Van Jones: Obama should do ‘poverty tour’

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Former Obama adviser and CNN political analyst Van Jones suggested President Obama go on a “poverty tour” as a way to mitigate some of the criticism surrounding news he’ll make $400,000 for a speech at a Wall Street firm’s healthcare conference. 

“We need a Bobby Kennedy in this country,” Jones said in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday.

He suggested the former president “go to Appalachia, go to Native American reservations where they’re shoving these pipelines down their throats and they don’t even have clear, running water. Go to South Central, go to the Arizona border where you have a lot of poverty.”

He noted that most recent presidents have made such paid remarks after leaving office, and said Obama “should not be the first president to have to be broke.”

But, he added, “If he would do a poverty tour first, from a moral point of view, it would be great for him to do.”

{mosads}Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has also expressed disappointment with the former president for making paid remarks to Wall Street. 

“Wall Street has incredible power, and I would have hoped that the president would not have given a speech like this,” Sanders said Friday, echoing comments  from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who on Thursday said that she was “troubled” by the speaking fee.

But Jones warned Sunday against having a “double standard” for Obama.

“Every other president went out there and gave big speeches — don’t hold them to a second standard, don’t give a double standard to him,” he said.

“If I [had] the opportunity that he has, I would do a big poverty tour for six months. Everywhere I go, it’s poverty, addiction and high death rates. From West Virginia to South Central.

“If he were to do that, then go ahead, do a big speech later.”

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