Sharpton: Debt Fight about 'Your Mama,' Not Obama

By Staff | July 28, 2011 | 5:29 PM EDT

The Rev. Al Sharpton speaks during the National Urban League annual conference in Boston, Thursday, July 28, 2011. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

BOSTON (AP) — The fight in Congress about raising the nation's debt limit isn't about President Barack Obama, but rather, "your mama," the Rev. Al Sharpton said Wednesday.

The New York-based civil rights activist told the National Urban League convention in Boston that efforts to drastically cut spending in exchange for raising the debt limit, as some House Republicans want, would put Social Security at risk.

"This is not about Obama. It's about your mama," Sharpton said to laughter and applause. "Social Security is about our mamas. And if Obama is a way to protect our mamas then I'm not ashamed to stand with Obama."

He urged advocates to change the conversation about the debt limit to one about creating more jobs, which are the convention's theme.

National Urban League officials say the effects of government default would put more strain on black families.

Sharpton, a former Democratic candidate for president in 2004 and president of the National Action Network, also attacked "states' righters" for using the debt crisis to "destabilize" the central government. He said those strong advocates for states' rights would love to see the federal government destabilized under Obama's administration.

In April, Obama addressed Sharpton's National Action Network and conceded there were times when people "lose hope" over whether national politics will ever change.