President Obama spoke to the Congressional Black Caucus awards banquet over the weekend.
Those folks will stick with him in 2012, of course.
But they've been somewhat miffed in recent months that the first post-partisan president is doing too many deals with those Republicans and seeming to give in.
So, Obama needed to give the crowd some presidential love. He even brought his wife along. As with virtually all of Obama's speeches recently, the Democrat's remarks dealt with selling his jobs legislation, as if it wasn't DOA on Capitol Hill.
The first black president got to reminiscing about some other struggles in the past familiar to African Americans.
His 28 minutes of remarks had a strange tone to them, as if somehow Obama was equating support for his jobs program legislation with the far more important and historic civil rights movement.
He got into the usual yada-yada about rich people paying their fair share of taxes.
And then, deep into the speech, according to the White House transcript, the president said:
When you start saying, at a time when the top one-tenth of 1 percent has seen their incomes go up four or five times over the last 20 years, and folks at the bottom have seen their incomes decline -- and your response is that you want poor folks to pay more?
Give me a break.
If asking a billionaire to pay the same tax rate as a janitor makes me a warrior for the working class, I wear that with a badge of honor. I have no problem with that.
That's what the transcript says he said.
Now, watch the C-SPAN video below, and listen especially to the phrase "the same tax rate as a janitor..."
Here is what the president actually said, catching himself almost in time but not quite:
If asking a billionaire to pay the same tax rate as a Jew, uh, as a janitor makes me a warrior for the working class, I wear that with a badge of honor. I have no problem with that.
The president has been muffing lines all over the place recently. Last week, also peddling his jobs plan at a bridge that won't qualify, he hailed America's building of "the Intercontinental Railroad." You don't seem to hear much about these gaffes in the media for some reason.
Maybe in Saturday night's speech Obama was thinking about all those talks on Israel in New York.
Video of the president's full CBC speech, via C-SPAN, of course, is available right here.
Obama is on the West Coast now, harvesting money again and closing roads in Los Angeles after doing the same in Seattle and San Jose Sunday.
-- Andrew Malcolm
Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta / Associated Press (Obama addresses the Congressional Black Caucus awards banquet, Sept. 24). Video: Courtesy of C-SPAN.