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Maxine Waters on Pressuring Obama, the Black Community + Politics

“We don’t put pressure on the President because y’all love the President … When you let us know it’s time to let go, we’ll let go.”
—  Rep. Maxine Waters

DETROIT. The second stop on the CBC JOBS TOUR was lively. Very, very lively.  The Grio’s Jeff Johnson, who moderated a jobs town hall, brought up an interesting question: With unemployment in big cities at depression level highs, why is President Obama in Iowa talking about rural unemployment? Rep. Maxine Waters addressed an interesting dilemma for CBC members. Can you pressure and be critical of a President your constituents are in love with — even with 50% unemployment with no end in sight?

Waters said: “When YOU tell us it’s alright and you unleash us and you tell us you’re ready to have this conversation — we’re ready to have the conversation,” Waters said.  “It’s alright!” — a woman in the audience loudly responded.  The “conversation” Waters appeared to be referring to is a referendum and a challenge to the Obama White House on targeted help for black Americans facing high unemployment.

“We want to give the President every opportunity to show what he can do and show what he is prepared to lead on… But our people are hurting. The unemployment is unconscionable.  We don’t know what the strategy is.  We don’t know why — on this trip he’s on now — he’s not in any black communities. We don’t know that.”

“We’re politicians. We’re elected officials. We are trying to do the right thing and the best thing,” Waters continued.  “When you let us know it’s time to let go, we’ll let go.”