September 28th, 2011
04:06 PM ET
Washington (CNN) - A White House official is defending controversial comments President Obama made in a weekend speech to the Congressional Black Caucus.
“It was meant as a rallying cry,” the official said.
As the president was nearing the end of his speech he tried to pump up the audience with a rift punctuated by loud applause.
“I am going to press on for jobs,” he said, then telling those in the room, “I expect all of you to march with me and press on. Take off your bedroom slippers, put on your marching shoes. Shake it off. Stop complaining, stop grumbling, stop crying.”
Representative Maxine Waters, D-California, told CNN she found the comment “curious,” and she speculated that the president had gone “off script.”
The White House official said that in fact it was an ad-lib moment, but insisted that the audience gave the president more than a warm embrace.