NAACP LDF Head on President's Low Poll Numbers: America, Not Obama, Failed

On Saturday’s broadcast of “Melissa Harris Perry” on MSNBC, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Sherrilyn Ifill blamed the country and not President Barack Obama for the shortcomings of the federal government, which are reflected by Obama’s current low polling numbers.

“When we use the word ‘Washington,’ and we’re encompassing the president with Congress -- I think right now we can’t look at history when we’re in it,” Ifill said. “But the reality is America is failing and I think that’s how people are going to look back at this time. The president has had a couple of important moments in 2013. We shouldn’t forget he learned how to use the bully pulpit. That speech that he gave at the impromptu news conference after the verdict in the Trayvon Martin case – incredible, amazing. His speech after Newtown was critically important. His ability to use his executive power – all the things we were talking about earlier that Attorney General Eric Holder’s doing around mandatory minimums, the president choosing to pardon those eight people.”

Host Melissa Harris-Perry pointed to the lack of legislation brought forth in response to the Trayvon Martin and Newtown events to combat gun violence. Ifill persisted and said you still couldn’t tie that to Obama.

“That won’t attach to the president,” she responded. “At this moment his approval ratings are low because we’re failing and who else are we going to attribute that to? I think when we look back at this, it’s going to be America who failed. I don’t think it’s historically going to be attached to the president because he gave the speech, because he was so passionately made clear what his intentions and his desires were. So I think the president got a bloody nose this year. He sure did get a bloody nose. I think Congress got two black eyes, and America, our democracy got a black eye, too. And that’s what we’re going to be forced to confront in 2014."

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