President Obama sat for an interview with radio host Tom Joyner. Here’s the transcript. Of his speech today: “All I can do on an occasion like this is just to celebrate the accomplishments of all of those folks whose shoulders we stand on and then remind people that the work is still out there for us to do, and that we honor his speech but also, more importantly in many ways, the organization of the ordinary people who came out for that speech. We honor them not by giving another speech ourselves — because it won’t be as good — but instead by just doing the day-to-day work to make sure this is a more equal and more just society.”
Of what Martin Luther King Jr. would think of Obamacare, Obama said, “Oh, he would like that. Well, because I think he understood that health care, health security is not a privilege; it’s something that in a country as wealthy as ours, everybody should have access to.”
File this one away for fact checking in two years… Of Obamacare’s cost, the president said: “For a lot of people, it will be cheaper than your cell phone bill.”
And: “President Barack Obama says he got teary while watching ‘Lee Daniels’ The Butler,’ a movie about a black White House servant who worked for several presidents. Obama says he reflected on the effects of discrimination on a generation of people. He says that generation displayed dignity and tenacity and, quote, ‘put up with a whole lot of mess because they hoped for something better for their kids.’”
The Washington Post: “Obama’s relationship with the American civil rights movement has been a vexing one, challenging a cool, intellectual president to engage the memories and expectations of pioneers who marched, resisted and, in some cases, died before his birth. On Wednesday, the arc of that relationship will reach from Grant Park to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. On the spot where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. described his dream 50 years ago, Obama will define a new front in the fight for equality and identify the mounting threats to progress emerging today.”
NBC's Carrie Dann: "As he stands – literally – in the footsteps of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Wednesday to commemorate the movement that paved the way to his presidency, President Barack Obama faces the unique challenge of paying tribute to King’s vision without the urgent focus on racial discrimination that motivated the original March on Washington....Obama’s presidency – after five years and two decisive elections – is a self-evident tribute to the realization of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. But his job title also means that he’s charged with separating his own identity from the task of improving the lives of all Americans, creating a balancing act as he prepares to deliver an anticipated address from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial marking the anniversary of the march."
New York Times: "For Mr. Obama, Dr. King has been an idol, role model and burden since he assumed the presidency. He keeps a bust of the civil rights leader in the Oval Office along with a framed program from the 1963 march, and some of his favorite lines have been adopted from Dr. King. But as the nation’s first black president, Mr. Obama has found that no matter how much supporters may want to compare them, he cannot be a latter-day Dr. King."
AP: “Vice President Joe Biden says there is no doubt that Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government is responsible for the heinous use of chemical weapons. Biden’s comments Tuesday make him the highest-ranking U.S. official to say the Syrian regime is the culprit in a large-scale chemical weapons attack on Aug. 21.”