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VP Pool 1
Fred Lucas • The Daily Signal
February 27, 2017: 06:35 PM

Pool was escorted into room 350 of the EEOB at 5:34 p.m.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was at the front table.

VPOTUS came to the podium at 5:36 p.m. to applause from the gathered university presidents.

Key points were thanking the HBCU presidents for their contributions to the country, pledging the administration will partner with HBCUs on their mission and speaking toward the end about school choice for younger students.

Two screens behind each side of the podium said, "White House Historically Black College and University 2017 Listening Session."

Please check quotes against transcript.

Pence referenced Secretary DeVos, and said, "I can't tell you how wonderful it is to say that." Perhaps a reference to his tie breaking vote in her confirmation.

The audience applauded.

Pence noted that the presidents met earlier in the day with POTUS.

"My notes said the president wants me to send his greetings to you, but he already did."

The line gained some laughs.

"Your path has not been an easy one through the long 150 year history of your institutions. Your students, your faculty, your professors have stood firm through a transformational time."

VPOTUS quoted Martin Luther King Jr. and Frederick Douglas during his remarks and said of HBCUs "You've transformed lives through education and helped lead our country to a more perfect union."

"The president and I admire the contributions of historically black colleges and universities," and asked them to give themselves a round of applause.

He noted there are more than 100 HBCUs in 19 states, DC and the Virgin Islands, with more than 300,000 graduates, many who were the first in their family to go to college.

"Nearly one in four African Americans with a bachelor's degree graduated from your schools."

"As a former member of Congress I'm happy to report, 40 percent of African American members of Congress graduated from a historically black college or university."

"As the president said in his recent radio address, your schools do a quote, ‘fantastic job.' His words. You deserve far more credit than you get."

"This administration is committed to making sure our historically black college and universities get the credit and attention they deserve."

VPOTUS said the administration is focused on helping all students at an early age.

"Secretary DeVos is dedicated to expanding opportunities through educational choice all across this country, ensuring that whether it's a public school, a public charter school or even a private school, that parents on an increasing basis are able choose for their young children the school regardless of their income and area code."

He thanked the audience and wrapped up the speech at 5:47 p.m. The pool was being ushered out when VPOTUS said he would like to do a group photo with the HBCU presidents.

VPOTUS press office says a list of names of attendees is coming.

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