By Jamie Klatell - 09/25/11 03:33 PM EDT
With some lawmakers and voters from one of his core constituencies beginning to voice questions about his leadership, President Obama delivered a message to the Congressional Black Caucus on Saturday: Stick with me.
"The future rewards those who press on," Obama said at the CBC's Phoenix Awards Dinner. "I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself. I don’t have time to complain. I am going to press on."
"I expect all of you to march with me and press on," Obama said. "Take off your bedroom slippers, put on your marching shoes. Shake it off. Stop complaining, stop grumbling, stop crying."
Last week, the chairman of the CBC, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), said unhappy members of the CBC “probably would be marching on the White House” if Obama were not president.
"If [former President] Bill Clinton had been in the White House and had failed to address this problem, we probably would be marching on the White House," Cleaver told “The Miami Herald” in comments published Sunday. "There is a less-volatile reaction in the CBC because nobody wants to do anything that would empower the people who hate the president."
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) said Thursday that while they support the president, they wish he would be more attentive to deteriorating economies in black communities.
“We love the president. We want him to be successful,” Waters said. “But does he feel our pain? Does he understand what’s going on out here?”
Obama said Saturday night that he did.
"This is harder than it’s been in a long, long time. We’re going through something we haven’t seen in our lifetimes," he said.
"But you know, more than a lot of other folks in this country, we know about hard. The people in this room know about hard. And we don’t give in to discouragement."