Rep. Cummings: 'Unfair' treatment of Obama fueling black voter turnout

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

The "unfair" treatment of President Obama by congressional Republicans is driving African-Americans to the polls "in record numbers," a leading black lawmaker said Tuesday.

Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.), the senior Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, accused Republican leaders of refusing to work with Obama simply to deny him legislative victories and score political points.

African-Americans are aware of those dynamics, Cummings said during an appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program, adding that they're coming to the polls in droves as a result.

"A lot of people feel very upset about the way this president has been treated," Cummings said. "They feel he's been treated very unfairly in so many ways, and they know that everything he has tried to do — they are very much aware of this — the Republicans have tried to stop him."

Additionally, Cummings said tougher voting requirements installed by a number of Republican-led states over the last two years are also encouraging black voters to get to the polls Tuesday. Supporters of those rules, which include new picture ID and proof-of-citizenship requirements, say they'll prevent voter fraud. But opponents say the tougher rules are designed to suppress eligible voters, particularly minorities and low-income people, who tend to vote Democratic.

"They are coming out in record numbers because they do not like the idea that there seems to be a concerted effort to stop them from voting," Cummings said. "I literally have talked to — particularly elderly people, [who are] literally crying."

Democrats have accused GOP leaders of obstructionism since Obama took office, but the refrain gained intensity two years ago, when Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced that "the single most important thing" Republicans wanted to accomplish was not job creation or deficit reduction, but "for President Obama to be a one-term president."

Republican leaders, meanwhile, dispute the notion that they aren't willing to work with Obama to tackle the nation's many problems. They contend it's the president who hasn't been willing to reach across the aisle in search of compromise.

"We went back and checked the calendar and in fact it's been since July of 2011 that the president has actually gathered the parties together to try and, you know, force us to focus on resolving the issue of this lackluster economy and get people back to work," Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the House majority leader, told "Fox and Friends" on Tuesday. "This is what this election is about today. We need a leader in the White House who understands that you can actually work with people who disagree. … That is what Mitt Romney can do."

It's an argument, Cummings said, that black voters simply aren't buying.

"They hear people say, 'Oh, he didn't get along with everybody,' " he said. "Well, when you have somebody trying to get you out of office before you even get into office — and going against every single thing you try to do — I mean, it's kind of hard to be friends."