In this Sept. 5, 2012, photo, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., addresses the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. The placards on display as former President Bill Clinton addre

 

              In this Sept. 5, 2012, photo, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., addresses the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. The placards on display as former President Bill Clinton addre
In this Sept. 5, 2012, photo, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., addresses the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. The placards on display as former President Bill Clinton addressed the DNC said, "Middle Class First." The rich also have featured in the rhetoric, albeit as a punching bag. But the poor? Not so much. They've been mentioned only fleetingly. The discrepancy makes sense, from the standpoint of campaign strategy for President Barack Obama. A large majority of Americas identify themselves as middle class, while the poor lack political clout for a host of reasons. Yet for a party that has long embraced a role as defender of the downtrodden, the rhetorical patterns are striking. Cleaver, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, also has noticed the trend _ both at the convention and in the preceding months of campaigning. He said he appointed a group of his caucus members to meet with Democratic Party and Obama campaign officials, "saying to them, there seems to be, whether intentional or not, an exclusion of poor people." (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)