility stuff. But I'm not going to stop talking about it."

While it is right to assail Washington and Wall Street for some of the inequality in the country, "we also have to demand more from ourselves," he said.

On Thursday Jackson sparked a controversy in the African-American community when he ranted unknowingly into a live television microphone that Obama was taking a different stance to the older generation of black leaders.

"I want to cut his nuts off," Jackson said.

But yesterday Obama reiterated his campaign stance that, even if they are disadvantaged, American blacks have to "do more in our own lives" rather than point the finger elsewhere.

"That starts with providing the guidance our children need, turning off the TV, and putting away the video games; attending those parent-teacher conferences, helping our children with their homework, and setting a good example."

In his fight for the presidency, Obama, the son of a white mother from Kansas and a black Kenyan father, has consciously avoided billing himself as a 'black' candidate.

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