At a July fundraiser in the elegant Mandarin Oriental hotel near Washington's Tidal Basin, President Obama met with some of his most steadfast supporters — two dozen political and business leaders eager to write sizable checks to help keep him in the White House.
All were leaders of Native American tribes, who pressed their issues with a president they say is attuned to their needs.
Bill John Baker, principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, told Obama his Oklahoma tribe was owed $50 million for its costs of administering federal health services.
"He said, 'Let me look into this and see what we can do,'" Baker recalled. A week later, he received a letter from the White House pledging to follow up. A White House spokesman said the administration had been reaching out to many tribes on the same issue.
"President Obama is a promise keeper," Baker said. "He promised that he would work with Indian country, that he would help us, and he has done that at every turn."
The tribes have shown their gratitude, giving at least $2.5 million to Obama's reelection campaign through the end of July — far outstripping their donations in other recent presidential elections, according to data provided by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.
As some of you know I have written before about the support that the President enjoys from our indigenous population, which I find extraordinarily impressive.
I am not sure I can articulate exactly why, but for some reason the very fact that these people, who have suffered for so many generations at the hands of the white invaders, now feel they have a champion with this much derided half black man, somehow feels like some sort of kismet to me.
It is also, by the way, yet another indication that this President of ours keeps his promises. At least when the Republicans don't block him from doing so.