(LAS VEGAS CBS-KXNT) A day before First Lady Michelle Obama touches down in Las Vegas for a fundraising event, the White House invited local African Americans to a policy forum here, highlighting their top problems.
About 150 locals listened, as Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing Raphael Bostic reviewed progess he says President Obama has made since taking office, specifically on housing and job creation.
“Even for African Americans, who are finding significant troubles and continue to have problems, things are better,” Bostic said. “The unemployment rate is down,” Bostic said. “It’s not down as far as it needs to go, but we are seeing progress in that regard.”
In order to appreciate the president’s progress, Bostic said, it’s necessary to look back and see where the nation has been. He reviewed familiar statistics about the state of the U.S. economy under George W. Bush, whose administration he said set the stage for the job losses incurred during the early Obama years.
“This administration has created 4 million jobs in the time the president has been in office,” said Bostic.
Bostic hinted at a theme President Obama is using in the early stage of his campaign. Without mentioning presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney, Bositc cited the “let it bottom out” remedy for the foreclosure crisis, as articulated by Romney during a visit to Las Vegas last fall.
“Instead of letting the housing markets in our poorest communities hit rock bottom…” Bostic said, ‘President Obama said we’re going to help struggling homeowners.”
This echoes the president’s recent efforts to distinguish his own proposals from laissez faire Republican policies.