Leading African-American congresswoman Maxine Waters renewed her assault on President Barack Obama on Thursday, a day after admitting that black Democrats in Congress don’t criticize him because they fear a backlash from constituents.
In a swipe at Obama’s bus tour through small-town Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois, she said, “He went to rural communities and he went with a plan…to invest money in those rural communities in order to develop jobs.
“We want the rural poor to be attended to,” Waters said in an interview on CNN. “But we also want the urban poor to be attended to.”
In a separate interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, she picked up a copy of the Wall Street Journal. “Take a look at this headline,” she said, “‘Obama aims to keep white voters on board.’ Well we want to be on board, too.”
The California Democrat’s comments are the first sign of a rift between Obama and his most steadfast supporters, and were quickly picked up by radio host Rush Limbaugh who called Obama’s Mid-West trip the “white-like-me tour.”
“Obama does not seem to want to hang around with them,” Limbaugh said, referring to African Americans. “Obama does not seem to want to do anything for them.
“Maxine, listen to me,” Limbaugh said. “He’s ignoring you because he knows he’s got you. Why spend any money or time with the cow when you already get the milk for free?”
The Democrat hit the airwaves a day after asking black voters in Detroit to “unleash” her and other members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) so they could feel free to attack Obama’s policies.
Calling it “the reality of politics,” the California congresswoman said, “If we go after the president, you’re going after us.”
“We don’t put pressure on the president because you all love the president. You are very proud to have a black man, first time in the history of the United States of America.
“When you tell us it’s all right and you unleash us and you tell us you are ready for us to have this conversation, we’re ready to have the conversation.
As Waters, a former chairwoman of the CBC, spoke a woman yelled, “It’s all right,” to wild applause.
“We don’t know what the strategy is,” Waters continued. “We don’t know why, on this trip that he’s on in the United States, he’s not in the black community.”
Waters said she and other black Democrats in Congress “love” Obama, but added “We’re getting tired.”
She added, “We want to give the president every opportunity to show what he can do or what he’s prepared to lead on… but our people are hurting.”
On Thursday, Waters contrasted the African American unemployment rate of 15.9 percent – which she said was the highest since the Great Depression – with the overall rate for the country of 9.1 percent. “It’s unconscionable,” she said.
And she said Obama should be using his bully pulpit to call in bank leaders and telling them, “We bailed you out, now you have got to put money back out to small businesses so they can create jobs.”
Waters, who represents a largely minority district in south Los Angeles, also said the president has to stop compromising with the tea party. “Stand up and fight them,” she said on CNN. “Don’t give in to them. Don’t make deals with them because you are trying to get along.”
In a third interview, on MSNBC, she said members of Congress who were against raising the debt ceiling would have backed down “within 24 hours” rather than face the realities of a government shutdown and default.
“The tea party has shown that they have strength and our constituents are asking us, ‘where’s your fight? Where’s your resolve?’”
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