Obama addresses Morehouse grads
by Bill Barrow, Associated Press Writer
May 20, 2013 12:10 AM | 1116 views | 5 5 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Morehouse College President John Silvanus Wilson Jr. smiles as President Barack Obama holds his honorary doctorate of laws degree during the Morehouse College 129th Commencement ceremony Sunday in Atlanta.
Morehouse College President John Silvanus Wilson Jr. smiles as President Barack Obama holds his honorary doctorate of laws degree during the Morehouse College 129th Commencement ceremony Sunday in Atlanta.
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ATLANTA — President Barack Obama is having a rough stretch politically, but the nation’s first black president was treated like a hero Sunday at the graduation ceremony for Morehouse College, the historically black men’s school that counts Martin Luther King Jr. among its alumni.

Hundreds of Morehouse alumni, families of graduates and anyone else who could get tickets to the restricted events arrived hours early and sat through several rounds of rainfall as they awaited Obama’s arrival.

“It’s absolutely worth it for a once-in-a-lifetime event like this,” said Marcus Forbes, a 2003 graduate who now lives in Los Angeles, of hours spent in a rainstorm that flooded streets around Atlanta.

It’s not unusual for sitting presidents — or nominees for president — to come to Atlanta, because it is a rich source of campaign cash. Obama’s itinerary included a stop at a Democratic Senate fundraiser hosted by Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank.

Sunday was the first time since the Great Depression that a sitting president has addressed a commencement in Georgia. President Franklin Roosevelt addressed a University of Georgia class in 1938.

Minutes before the processional began, Anne Watts, an associate vice president for academic affairs, explained why the festivities remained outdoors.

“The president didn’t come to see the Georgia World Congress Center,” she said to cheers. “He came to see a Morehouse commencement.”

When Obama emerged from a campus building with Morehouse President John Wilson Jr., he heard an ovation and looked out onto a sea of cameras and smart phones at the end of outstretched arms. Wilson was leading his first spring commencement since leaving the Obama administration in January.

The graduating class, seated in front, was particularly generous with their welcome, and Obama returned the favor, sprinkling his speech with insider reference to Morehouse life and traditions.

He told the “Morehouse men” — the traditional parlance — that they have a particular responsibility to their families and society as young, educated African-American men. With references to King and longtime Morehouse president Benjamin Mays, Obama encouraged them to use their opportunity for a greater good. He also worked a few congratulatory references to his 2010 health care overhaul.

The president did not mention successive controversies over his State Department’s handling of the Benghazi attacks, his Justice Department’s seizure of Associated Press telephone records or the IRS treatment of conservative activist groups seeking tax-exempt status.

U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights icon whose district includes Morehouse and the adjacent historically black campuses of Spelman College and Clark-Atlanta University, said Sunday wasn’t the place for a political defense.

“He’ll offer these young men and young people around the country a message of hope,” Lewis said before the speech. The furor in the capital, he added, is “mostly political theater. ... It will all be behind us soon.”
Comments
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oh my
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May 20, 2013
anothe crop of idiots to drink obama "kool-aid"

how sad that so many people cant see /hear the lies coming from obama
Lib in Cobb
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May 20, 2013
A moving speech, not only for the Morehouse graduates, but for all people.
Vorant
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May 20, 2013
"Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools"
When will it end?
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May 20, 2013
I just can't believe that G.W. Bush made it rain on Obama's special day here in Atlanta. Our Dear Leader only wants what is best for us after all and has hand-selected the people we read about daily to help us move Forward.
Lib in Cobb
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May 20, 2013
@When: George is not Mother Nature. George can't make it rain, but he can start wars based on lies, lies and compounded lies. George sent thousands to their graves and he sentenced tens of thousands to lives of anguish and horrific pain.

Enjoy the next four years.
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