Andrew links to Obama responding to the Bell Curve in 1994. I found his analysis to be about what I'd expect. Much more interesting is this:
For blacks, that means taking greater responsibility for the state of our own communities. Too many of us use white racism as an excuse for self-defeating behavior. Too many of our young people think education is a white thing and that the values of hard work and discipline andself-respect are somehow outdated.
That being said, it's time for all of us, and now I'm talking about the larger American community, to acknowledge that we've never even come close to providing equal opportunity to the majority of black children. Real opportunity would mean quality prenatal care for all women and well-funded and innovative public schools for all children. Real opportunity would mean a job at a living wage for everyone who was willing to work, jobs that can return some structure and dignity to people's lives and give inner-city children something more than a basketball rim to shoot for. In the short run, such ladders of opportunity are going to cost more, not less, than either welfare or affirmative action. But, in the long run, our investment should payoff handsomely. That we fail to make this investment is just plain stupid. It's not the result of an intellectual deficit. It's theresult of a moral deficit.
That is 1994, when Obama IDed himself as "a civil rights lawyer and writer." I disagree with portions of the first part of his analysis. That said, this is basically the same formulation on race that Obama has today. He may recognize that this plays well for white people. But it is also what he and his wife, if I may add, are on the record as believing for many years now. It may be political calculation. But it's also what he actually thinks.