By Anne Mosle
“What Does Obama Really Believe In?” by Paul Tough. New York Times magazine, August 15, 2012
This past summer, six weeks after he joined Ascend as a speaker on childhood poverty at the Aspen Ideas Festival, journalist and author Paul Tough published a riveting piece on President Obama in the New York Times magazine. “What Does Obama Really Believe?” explored President Barack Obama’s complex relationship to the politics of poverty, his history as a community organizer, and his seemingly stalled ambition to elevate new solutions for low-income families. The piece resonated with me for a couple reasons. Tough tells the story of Obama’s approach to poverty through the voices of youth advocates – families who have been affected by the economic crisis and whose resilience is humbling. He also highlights the critical value of providing opportunities for vulnerable parents and children together, and the need for targeted, big picture solutions for these families, strategies that bring different sectors together – a scenario he suggests can be spurred, but not executed solely, by government. For those seeking greater insight into the struggles of and opportunities to support vulnerable families, this is a must-read.