Halperin, Heilemann: Obama Has Not Done Enough for Communities of Color

Tuesday on Bloomberg Politics “With All Due Respect,” hosts Mark Halperin and John Heilemann agreed in light of the many riots resulting from a string of controversies over deaths caused by law enforcement in communities of color, President Barack Obama has not done enough to address the problem.

When asked if President Barack Obama’s response has been enough, Heilemann said, “I think the answer is no. I don’t know that Barack Obama in any way can wave his magic wand and solve this problem. It is deeply enshrined in America, in big cities, small cities, any place where there are white police forces and communities of color. But I have to say, it’s such a huge problem the problem of criminal justice reform trying to deal with the massive incarceration with African-Americans largely in this country. The disparities in sentencing, all that stuff that feeds into this atmosphere that has created the problem in Ferguson the problem in Baltimore the problem in New York City. The whole country needs to take on. But in his time in office I don’t think President Obama has done enough to lead on it.”

Halperin agreed, saying, “I don’t think he has. Today, he was not particularly passionate although he did give a very long answer, a six-point answer. He is obviously thinking about it and he has a new  attorney general he can deploy. I believe this is  a classic case where Washington cannot solve the problem. Mayors and governors first and foremost have to get on it. You have a prominent African-American mayor and I think she has done a horrible job in dealing with this. Not just in recent events but when her city was dealing on legislation to get body cameras on cops. she did not do enough to get it passed in a timely fashion. I think the president can do more, but it is more important than governors and mayors do more.”

Heilemann continued, “There is a federal justice system, the disparities for sentences with crack verses regular cocaine and the racial disparities that that leads to. And a variety of other things that feed in this problem, mass incarceration that creates the racial tensions that play out. This is something that the federal government can take the lead even if it can’t solve the problem.”

“I can’t help but think that Bill Clinton would go 45  minutes down the road to Baltimore if he were president,” Halperin replied.

Heilemann said, “I totally agree.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN


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