President Barack Obama rarely utters the words "poor" or "poverty" in his speeches and public communications, putting him at the bottom of the list of modern presidents who discussed the issue, according to a new study.
The study by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University found that of all the presidents dating back to John F. Kennedy, Obama ranks last in speaking about the poor, having mentioned them in just 26 percent of his public comments during his presidency, even though 46 million Americans are living in poverty with record numbers of people on food stamps, The Washington Times reported
By comparison, former Republican President George H.W. Bush was second to last on the scale at 50 percent. The president who talked most often about the poor was Democrat Lyndon Johnson, who in 84 percent of his public comments mentioned people living in poverty, the Times reported.
According to one expert, however, Obama's lack of rhetoric on the issue is not a reflection on his priorities.
"There may not be as many specific pronouncements on poverty as an issue, but I think that his actions at addressing the well-being of people at the bottom of the economic ladder come from there," Rachel Black, a specialist on policies for low-income families at the nonpartisan New America Foundation, told the Times.
Black said on a number of legislative fronts, the president has proven his commitment to protecting poor families, including his support for an increase in the minimum wage, his opposition to cuts in the food stamp program, and the enactment of Obamacare. Black also noted that poor families, along with most other income levels, benefited last year when the Bush-era tax cuts were extended for families earning less than $450,000.
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