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Morgan Freeman Says Barack Obama Isn’t America’s First Black President

Morgan Freeman, President Obama
Frederick M. Brown / Roger L. Wollenberg, Getty Images

Thanks to his support of civil rights, Bill Clinton has been wryly dubbed by some as “America’s first black president.” But chances are good Morgan Freeman disagrees with that — in fact, he says even Barack Obama doesn’t qualify for the title.

“People who are setting up this barrier for him … they just conveniently forget that Barack had a mama, and she was white — very white American, Kansas, middle of America,” Freeman told NPR, adding, “America’s first black president hasn’t arisen yet … [Obama] is America’s first mixed-race president.”

Race aside, the Oscar-winning actor said the claims that the President’s policies have been a failure is “a misappropriation of the facts.”

“He is being purposely, purposely thwarted by the Republican Party, who started out at the beginning of his tenure by saying, ‘We are going to do whatever is necessary to make sure that he’s only going to serve one term,’” he said. “That means they will not cooperate with him on anything.”

But Freeman, who recently received the Lincoln Medal of Honor for his work promoting education and his post-Hurricane Katrina rebuilding efforts, says perseverance is what really matters.

“The surest way to fail [at] anything is to quit,” he said. “Very often, you know, you stop walking because you say, ‘Well, I’m tired of climbing this hill. I’m never going to get to the top.’ And you’re only two steps from the top.”


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