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Tavis Smiley, Cornel West on the 2012 Election and the Neglected Issue of US Poverty

As the most expensive presidential election in U.S. history comes to an end, broadcaster Tavis Smiley and professor, activist Dr. Cornel West join us to discuss President Obama’s re-election and their hopes for a national political agenda in and outside of the White House during Obama’s second term.

At a time when one in six Americans is poor, the price tag for combined spending by federal candidates — along with their parties and outside groups like super PACs — totaled more than $6 billion. Together, West and Smiley have written the new book, "The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto." Both Tavis and Smiley single out prominent progressives whom they accuse of overlooking Obama’s actual record.

"We believe that if [Obama] is not pushed, he’s going to be a transactional president and not a transformational president," Smiley says. "And we believe that the time is now for action and no longer accommodation. ... To me, the most progressive means that you’re taking some serious risk. And I just don’t see the example of that."

West says that some prominent supporters of Obama "want to turn their back to poor and working people. And it’s a sad thing to see them as apologists for the Obama administration in that way." Click here to see part 2 of this interview.

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