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'War On Poverty' Remains Controversial05:05

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Lynda Johnson Robb, daughter of President Lyndon Johnson and wife of former Sen. Chuck Robb (D-Va.), is joined by Democratic members of the House of Representatives during an event marking the 50th anniversary of the start of the War on Poverty at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center January 8, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)closemore
Lynda Johnson Robb, daughter of President Lyndon Johnson and wife of former Sen. Chuck Robb (D-Va.), is joined by Democratic members of the House of Representatives during an event marking the 50th anniversary of the start of the War on Poverty at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center January 8, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Fifty years ago today, President Lyndon B. Johnson kicked off what he called an "unconditional war on poverty," launching government programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Head Start.

In a statement released this morning, President Barack Obama said that because of those War on Poverty programs, working families have help making ends meet and fewer seniors are living in poverty.

He's preparing to unveil the first five "Promise Zones" in San Antonio, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, southeastern Kentucky and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, to combat high poverty in those areas.

Meantime, conservatives argue that big-government programs have failed to substantially change the poverty rate in the U.S.

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