Analysis: Lawmakers Respond To Obama's Speech About Race | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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Analysis: Lawmakers Respond To Obama's Speech About Race

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Some federal lawmakers from our area are playing key roles in the Congressional response to the Trayvon Martin case. Following remarks by President Obama Friday, Maryland Rep. Donna Edwards said she agrees with the President about the problem of racial inequality in the U.S. Meanwhile, a Congressman from Virginia has been asked to hold a hearing on the case. David Hawkings, writer of the Hawkings Here column for Roll Call, has some of the details.

On Maryland Rep. Donna Edwards and other members of the Congressional Black Caucus' response to Obama's speech about race:

"A little bit of a split opened up in the Congressional Black Caucus this weekend. As you know, there were rallies across the country to protest the verdict, and at some of those rallies, there was talk of an economic boycott of Florida, unless they repeal their 'Stand Your Ground' law. Some members of the CBC are in favor of that. Edwards was on TV expressing some significant caution about that. She said it could end up doing more harm than good to the African American economic communities of Florida. There's a little bit of a wedge there, but in general, the black members of Congress are sort of at the leading edge of those saying, like the president, we need to have a conversation about this."

On Virginia Rep. Bob Goodlatte writing a letter, asking to hold a Congressional hearing on the Trayvon Martin case:

"I'm extrapolating here, that there is no grounds for additional congressional hearings, because there's nothing that Congress can do. And Rep. Luis Gutierrrez would say, presumably, that what Congress can do is give voice to this discussion. The president obviously galvanized the country when he made an appearance in the briefing room to talk about his own experiences. There are other members who are eager to talk about their own experiences with this. There's a Senate candidate, the leading candidate, for an open Senate seat in New Jersey -- the mayor of New Jersey, Cory Booker."

On whether Obama will continue to highlight the issue of race:

"That is sort of the $64 question for those of us who pay close attention to the president. He hasn't talked all that much as president about his own experiences... He indicated on Friday that... he could give more voice to this."

Listen to the full analysis here.


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