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March 7, 2009 - 8:24am

NPR reports Obama apparently backing away from promise for rural summit

posted by Howard B. Owens in Barack Obama, rural.

Early in his campaign for president, Barack Obama promised to call Republican and Democratic leaders together within his first 100 days for a rural summit.

NPR's Howard Berkes reports that the Obama White House seems to be backing away from that promise.

Inouye then cited rural initiatives in the stimulus bill and Obama's proposed budget. "His administration is taking affirmative steps to help strengthen rural America."

As to the pledge of a rural summit in the first 100 days, Inouye said, "[Obama] is working with his Cabinet, advisers and congressional allies to form a comprehensive rural agenda, and is planning on hosting a forum to discuss those ideas."

That's a commitment to do something, but not in the first 100 days, and not in the form of a summit in Iowa.

Yes, a lot has changed since Obama made his pledge, and it doesn't appear that Obama's administration is completely forgetting rural towns.  And I'm not even sure, frankly, what a rural summit would accomplish.

But it's good that reporters like Berkes are out there looking after rural America's interest.

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