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Obama Talks Voting Rights Act Threat at NAN Convention

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President Barack Obama was in New York Friday speaking before the Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network on voting rights, an issue that the president is signaling will become a larger focus in his remaining months in office. NY1's Josh Robin filed the following report.

President Barack Obama has been marking the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act.

In his Midtown speech Friday,

"You would think there would not be an argument about this anymore, but the stark simple truth is this: the right to vote is threatened today in a way that it has not been since the Voting Rights Act became law nearly five decades ago," Obama said.

The Democrat said Republicans aren't after fraud but, rather, political gains. They are demanding undue documentation, he said. And to knowing laughter, he recounted a personal experience in that matter.

"Just to be clear, I know where my birth certificate is, but a lot of people don't. A lot of people don't," Obama said. "You remember that? That was crazy. That was some crazy stuff."

The president has long railed against what he says are unfair voting laws. He also is wading deeper into race in his second term, pushing stronger mentoring of African-American young men.

The president also talked about what he said is an improving economy, and he also talked about expanding educational opportunities. Mayor Bill de Blasio wasn't in the audience, but Obama no doubt delighted City Hall when he mentioned the mayor by name.

"Opportunity means changing the odds for all of our children through pre-K, something Mayor de Blasio's fighting for here in New York City," the president said.

As for the Rev. Al Sharpton it's been no doubt a gratifying week. It started amid word he was an FBI informant against the mob, but a parade of officials to him this week showed him it didn't dilute his clout one bit.

The president last attended this meeting three years ago. He left to a standing ovation. It's unclear if he'll be there again as commander-in-chief. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP