Obama: ‘I Will Never Engage in a Politics in Which I’m Trying to Divide People’

By CNSNews.com Staff | June 3, 2015 | 11:51am EDT
President Barack Obama at June 2, 2015 White House meeting with YSEALI fellows. (Screen capture)

(CNSNews.com) - President Barack Obama said during a town hall meeting at the White House on Tuesday that he would never engage in a politics that was aimed at dividing people along the lines of race, ethnicity, religion or gender.

Soon afterward, in taking questions from the audience, the president specifically stipulated whether the next question would be permitted from a man or a woman.

“I know that one of the important principles for me has always been treating everybody fairly,” said Obama. “So whether that's women or people of different races or different religious faiths or different sexual orientations, that one of my core principles is that I will never engage in a politics in which I’m trying to divide people or make them less than me because they look different or have a different religion.  That's a core principle.  That's not something I would violate, right?”

“Don’t divide yourself on religious and ethnic lines and racial lines,” Obama said a little bit later in his presentation. “And don’t discriminate against women.  If you do those two things, you’re not guaranteed success but at least you’re not guaranteed failure.

“I’ve got time for one more, two more. I definitely don’t have time for 30 more. Two more. I’ve got time for two more,” said Obama. “It’s a gentleman’s turn.”

On the next question, the president told the men in the room to put their hands down.

“Last question. And all the men should put down their hands because it’s a woman’s turn,” said the president. “No, all the guys have to put their hands down. This young lady in the yellow right here, right in the corner, right here.”

The president’s town hall gathered together fellows participating in the administration’s Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative. The program gives “young leaders aged 18-35 who are citizens of and reside in an ASEAN country” professional and academic fellowships to come to the United States.

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