The following is a transcript of “The Tom Joyner Morning Show’s” interview with President Barack Obama that aired Tuesday morning. It originally appeared on BlackAmericaWeb.com.
TOM JOYNER: On the line right now is the president of the United States, Barack Obama. Good morning, Big Chief.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Tom Joyner, how are you, my friend?
TOM JOYNER: I’m good. I’m good. I heard you’re busy.
Well, obviously we spent the weekend dealing with this hurricane situation. And as I was mentioning, it obviously is heartbreaking for families who lost loved ones, people who are seeing their homes flooded out. But it could have been a lot worse. So, thanks to the great preparations done at the state, local and federal levels, it looks like we’re going to have some clean-up to do, but we averted what could have been a real tragedy.
TOM JOYNER: You got a price tag yet?
No, don’t have a price tag yet - a lot of assessments still being done. There’s still a lot of flooding going on up in the Northeast - states like Vermont are getting very hard hit. But we’ll be able to dig our way out of this thing. And it was a testament, though, to the outstanding work that a lot of public officials did in terms of making sure that the preparations were there. Right now, we’re probably going to be dealing with a lot of power outages, a lot of road clean-up, transit, things like that.
SYBIL WILKES: How about your girls, sir? Did they sustain any damage at your vacation spot?
No. Look, it was fine in Massachusetts up through the time that we left, and so they spent yesterday inside pondering the fact that they need to go back to school. (Laughter) So the fun and games are over. Mom said it’s time to start turning off the TV and hitting the books.
TOM JOYNER: Yes, it is that time, huh?
It is, absolutely.
TOM JOYNER: Okay. Let’s talk about, first of all, the MLK dedication. They’re going to reschedule it. You don’t have a time or date yet?
We don’t have a date yet. But those who’ve had a chance to see the monument, it is a moving and powerful thing. When you think about how this is a man who didn’t have a title, didn’t have a rank in the military, but just led a nation in rediscovering its ideals and its values, and to have him staring out across the water towards the Jefferson Monument is a reminder of what’s possible in this country. So I know those who’ve already seen it have just been moved to tears by its presence, and it’s going to be an extraordinary legacy for this country for many years to come.
But obviously what I hope it reminds us of is how much more work we still have to do. Dr. King helped to catalyze, along with that entire generation of heroes, the progress that allowed me to be sitting in this Oval Office right now. But I think it’s always important to remember that when Dr. King gave the “I Have a Dream” speech, that was a march for jobs and justice, not just justice. And in the last part of his life, when he went down to Memphis, that was all about sanitation workers saying, “I am a man,” and looking for economic justice and dealing with poverty. And so it’s not enough for us to just remember the sanitized versions of what Dr. King stood for; he made a real call for