Gibbs: President Believes You Have to Use Your Heart in Your Policy

At yesterday’s White House Press Briefing, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs articulated something that I believe a lot of Democrats have forgotten, and what I believe sets the core values of the party, liberal values, apart from the party of Limbaugh:

I think the President is a believer in this – and that is you have to use your heart in your policy; that the President believes strongly in the investments that he’s asked the Congress to join him in, in this budget.

While Republicans think we should fail our way out of this jam, and Democrats in Congress think the President should slow his roll, Americans want bold action. They voted for it in November.

Both parties should take notice of what Gibbs said today. Americans are ready for some real compassion.

Gibbs’ remark was part of a lengthy exchange with AURN’s April Ryan:

April: Robert, I want to piggyback off of Ann Compton’s question last night on race. Today, the National Urban League came out with the State of Black America 2009: A Message to the President. Also, this month marks the one-year anniversary of President Obama’s famous race speech in Philadelphia.

Now, going back to the State of Black America, it says there’s a tale of two black Americas. One is for pride for the President, Barack Obama. And then the other one, it goes on to say our prisons are disproportionately populated by African American males, the economic crisis is hitting our communities especially hard, leaving huge numbers of African Americans without homes, jobs, or life savings. We see an unemployment rate that’s double that of whites, and wide academic achievement gaps.

What say you? And how is this administration going to deal with the issues on a socioeconomic level, as well as the issue of race, compassion, heart issue?

MR. GIBBS: Well, as I talked about earlier, the best way to deal with a number of the statistics that you talk about; a rising achievement gap, rising unemployment, and a disparity – in that is to make important investments in things like health care and education, and to work toward an economic recovery.

I think the President believes we took a step forward in that in his plan that he believes will save or create 3.5 million jobs; that will make critical investments, down payments in education reform; open up the doors of opportunity not just for young people and early childhood education, but also through tax credits to make college more affordable, or in this budget, that will raise the level of Pell Grants that are available for students.

I think the President believes that we’ve got a long way to go in this country to providing more hope and opportunity, and to get our economy moving again is one of the best ways to begin that.

April: Is some of this a heart issue, an issue of compassion? I mean, you know, there are disproportionate numbers across the board, according to this book from the Urban League. Is some of this a heart issue versus just policy?

MR. GIBBS: Well, absolutely. I mean, I think, first of all, you have to – and I think the President is a believer in this – and that is you have to use your heart in your policy; that the President believes strongly in the investments that he’s asked the Congress to join him in, in this budget. That’s why priority was put on a big expansion in education funding in the Recovery Plan, again, to ensure that kids were getting a healthy head start.

We all know the statistics about early childhood education and the difference that it makes even before kids get to kindergarten. As the President talked about a few weeks ago, investing in our teachers. The single most important aspect of any child’s education is who is standing in front of their classroom each day, instructing them and helping them learn – whether at a young age, the basics, or math and science as they get older and into high school, and hopefully, providing more and more young people with the grades and the opportunity to seek higher education.

And I think the President challenged all of America to, in his speech to Congress, to seek one year of post-high school education, whether it’s vocational training or college education, to create a more educated workforce that can meet the growing demand for the jobs of the future.

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