From pool report today:
A lipstick-smeared president marked the end of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month in the East Room. He paid tribute to the contributions the AAPI community has made to the country, hailed the importance of immigration to America and called for lawmakers to find a way to fix today’s broken system. But before he could get to the tributes or the praise, he had to explain away the red smear on his right collar. After greeting the almost 300 in the audience with “Aloha,” he praised the warmth of their welcome. “A sign of the warmth,” he said, is “the lipstick on my collar.” He blamed the aunt of Jessica Sanchez. Sanchez, of Chula Vista, Calif., was the runner-up in the 11th season of American Idol. Making sure everybody could see the offending mark, the president pivoted, pointed to it and said, “Look at this.” He added, “I do not want to be in trouble with Michelle, so I am calling you out.”
Continue reading White House pool report and President Obama’s remarks at the the East Room celebration marking the end of AAPI Heritage Month
The White House is using APA month in May to launch its Asian American Pacific Island Initiative, which hopes to continue what the Clinton administration had started and what the Bush administration ignored.
Kiran Ahuja, the White House initiative’s executive director,acknowledged that the Clinton administration did a lot of work in the tail end of its tenue by identifiying issue areas like education and health as Asian American community concerns. But the Bush administration, she said scaled back the scope and focused on entrepeneurship in its day before finally letting the White Hous initiative die.
Now Ahuja said she plans to build on the work of the Clinton administration, essentially making up for lost time and lost momentum.
“We’re ready to hit the ground running,” Ahuja told a telephone news conference. The broader focus will include data collection on education, health care and jobs to help identify where Asian Americans are underserved. “We know across the board there are barriers to the community being engaged.”
Ahuja was not specific but said the May roll out will begin an effort that will include high level agency heads in the government meeting with community leaders.
Again, a good first step as a show of concern for our community. But it does also show how the community has been ignored in some vital areas during the Bush years.