Best Black President? Still Might Be Clinton

Obama has work to do to take that title: L. Douglas Wilder
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 13, 2011 1:18 PM CST
President Obama listens as Bill Clinton speaks in DC on Dec. 2.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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(Newser) – When Bill Clinton got tagged as the nation's "first black president," L. Douglas Wilder—the first black governor of Virginia—never quite bought it. When Barack Obama got elected, Wilder figured the US finally had the real deal. Three years in, however, Wilder isn't so sure that Obama has been a better president for African-Americans. Writing for Politico, he points out that Clinton appointed more high-level black officials and was especially aggressive in picking black judges.

Obama, not so much. In particular, Wilder has been disappointed that Obama let two Supreme Court picks go by without finding a worthy successor to Thurgood Marshall. (Clarence Thomas isn't even in the ballpark on the civil rights front, he notes.) "By birth and life experience, Clinton cannot lay claim to the title of first black president," writes Wilder. "But Obama needs to work harder to make it less obvious that Clinton, in governing deed, actually deserves it more that the 44th president does." Full column here. (Read more President Obama stories.)

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