Spotlight Exclusives

Campaign MemoSay More About the Poor

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Since you۪re reading Out of the Spotlight (aka OOTS) you know this blog was spawned by Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity: The Source for News, Ideas and Action. What you might not know is that Spotlight itself was spawned by a group of foundations that wanted poverty to get noticed during the 2008 Presidential campaign. As the 2012 campaign moves into high gear, news reports have begun to focus on this very issue, most notably The New York Times Magazine cover story, “Obama vs. Poverty” by Paul Tough, which looked at the evolution of the President۪s thinking on tackling poverty. OOTS is delighted to recognize the growing number of efforts (in addition to our own) that are drawing attention to what the candidates are and are not saying about poverty and opportunity in this country, including:   <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />


·         An initiative by Greg Kaufmann, who writes The Nation۪s This Week in Poverty blog, to get poverty experts۪ questions in front of the Obama and Romney campaigns. The goal is “to help push the issue of poverty into the mainstream political debate.”  Kaufmann explains that “each week a Talk About Poverty (#TalkPoverty*) post will feature three to five questions for President Obama and Governor Mitt Romney from experts who know antipoverty policy inside-out.” In about a month Kaufmann will select a set of questions and forward them onto the candidates for their answers. Already posted are questions from Peter Edelman. Kaufmann hopes to soon hear from the Romney campaign and has been advised that the Obama campaign will weigh in.


·         “The Unseen: America’s Hidden Poor,” a photography exhibit that will begin showing around Thanksgiving. The exhibit is a project of the campaign, which includes accomplished photographers and American writers who believe that “the stories of people struggling to overcome poverty deserve to be told – and that by sharing them we can inspire thousands and thousands of people to take action and create change.” The exhibit organizers are circulating information about the upcoming exhibit and its relation to the elections, noting “the appalling lack of attention paid to the poor by our elected officials and candidatesSome say an election year isn۪t the right time to talk about poverty. When IS the right time to talk about 1 in 5 American children living in poverty?…We are photojournalists united against poverty.  Because you can۪t fix what you can۪t see.”


·         An effort by Half in Ten: The Campaign to Cut Poverty in Half in Ten Years and its coalition partners to urge the moderators of the presidential debates to ask a question about poverty.  The first debate will be held on October 3 from 9:00-10:30 p.m. EST and will focus on domestic policy. 


If you know of similar efforts to draw attention to poverty and opportunity during the campaign, please pass them on to Spotlight.

Posted by Jodie

Here at Out of the Spotlight, we offer a behind-the-scenes look at the latest news and information essential to anyone working to fight poverty. From key political appointees to clashes over policy, we cover the news that doesn’t always make the evening news. Check out Out of the Spotlight for our take on the twists and turns of the latest political developments and their impact on poverty reduction. Topics and ideas are welcome! Just contact or


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