By Geneva Sands - 09/27/11 07:50 PM EDT
President Obama said, while he understands many African Americans face “especially tough” challenges, his jobs bill aims to help all Americans, not just the black community.
“What we realized over the last couple of months is that because of a whole range of issues … the economy needs another boost and we’ve got to focus more on putting people back to work now,” the president said Monday on BET News.
Obama has been criticized by some members of the Congressional Black Caucus — including Reps. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) and Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) — for not doing enough to help the African-American community.
Last weekend Obama said in a speech to the CBC that the black community should “stop complaining, stop grumbling, stop crying” and support him, both in his reelection and in passing the American Jobs Act.
On BET, he said his jobs plan will help all Americans, including African Americans, by rebuilding infrastructure, giving incentives to hire veterans and offering tax breaks to families and small businesses.
In the interview, titled “The President Answers Black America,” Obama told BET News that African Americans will additionally benefit from the plan’s summer jobs program for youth and unemployment insurance reform.
When asked why he would not create a plan that targets the black community, Obama said, “No, no that’s not how America works. America works when all of us are pulling together and everybody is focused on making sure every single person has opportunity.”