When asked about the problem of children born to single mothers in the black community, President Barack Obama defended his record, saying it is an issue he and first lady Michelle Obama address "explicitly all the time."
"Poverty is driven by the dissolution of the American family," Fox News host Bill O'Reilly noted in part two of his "Super Bowl Sunday" interview with Obama that aired Monday evening. "... But seventy-two percent of babies in the African-American community are born out of wedlock. Why isn't there a campaign by you and the First Lady to address that problem very explicitly?"
Obama answered that he has addressed it by delivering speeches.
"Actually, Bill, we address it explicitly all the time. I'll send you at least 10 speeches I've made since I've been president talking about the importance of men taking responsibility for their children, talking about the importance of young people delaying gratification, talking about the importance of, when it comes to child rearing, paying child support, spending time with your kids, reading with them.
"So whether it's getting publicity or not is a whole different question. This is something that we focus on all the time."
O'Reilly argued that the issue has not been a "hallmark" of his administration and little has been done about the issue beyond delivering speeches.
Obama responded that his administration will he holding city-level meetings with "philanthropists and business leaders" to address "these kinds of problems at the local level." He then argued that the decline in marriage is partly due to high unemployment and the lack of good jobs.
"You're starting to see in a lot of white working class homes, similar problems – when men can't find good work, when the economy is shutting ladders of opportunity off from people, whether they're black, white, Hispanic, it doesn't matter. Then that puts pressure as well on the home. So you've got an interaction between the economy that isn't generating enough good jobs for folks who traditionally could get blue-collar jobs even if they didn't have a higher education, and some legitimate social concerns. That compounds the problem and so we want to hit both.
"We want to make sure that we're putting folks back to work and making sure that they're well-paid. We also want to make sure that we're dealing with some of the social issues that you're addressing."
The Christian Post covered one of the speeches Obama was referring to last May. At his commencement address to Morehouse College, an all-black male college in Atlanta, Obama encouraged the graduates to break the cycle of fatherlessness in the black community.
"I want to break that cycle where a father is not at home, where a father is not helping to raise that son or daughter. I want to be a better father, a better husband, a better man. ... Everything else is unfulfilled if we fail at family, if we fail at that responsibility," he said.