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  • Official White House photo/ Pete Souza
  • President Obama in the Oval Office in February

You’d think that if President Obama were going to speak for 54 minutes about our economic troubles, in an address that acknowledged that Americans are suffering, he’d devote at least ten minutes to talking about who was suffering the most. Or two minutes. Or one.

But why should yesterday be any different? The president is a gifted speaker. When it comes to poverty, silence is one of his special skills.

When he assumed office in 2009 Obama developed an allergy to the word poverty, and the allergy has remained severe. The president has savvy advisers who’ve undoubtedly warned him to keep a healthy distance from the word and subject, especially because he’s African-American.