If you doubted, even for a second, that the beef between Tavis Smiley and his friend and “poverty tour” partner Dr. Cornel West and President Obama was strictly personal, doubt it no more.
A lot has been written and said (examples here, here, and here, and former Smiley patron Tom Joyner’s blistering attack here…) about the personal (and frankly, petty) grievances that have propelled the hostility between Tavis, Dr. West and the president. But few people have put the matter as plainly as Tavis himself:
“Prior to his being elected, he came on my radio programs and TV programs with regularity,” Smiley said. “Once he got elected and my critique of him — about holding him accountable to various things didn’t sit so well with him or the people around him — he has not, at this point, come on my TV or radio programs one time since he’s been in this White House.”
Smiley said that Obama, whom he’s known for years, “is the first president in my professional career that hasn’t invited me to the White House.”
And there you have it, folks. Tavis didn’t get his White House invite (which of course is a critical first step toward ending poverty in America… ahem …) so therefore, it’s on, Mr. President.