CBC members react to Obama's speech on jobs, the black community
September 25th, 2011
11:40 AM ET
3 years ago

CBC members react to Obama's speech on jobs, the black community

Washington (CNN) – In a fiery speech at the Congressional Black Caucus awards dinner, President Obama challenged Republicans in Congress to show they care about job creation and was roundly cheered for showing he’s “going to fight” to fire up his supporters in a battle to “save the country.”

As he has done frequently in the weeks since he introduced the American Jobs Act, the president repeatedly called on Congress to pass the bill.

With the unemployment rate higher for blacks than for any other ethnic group - at 16.7 percent - the president has come under criticism from some in the black community who believe his administration has not done enough to address the issue. Saturday night, he made a point of spelling out some of the measures in the jobs bill that would help the hardest hit communities, like the 100,000 black-owned businesses that would get a tax cut for hiring a new worker or giving workers a raise, and programs to help low-income youth get summer jobs.

"These Republicans in Congress like to talk about job creators. How about doing something real for job creators?" he said, prompting cheers and applause. "You say you’re the party of tax cuts. Pass this jobs bill, and every worker in America, including nearly 20 million African-American workers, will get a tax cut. Pass this jobs bill, and prove you’ll fight just as hard for a tax cut for ordinary folks as you do for all your contributors."

The audience erupted with laughter when he joked that Republicans have not always been against the kind of infrastructure spending he has proposed. "You all used to like to build roads, right? What happened?" the president asked, tongue firmly in cheek.

After the speech, several CBC members said they were pleased with the message. Rep. Donna Edwards , D-Md., said it was a "call to action." She said lawmakers on both sides of the aisle know where the battle lines are drawn on the issues and complaining about that will not accomplish anything - they must fight for what they want.

"He showed he's going to fight," she said.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, said the president "took his gloves off" and that it was the right approach.

"This is the first day of the beginning of a season of pressure" on Republicans in Congress, Jackson Lee said. "I think that this is now, for his own sake, a sense of reckoning that although his temperament as president of the United States for everybody – is to include everyone – there's a time now that the marching has to begin, because he's got to save this country and we're willing to save it with him."

Rep. Greg Meeks , D-N.Y., said it was important to see the president transition from governing mode to campaign mode and that he must keep the pressure on Congress, travel to districts where people are hurting and show them that he feels their pain.

"He needs to fire up the base and that's what tonight will do," Meeks said.

Also see:

Obama says jobs bill will have immediate impact

New Dem ad pushes jobs plan

Poll: Majority of Americans blame Obama for economy

soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Peter

    When the first stimulus bill was passed by Congress in Feb 2009, black unemployment was 13.3%. Now it is 16.7%. What has Obama done for the black community and how is this time different? The answers are nothing and it's no different. Promises gone unfulfilled. He is a complete disaster for anyone who doesn't have money to give his campaign. Time to give him the boot to the curb.

    September 25, 2011 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  2. vic , nashville ,tn

    If we create jobs Unemployment go down, more revenue and government need less money for entitlement programs
    Republicans never get this

    September 25, 2011 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  3. gavin

    Three years too late. He has made promise after promise on jobs and he has not delivered.Poll after poll shows Americans now don't trust Obama on the economy. He can say whatever he wants to say about this Jobs Bill, but most folks know he is in campaign mode and his words are empty. It's time for a change and it's time to elect someone who can deliver on the economy and jobs.

    September 25, 2011 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  4. roro

    Maybe Obama has not delivered on some of his promises, but that remains the fault of the Republicans who have blocked every one of his attempts at every step of the way. They are obstructionists, who want him to fail, even at the peril of the nation and its people. They only care about corporations and the wealthy, and the rest of us be damned. How can the members of the Tea Party, who appear to be mainly middle class, continue to vote against their own best interests?

    September 25, 2011 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  5. what's up

    What a desperate peace of political garbage Obama is. The man has no shame or morals. But then, what did you expect?

    September 25, 2011 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  6. Alex

    @what's up. So you're saying he shouldn't do anything, am I reading you correctly? The guy could announce a cure for cancer and Republican forum moles would say he's ruining the country. Show me a Republican candidate who really thinks he or she can fix all America's problems and I'll show you a liar. If the GOP wins the 2012 race, in 2015 we'll be reading exactly the same comments about his or her failed efforts to fix the economy.

    September 25, 2011 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  7. sam9962

    The American People are frustrated! The polls reflect their frustration. How are you suppose to answer those polls? by saying...oh the economy is great and we're moving in the right direction"!!!??? NO... because that's not the truth. What matters is that the president is trying to make things happen. The polls are clear evidence that the GOP's "BLOCK and BLAME" plan is working. The CBC and all of Obama's supporters will come out in numbers for him in Nov 2012..don't worry about that. The GOP needs to focus on their OWN message...which right now seem to be missing a messenger!

    September 25, 2011 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  8. Rick McDaniel

    Obama's answer to everything, is "hand outs". Period.

    Let the government become the "patron", under the Democrats, and steal from the rich to give to the poor. That keeps the rich, rich, because they stay in power, and it pacifies the poor, to just keep accepting the hand outs. It is dictatorship, and nothing less.

    That's what America is becoming.......nothing but a flashy dictatorship where the elite rule, and the rest of us rely on government hand outs, while pretending to have a choice, which is nothing but an illusion.

    September 25, 2011 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  9. KC

    "Fired up and Ready to Go!!!"

    It's about time, Mr. President.

    September 25, 2011 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  10. Don

    Instead of campaigning, maybe he should be WORKING to help Black America! He has been the MOST devisive force in this entire country. And division gets us all NOWHERE!!! But then again, campaigning is MUCH easier.

    September 25, 2011 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  11. Debra From Georgia

    Obama is doing a fine job, we were seeing job growth until 2010 when the GObp came riding in on their white horses lying about they know how to create jobs, and to this date, they have not introduce one job bill.

    September 25, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  12. malabar

    Emanuel Cleaver is a racist. the presidents skin color holds him back from marching for jobs in the black community. at least Obama knws he counts more as an individual than millions of African Americans. who cares if you dont have a job or go hungry this week, Obama is President, YAAAYYY!

    September 25, 2011 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    You guys will surely be Doomed should you vote for a republican this time. Be ready for the worst economy disaster... People shine your eyes.!

    September 25, 2011 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  14. Karl

    @Alex, you sound like he might have mistakenly made a positive move at least once in his time as president. I call caca on that idea and think that perhaps that you should read about just what he has done recently, it's called digging a bigger hole that we'll never pay our way out of.

    Oh, and Mr. Obama please have the decency to not try to load up the moving truck with articles, owned by the citizens, as Pres Clinton did with the Resolute Desk. And finally, keep your feet off the furniture in OUR White house furniture.

    Oh sam9962, if "the guy" could get one thing right, he would be up against the wall prior to this election. Then you can continue what I consider your lurid ways.

    September 25, 2011 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  15. kem

    roro :
    Maybe you should read some bills before you blame the Repub's for every thing. from 2009 to 2010 democrats was in control of house and senate so how did the Repub's block every thing he did. Repub's did not gain control of house until this year and BTW Obama's 2.4 trillion deficit raise passed without house vote go look at the bill.
    “Maybe Obama has not delivered on some of his promises” HA he did not deliver on any of the promises that got him elected, Dec 17 2010 he signed for the Bush tax cuts to be extended for 2 more years, & has lied to the people this year saying the Bush tax cuts needs to be appealed and he already signed it last year.
    I voted for him to bring all the troops home for him to show a little progress in the economy I knew he could not fix it in 4 years but he could have showed a little but didn't. I did not vote for him to do every thing McCain would have done, the only thing Obama did not do that was a Bush policy was the health-care and he lied on that (his words mandating heath-care is like mandating the homeless to buy a house) and the Dem's voted against a bill the Repub's tried to get passed for congress and the president to be mandated to purchase Obama's health-care just like we are, now why would the Dem's be against Obama's health-care for themselves. All Obama did during his campaign was lie, thats all he is doing now. I feel like I voted for a republican in disguise and democrats in congress is a disgrace just like the Repub's. & Obama's words mean nothing every thing he says he does the opposite.
    I don't think the Repub's could do any thing except stop some of the things that Obama has done but what is the difference vote for a Repub you don't know if they will hurt OR vote for a Repub in disguise you do know has hurt. As of now I make sure to check if a candidate is lying or not at least Obama did wake me up to that and if I'm raciest or a terrorist Just because I don't like liars or someones policies then I'm proud to be the Dem's new meaning for racist and terrorist.

    September 25, 2011 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  16. S.positive

    If the GOP thinks they can sneak into the whitehouse, well they are facing a BIG surprise. They should not confuse this disquiet as a down on the President. We know who is at Fault. The same party that caused the damage in 2008 and have stalled the country's progress ever since. We know that.....

    September 25, 2011 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    It's too late. He is not a leader. I voted for him and I defended him all the time. It's just too late

    September 25, 2011 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  18. AzRose

    How can anyone including the CBC believe anything Obama has to say. We have heard the same thing over and over, blame Bush, blame the GOP, blame the tea party. When will he take responsibility for his own failures and he has had plenty of failures. The first stimulus was a big dud, why should we belieliee his jobs bill will work. Economists are predicting no new jobs for a few more years even if his job bill passes. He loves to spend our money.

    September 25, 2011 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  19. Howde

    @Gavin This is not a dictatorship. Promises by presidents have to pass through congress. Tell all the smart Republicans coming out of the woodworks that they should have advised Bush since they're so smart and McCain would have been President now making it easy for them.

    September 25, 2011 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  20. Juan

    @gavin The Repubs has control of the House and they haven't made any new jobs. Pres Obama has a plan to get people back to work. Now, I know you the Repubs blocked everything that Pres Obama did and got in his way.

    September 25, 2011 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  21. A Democrat in North Carolina

    All of you complain about the President is not doing enough my ? to you is What are you doing besides talking. the Republicans are not going to do anything to help this President get this country back on track i guarantee you that they are just trying to get him out of the White house so they can finish destroying the country with their no government agenda. Listen America what these candidates are saying they dont like Social Security, they dont like the Dept. of education, if you get unemployement kiss that benefit goodbye if they get in the W.H. If you get food stamps or any other low income assistance its gone, imagine no more post office no public schools push the teachers under the bus they dont care about them we are in for a fix now but if one those candidates get in i dont know i just dont know. God Please Help Us.

    September 25, 2011 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  22. d

    I do not blame the president! nor should anyone. he does not get to create jobs...congress must work and stop obstructing everything and i mean everthing...the shame of it is this! 1/2 of what obama has tried to implement is their own ideas and they wont even back them! can you say flip flop! i would like to see a report on what repubs have said they would support in the past and compare it to today.

    September 25, 2011 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  23. Tony

    Black Americans have long been the nation's "latch key" community, left to fend for ourselves. A retreater in the face of this summer's Republican onslaught on the debt ceiling, saddled with a weak Democratic Party, the rock and a hard place President has a hard row to hoe...

    September 25, 2011 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |