(POLITICO) President Barack Obama’s team is looking to hire more African-Americans, a search that has stirred a debate among black Democrats about Obama’s record on diversity and its implications for his reelection.

Stefanie Brown, director of the campaign’s African American Vote program, wrote in an “urgent” March 21 email to contacts in the black community that “The Obama for America campaign is in the process of really staffing up in states around the country, and I need your help to find qualified, African American candidates for some of these positions.” The email, a copy of which was obtained by POLITICO, notes that “this is a fast moving process and your (quick) support is greatly appreciated.”

Campaign manager Jim Messina created and runs a working group “dedicated to ensuring that we are looking at a diverse pool of applicants for jobs” — both African-Americans and members of other minority groups — a campaign official told POLITICO, and Latinos for Obama was launched on Wednesday.

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