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Obama agenda: You've got a friend in me

“For a president coping with a hyper-partisan Congress, a fix-resistent economy, a crack in the monument outside his living-room window, and a hurricane about to lash 60 million of his citizens, there were probably few better people for him to have dinner with last night,” the Boston Globe reports. “President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama dined at the tasty State Road restaurant on Martha’s Vineyard with Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and state first lady Diane Patrick.”

Obama will need a support system, because Cornell West has been a thorn in his side, and does it again today with an op-ed in the New York Times: “The age of Obama has fallen tragically short of fulfilling King’s prophetic legacy. Instead of articulating a radical democratic vision and fighting for homeowners, workers and poor people in the form of mortgage relief, jobs and investment in education, infrastructure and housing, the administration gave us bailouts for banks, record profits for Wall Street and giant budget cuts on the backs of the vulnerable.”

The Washington Post: “From the start of his history-making tenure, the nation’s first black president took care never to be seen making policy or political decisions aimed solely or directly at black America. His position: He is the president of the whole country, focused on broad-based fixes to ‘lift all boats.’ The race-avoidance strategy served President Obama well, helping him attract support from many whites while also mobilizing African Americans energized by the powerful symbol of a black commander in chief. But a soaring jobless rate among African Americans and a newfound comfort by black lawmakers to criticize Obama’s economic policies are prompting the White House to recalibrate — and to focus more directly on the struggles of black America.” For example: “This week, the White House dispatched a top official to participate in a Congressional Black Caucus jobs forum in Miami that had been scheduled in part to pressure the White House.”

Bloomberg’s Jonathan Alter has Obama’s back: Tell me again why Barack Obama has been such a bad president? I’m not talking here about him as a tactician and communicator. We can agree that he has played some bad poker with Congress. And let’s stipulate that at the moment he’s falling short in the intangibles of leadership. … What, specifically, has he done wrong on policy? What, specifically, would you have done differently to create jobs? And what can any of the current Republican candidates offer that would be an improvement on the employment front? I’m not interested in hearing ad hominem attacks or about your generalized ‘disappointment.’”