NEW ORLEANS – Thousands of journalists have descended on the city this week for the National Association of Black Journalists convention.
They have come to talk shop and explore the Crescent City.
Wednesday night Vice-President Joe Biden talked to the members of the NABJ, but his talk was less about journalism and more about the November presidential election.
Biden spent much of the night attacking GOP candidate Mitt Romney, but he did take some time to talk about New Orleans.
“It’s a great city and it’s coming back,” he said. “I just spent some time with Mayor Landrieu… He’s doing a great job. I think the city needs a little more help, but that’s another story.”
Biden was critical of GOP candidate Romney’s support of a Republican tax cut plan.
“It cuts Medicare, Medicaid by $810 billion, which means 19 million people will lose access to health care,” he said. “Where do they think these people will go in cities like New Orleans and Philadelphia and Los Angeles and Detroit?”
Biden spent much of the night drawing a line in the sand, saying that Romney “doesn’t understand what’s going on with the average American.”
Biden also attacked the Republican Party’s desire to give tax breaks to businesses.
“Ask them how they’re going to pay for their tax cuts?” he said, citing specifically incentives toward oil companies for exploring. “Guess what? The oil companies don’t need $4 billion in incentives to go out and explore. As my grandpa would say, ‘they’re going just fine, thank you.’”
The theme of this year’s NABJ conference is New Platforms and New Directions. In that light, major cutbacks at the Times-Picayune weren’t ignored.
“As we come together this week, we cannot overlook the events that happened last week at my home paper, the Times-Picayune, a 175-year-old institution where they laid off 200 employees,” said NABJ President Gregory Lee.
Lee added that hosting the five-day convention in New Orleans is a move that is long overdue. “This is my hometown,” he declared. “We haven’t been here since 1983, so it’s been a long time coming for us.”