Rep. Waters: Obama has unfairly singled out African-Americans as 'complainers'

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) on Monday said that President Obama had unfairly singled out African-Americans and characterized them as complainers over the weekend.

Waters said plenty of other interest groups, including those representing Hispanic-Americans and Jewish-Americans, have pressed for Obama to meet their concerns. Those groups aren't asked to stop complaining, she said. 

"Despite the fact that he's appointed [Judge Sonia] Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, he has an office for excellence in Hispanic education right in the White House, [the Hispanic caucus is] still pushing him," she said. "He certainly didn't tell them to stop complaining, and he would never say that to the gay and lesbian community, who really pushed him on "Don't ask, don't tell." Even in a speech to AIPAC [the American Israel Public Affairs Committee], he would never say to the Jewish community to stop complaining about Israel."

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Obama, speaking at a Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) dinner Saturday, called on his African-American supporters to "stop complaining" and begin fighting.

"Shake it off. Stop complaining, stop grumbling, stop crying," he said, asking the crowd to "march with me and press on."

Waters, who last week urged Obama to fight harder for Democratic policies, said some of what Obama said at the event seemed "not appropriate and surprised me a little bit."

Over the summer, Waters was one of the members of the CBC who complained that not enough was being done to address the 16.7 percent unemployment rate within the African-American community.


"I'm not sure who exactly the president was talking to," she said on CBS's "Early Show." "We're certainly not complaining. We support him and we're protecting that base, because we want people to be enthusiastic about him when that election rolls around."

Waters said Obama certainly "heard" the African-American community expressing "pain and desperation" at job fairs and town-hall events over the summer.

"He certainly heard us," she said. "That speech that he did to the CBC included the words 'black' and 'African-American' for the first time. He's energized. And yes, we helped him get energized."