Obama Downplays Affirmative Action As an Issue

July 2, 2009 - 1:55 PM
President Barack Obama says he's never believed that affirmative action is as much of an issue as it's been made out to be.
Washington (AP) - President Barack Obama says he's never believed that affirmative action is as much of an issue as it's been made out to be.
 
He says it hasn't been as "potent a force for racial progress" as its supporters have said, and that it hasn't been as bad for white students or job applicants as its critics say.
 
In an Associated Press interview Thursday, Obama said affirmative action can be made an "afterthought" when problems such as malnutrition, poverty and substandard schools are dealt with, and "everybody has a level playing field."
 
He said the recent Supreme Court decision in favor of white firefighters who were denied promotion in New Haven, Conn., was a "very narrow" case, and that it's "hard to gauge" where the court will go next on the issue.