BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A White House advisor defends Obama policies affecting African-Americans during a forum at Morgan State University on Friday.

Political reporter Pat Warren reports the forum follows Republican Mitt Romney’s statements at the NAACP National Convention this week.

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney told the NAACP this week that under the Obama administration African-Americans are worse off now than they were before the president took office.

“The unemployment rate, the duration of unemployment, average income, median family wealth, are all worse in the black community,” Romney said.

The White House hosted an African-American regional policy forum at Morgan State University.

White House senior advisor Valerie Jarrett tells WJZ the president has the best interest of all Americans at heart.

“When the president took office we were losing four million jobs just in the last six months of the prior administration. We lost another 4 million jobs before any of the president’s policies could take hold, so certainly we are working our way out of this incredible mess,” Jarrett said.

The June labor report cites the unemployment rate for African-Americans at 14.4 percent compared to 8.2 percent of whites.

“We all know that the African-American community suffered before this last recession. We have been having tough times for a very, very long time because of the policies of the prior administration,” Jarrett said.

A recent Gallup poll shows 87 percent of African-Americans support Obama. About 5 percent support Romney.

African-American or not, President Obama is expected to carry Maryland, a state where Democrats rule.

The Morgan State forum is the fourth in a series of African-American policy discussions held around the country.


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