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Tavis Smiley was set to deliver the keynote address at an MLK luncheon hosted by the Peoria Civic Center next week in central Illinois until a group of Obama supporters demanded that he be replaced or face a boycott, Politico reports.


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One of Obama’s most consistent critics, Smiley has often accused the President of not doing enough for the poor and the millions of African-Americans who helped elect him into the Oval Office. Smiley had this to say about his ouster as the MLK keynote speaker:

Tavis Smiley, the PBS talk show host who has criticized President Barack Obama for not doing enough for the African-American community, says he was ousted as the speaker at a Martin Luther King luncheon because he was trying to hold the president accountable.

“I don’t see my role as one of criticizing the president. I see my role as one of holding the president – this and every other president—accountable,” Smiley said on Fox News on Monday.

“Something is wrong with this country … that so often the political right, and I am no defender of the political right … gets accused of playing the game of political correctness. What this underscores is that those on the left, the Democrats can play that game of political correctness as well,” he added.

Smiley’s replacement will be Hip-Hop intellectual and Georgetown professor Michael Eric Dyson. Smiley was set to earn $37,000, but will be given a smaller cancellation fee instead.

Should officials at the Peoria Civic Center have buckled to the pressure of a few Obama supporters? And do you feel Tavis Smiley has been treated unfairly because he is a black public figure who criticizes the President? Give us your thoughts!

Read the rest of the story here.


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