President Obama kept at his renewed effort to stress the economy, telling the Congressional Black Caucus dinner Saturday night that the recession "made matters much worse" in the African-American community.
In his speech, the president also didn't pass up another opportunity to take a shot at Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio).
The president rattled off a succession of things his administration has done since he took office, including bailing out GM and Chrysler, healthcare reform, Wall Street regulatory reform, and ending the combat mission in Iraq.
"You didn’t elect me to do what was popular," Obama said. "You elected me to do what was right."
Obama lauded the CBC's mission "to be the conscience of the Congress" and said that "members of the CBC have helped deliver some of the most significant progress in a generation."
The president accused his opponents of hatching "a plan to turn back the clock on all the progress we’ve made."
"No we can’t," he said in a shot at the GOP. "That’s their motto."
He proceeded to echo familiar refrains in his offense on Republicans in the runup to crucial midterm elections.
"What we should be doing right now isn’t passing tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. We should be helping the middle class grow," Obama said in reference to the debate over extension of the Bush-era tax cuts. "And yet, the man with the plan to be Speaker of the House, John Boehner, actually attacked us for closing corporate tax loopholes and using the money to keep hundreds of thousands of essential personnel on the job in our states."
Obama had fired another volley in the summer-long war of words with Boehner in a Labor Day address to a union crowd in Milwaukee when he took digs at "the man with the plan to be Speaker."
"Do you want to give them the keys back? Me
neither," he said. "And do you know why? Because they don’t know how to
drive! At a time when we’re just getting out of the ditch, they’d put the
car in reverse and drive us right back in."
"This is a crowd that wants to turn back the clock, that wants to do what’s right politically, instead of what’s right – period," Obama said.