CBC members react to Obama's speech
President Obama touted his jobs bill at a Congressional Black Caucus dinner Saturday, September 24, 2011. (Getty Photo)
September 25th, 2011
09:56 AM ET

CBC members react to Obama's speech

WASHINGTON (CNN) -President Obama's fiery speech at the Congressional Black Caucus awards dinner Saturday night, in which he challenged Republicans in Congress to show they care about job creation and explained how his jobs bill would help the black community, was well-received by the CBC audience.

As  he has done frequently in the weeks since he introduced the American Jobs Act, the president repeatedly called on Congress to pass the bill.

With the unemployment rate higher for blacks than for any other ethnic group - at 16.7 percent - the president has come under criticism from some in the black community who believe his administration has not not enough to address the issue. Last night, he made a point of spelling out some of the measures in the jobs bill that would help the hardest hit communities, like the 100,000 black owned businesses that would get a tax cut for hiring a new worker or giving workers a raise and programs that would help low-income youth get summer jobs.

"These Republicans in Congress like to talk about job creators. How about doing something real for job creators?" he said, prompting cheers and applause. "You say you’re the party of tax cuts. Pass this jobs bill, and every worker in America, including nearly 20 million African American workers, will get a tax cut. Pass this jobs bill, and prove you’ll fight just as hard for a tax cut for ordinary folks as you do for all your contributors."

The audience erupted with laughter when he joked that Republicans have not always been against the kind of infrastructure spending he has proposed, saying of the opposition "you all used to like to build roads, right? What happened?"

After the speech, several CBC members said they were pleased with the message. Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Maryland, said it was a "call to action." She said both sides of the aisle know where the battlelines are drawn on the issues and that complaining about that will not accomplish anything, members must fight for what they want.

"He showed he's going to fight," she said.

 Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, said the president "took his gloves off" and that it was the right approach.  "This is the first day of the beginning of a season of pressure" on Republicans in Congress, she said. "I think that this is now, for his own sake, a sense of reckoning that although his temperament as president of the United States for everybody – is to include everyone – there's a time now that the marching has to begin, because he's got to save this country and we're willing to save it with him."

She also echoed the president's own sentiments in his speech to the Chamber of Commerce in February, urging U.S. companies to take the trillions of dollars

Rep. Greg Meeks, D-New York, said it was important to see the president transition from governing mode to campaign mode and that he must keep the pressure on Congress, travel to districts where people are hurting and show them that he feels their pain.

 "He needs to fire up the base and that's what tonight will do," Meeks said.

Topics: CBC • jobs • President Obama

soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. Manny

    More of the same. Beautiful speeches to get reelected and nothing to show but a crumbling economy. Just empty words. Another four years of this man and it will be the demise or our country.

    September 25, 2011 at 10:08 am |
  2. sara

    Highest Unemployment Rate, Highest Wealth Loss, High Foreclosure due to unemployment rate, Highest youth unemployed.......What the F.... are WE wanting for?

    September 25, 2011 at 10:28 am |
    • Howard

      The Black Caucus is nothing but a gang of RACISTS, who blindly follow and support their racist leader, Barack Obama.

      September 25, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
      • stephon

        yeah, watch out. we want your women, your mayonaise and your wrangler jeans. we will stop at nothing.

        September 26, 2011 at 11:25 am |
  3. Trace

    The republicans and their supporters are the lowest form of pond scum, ever in control of this country. These idiots want a non-functional government, no help for the unemployed, unsafe roads and bridges, and teachers / 1st responders let go.

    Geesh, just have this country fail just to get back into power. We're talking unpatriotic!

    September 25, 2011 at 10:51 am |
  4. Trace

    I have some much trouble with even the thought of the GOP/Tea Pee Pants peoples. I think morons, one and all. We spent trillions building Arab countries this country broke (Iraq) and we refuse to spend a single dime on this country.

    Hey idiot republicans, If we GO BROKE, we GO BROKE saving This Country !

    September 25, 2011 at 10:56 am |
    • Howard


      September 25, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
  5. Kay

    I get so tired of Obama blaming everyone but the right person-himself. With the exception of this year, he and his party had complete control of the House, Senate, and the White House. Now he has control of the Senate and White House. For two years, he was able to pass everything that his radical heart desired. Currently, he has some trouble passing things through the House. So what does he choose to do, complain about the Republican party and the Tea Party. The only things they are trying to do, is save our wonderful country from the most crooked president we have ever had. Obama is trying to bankrupt our country so that we are on the same playing field as other bankrupt countries. He hates that some people/countries are rich and other people/countries are poor. So he tries to redistribute wealth to allow for equal playing fields for everyone. What a terrible president he has been.

    September 25, 2011 at 11:09 am |
  6. Rick McDaniel

    The black community always looks for hand outs. As far as the black community is concerned, government only exists to give them money, they refuse to work for.

    September 25, 2011 at 11:31 am |
    • Lisa

      I am black and I work, matter of fact the majority of my division at work are blacks, so what the H.E.L.L are you talking about???? Take your racist rants somewhere else. Most of the BLACK unemployed held jobs before the dire economic situation. We will work but not for slave wages, we are documented so we don't have to! Get it together!

      September 25, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • jjustice

      And the thousands of blacks that showed up at CBC job fairs–were they looking for handouts? No, they were looking for work. Your racist stereotyping is old, outdated and wrong.

      September 25, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
  7. Liz Carter in Georgia

    The Black Caucus is NOT racist. They organized to insure the issues concerning blacks, latinos, and all minority races including disenfranchised poor white peoples issues are heard and responded to by our government! We pay taxes too you know. At the rate things are going in the DC right now, all of the interest, focus and welfare is being afforded the 'already rich'. Before the Black Caucus, it was worse! OPPORTUNITY!? If everybody was independently rich, there wouldn't be any such thing as rich and poor!

    September 25, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
    • Jay in NC

      The CBC is racist. In January 2007, Josephine Hearn reported in Politico that white members of Congress were not welcome to join the CBC.

      Freshman Representative Steve Cohen, D-TN., who is white, pledged to apply for membership during his election campaign to represent his constituency, which is 60% African American. Hearn further reported that although the bylaws of the caucus do not make race a prerequisite for membership, former and current members of the caucus agreed that the group should remain "exclusively black." Rep. William Lacy Clay, Jr., D-MO., the son of Rep. William Lacy Clay Sr., D-MO., a co-founder of the caucus, is quoted as saying, "Mr. Cohen asked for admission, and he got his answer. He's white and the caucus is black.

      So the requirement is race, that would make the CBC racist.


      September 25, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  8. Liz Carter in Georgia

    Barack Obama is the leader of the whole nation, not just the Black Caucus. Problem is the racist GOP/TEAPARTYERS refuse to be led by an African American President! It's a struggle for him to lead when the GOP wants to LEAD and tell him what to do! They've proven over and over again that they will NOT follow him, nor even compromise with him. They've proven that at the risk of the total downfall of this whole nation, as long as they can at least keep the perception up that he's failed, they win! SIMPLETONS!

    September 25, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
  9. Liz Carter in Georgia

    Rick McDaniel; you're a biggot! Since her car had broken down, I took a white friend of mine to a County Food Stamp office, near her residence to get food and assistance in county other than my own. I saw more whites there than I've ever seen blacks in my own county and I worked part-time for 4 years for in my county. There are more poor whites in America who need hand-outs and hand-ups, reasonably and logically because there are more whites in here than any other race in America! So you can that crap Mr!

    September 25, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
    • TBONE

      Wow Liz Carter You have thrown almost every Racial epithet in the world in your mini rants, you are the most disgusting racist individual I have encounter on any blog format. Definition of Racist – a person who believes in racism, the doctrine that a certain human race is superior to any or all others. Racism defined -abusive or aggressive behaviour towards members of another race on the basis of such a belief – you my dear Liz are full of racism – and the CBC though maybe not a racist group does have members who have show that racism and racist qualities are OK to adhere to or preach to their people such as you and that many of those people are willing to ingest those bad qualities as well as spew them out here. Here is a list of your racism in your own words- "deflective, boomeranging racists" you yourself are exactly that, "Jay's nothing but a devils' advocate, if not the DEVIL incarnate!" you are calling a person a devil if not the devil incarnate because he disagrees with your political beliefs very piggish of you., "Do you see us running around begging to join the KKK, SKINHEADS, ARYAN NATION and other white supremast groups that I'm sure would like to maintain their whiteness." you mention this first and then when somebody states to you that you are comparing the CBC to these groups you turn it on them and call them a racist, "Problem is the racist GOP/TEAPARTYERS refuse to be led by an African American President" The President is one body of government in a system of checks and balances the hose does not follow the presidents lead and id they actually did then we would have not gotten anything done at all in the last 2.5 years because Obama has not actually done anything himself in the last 2.5 years other than to sign bills. "They hurried up and yanked in a few 'tokens' to cover their a**es after all of that racist demonstrating against the President and anyone supporting him; yelling and screaming...get that n*g*r out of there,...we want OUR country back!...monkey posters, marxism/Hitler, swatsticka posters, hats, bands, flags, and tee-shirts! That evil mindset, the core essence of that 'cult' is still there." What are you talking about the, the plants that the unions have stuck into the Teaparty rallies to get media attention trying to make the teaparty look bad, you will have to try harder than that Liz "I wonder about any BLACK AMERICAN who would join such a group after they showed us where they were coming from in the first place! I know times are hard though, so unless they paid them to stand up there on the cameras to be seen as 'token' members, and that has been done more often than not in this country, I can't envision any black person lowering their characters, standards or integrity to join such a core-racist group of 'white supremasts'!" I am personally offended by that last staement in your last staement you really show what a true racist you really are Just like Sheila Jackson Lee. In one sentence you claim not to be a racist then when everybodies back are turned you accuse the others as racist, beause we do not agree with the Presidents Policies. One last statement your white friend is that your TOKEN whit Friend because if I was your white friend and I knew that you were engaing others with this vehement zeal I would no longer be a friend of yours.

      September 28, 2011 at 2:26 am |
      • TBONE

        Sheila Jackson Lee Tells Right Media & Blogs to Shut Up and Stop Playing Racial Politics, Then Seconds Later Says Obama’s Buy American Should Be Buy African American

        September 28, 2011 at 2:36 am |
  10. Mike, formerly from Syracuse

    So I guess the CBC will be joining Obama's March for Handouts. Rev. Wright will kick it off with a prayer calling for God to damn America.

    Hey Liz the 'racist' Tea party at least let's blacks join. More than can be said for the REAL racists, the CBC, who refuse to let non-blacks join. How is that permitted for a tax payer funded organization?

    September 25, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
  11. MTATL67

    Republicans in Congress have passed no economic legislation. They are the party of "NO", no plan, no idea.

    September 25, 2011 at 7:51 pm |
  12. robert fitz

    Is obama becoming more shrill in his rhetoric, Is this another Dean moment that comes out desperate after his loss years back. Can he be fiesty and intellectual at the same time and yet be down to earth without patronizing. It appears the great communicator still has not mastered this technique. It use to be said when in doubt- mumble. Or did I stutter. It appears he has become a stutter and a mumbler on the campaign trail leaving one to believe where his real heart and beliefs may lie. A complaint from many past and present supporters now air. Will he stumble over the next 14 months and resort to mumbling his way through with rhetoric that stutters like the economy or can he up the ante and fire up his base and those independents who voted for him in '08 with a new voice that is convincing without the shrill- maybe it is time for a speech therapist or a comedian to help him deliver his punch lines because he will be thrown a few right jabs unlike the first time around. That question is yet to be answered, because if he sounds desperate or shrill the comedians or political pundits will have an even larger field day at his presidential aspirations.

    September 25, 2011 at 10:43 pm |
  13. Liz Carter in Georgia

    Hey Mike; The 'racist' Teaparty was trying to get up and running when the question arose...are there any blacks in it? They hurried up and yanked in a few 'tokens' to cover their a**es after all of that racist demonstrating against the President and anyone supporting him; yelling and screaming...get that n*g*r out of there,...we want OUR country back!...monkey posters, marxism/Hitler, swatsticka posters, hats, bands, flags, and tee-shirts! That evil mindset, the core essence of that 'cult' is still there.

    September 26, 2011 at 5:59 am |
    • C-Lo

      The problem Liz, in my opinion, is that the left and some of the media are trying to distort the true original message of the Tea Party movement by associating any racism out there with the movement. The "we want our country (gov't) back" is actually the same mantra of the left, just not spun the same way...what I mean by that is that the left (and the Tea Party) want our govt back representing the people, not corporations, international interests etc. Not the spin that we want our country back from "the black man.' The irony, as I see it, is that we are actually fighting the same war, against a non-representative govt, but are looking for different outcomes–back to the basis of your and my diferrences in opinion–larger or smaller fed govt.

      Again, going back to the roots of the country and the original disputes layed out in the federalist papers, the Tea Party movement is more of an internal battle within the Republicans, many of whom have embraced Dem (Big Gov't) ideals. i.e. NCLB, Med-D, etc. Should we have been more vocal during W's terms–yes we should have, however, while our party was still in control, it wouldn't have been smart to rock that boat, because we felt our guy was still better than the alternative.

      This is the long way around to saying that, contrary to leftist spin, the Tea Party movement does not equate to racism, and just because you see racist running around it is unfair to lable the movement as racist as you implied here.

      September 27, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  14. Liz Carter in Georgia

    Hey Mike; As a matter of fact, I wonder about any BLACK AMERICAN who would join such a group after they showed us where they were coming from in the first place! I know times are hard though, so unless they paid them to stand up there on the cameras to be seen as 'token' members, and that has been done more often than not in this country, I can't envision any black person lowering their characters, standards or integrity to join such a core-racist group of 'white supremasts'! They couldn't PAY me to join!

    September 26, 2011 at 6:22 am |
  15. Liz Carter in Georgia

    Hey Mike; About your remark on the CBC..not letting whites in, that does not make it 'racist' group! The whites are already there! They are the majority of the Congress. They make sure the needs and wants of their constituents or base are heard. Always did, but black and other minority focuses were often overlooked, tabled, or just for some reason couldn't seem to make it to the floor! It's just a group of Black Congressmen who decided way back in 1970 to come together to make sure our voices were heard.

    September 26, 2011 at 6:46 am |
  16. Liz Carter in Georgia

    BTW, Mike...you can't compare the Congrssional Black Caucus with the Teaparty on any level. The first thing is..The CBC isn't a Party. They can allow whomever they want in their group! The people in any group usually are of like minds, have the same aims and goals. You know there's still a racial divide in this nation and there's no telling what could occur once our organizations are infiltrated. Mike you're wrong...taxpayers don't fund CBC...so find another snide remark to use! Congressmen get salaries!

    September 26, 2011 at 7:09 am |
    • jean2009

      Congress has several caucuses. The Democratic Hispanic Caucus';The Republican Hispanic Caucus; Appalachian Caucus; 9/11 Commission Caucus; Armenian Caucus; Congressional Men's Health Caucus;Congressional Western Caucus;The Republican Caucus; The Democratic Caucus, and the list goes on. There is no Caucus for Women's Health? I wonder if the Republicans will let the Democrats caucus with them. I've counted over a hundred different caucuses. The goal of a caucus is to identify the needs of a particular group, or interest and work to better those people's lives, or research the needs of a particular group. A black caucus would not be a black caucus if it diluted itself with white members.

      People like Jay are being idiots, just another Tpotty hullabaloo over nothing.

      September 26, 2011 at 7:50 pm |
      • Jay in NC

        If as you say "The goal of a caucus is to identify the needs of a particular group, or interest and work to better those people's lives, or research the needs of a particular group." Why do the member have to be of that particular group. In other words is the caucus there to server the public or themselves?

        It is racist to think that a white person can not understand or be sympathetic to the needs of a black community.

        Saying that only blacks can be members of the CBC is like saying that black male doctors can not treat white women. They could not possibly understand white peoples health. Get real, the CBC is a race based organization, time to disband this government sanctioned KKK.

        September 27, 2011 at 9:13 am |
  17. Liz Carter in Georgia

    Do you see us running around begging to join the KKK, SKINHEADS, ARYAN NATION and other white supremast groups that I'm sure would like to maintain their whiteness. Now those are your long time real racists groups who are actually set up to do harm, have done harm and will continue to do harm! Not like the Black Panthers, who were disbanded, these groups are still in tact in this nation, so don't throw that racist line at me. The CBC stands for good and fairness for AMERICANS, not harm!

    September 26, 2011 at 7:22 am |
    • Jay in NC

      The fact that you think the CBC is equal to the KKK, SKINHEADS, ARYAN NATION says it all. At least on that point we agree they are all racist.

      Fairness for Americans? No harm? What a joke.

      September 26, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
  18. catwill

    The President was right we need to get active and resist these attempts to drive a wedge between the CBC and the President and we should stand ever vigilant against this type of divide. The anti-Obama rants by some on this comment section is over the top and should be seen for what it is just anti-Obama. GAWD!

    September 26, 2011 at 9:21 am |
  19. glynn surdivall

    Americans need a united congress.The president needs a congress of his or her party in order to fullfill his agenda.Without
    a unified congress any president is next to being powerless.Obama's experience proves it.

    September 27, 2011 at 7:47 am |
  20. Liz Carter in Georgia

    Thanks Jean for listing all of those caucuses and intelligent reasoning as to why they're needed. That's what I worked hard to communicate to these deflective, boomeranging racists myself. Jay's nothing but a devils' advocate, if not the DEVIL incarnate! He knows we're right but he still pulls tricks of antagonism and deception...dismissing and knocking down the reasonability of the need for a Congressional Black Caucus. What do you need the KKK, Aryans and Skinheads for Jay? We know why we need the CBC.

    September 27, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
  21. Liz Carter in Georgia

    We certainly will be needing the CBC as long as we have folks like you in the USA. Oh and just know...'you are not alone'. Yep..we may end up letting some of you 'advocates' in and that'll kill the the total definition of the caucus. You say it's 'time to disband this government sanctioned KKK'? NOPE! Not nearly! Not as long as we've got the government sanctioned KKK, white supremasts and the rest of your favorite caucuses! OMG! We sure don't need that mindset infiltrating the CBC wearing sheeps clothing!!

    September 27, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  22. Hee Hee

    Stop yer fussin. The True God does not need a man to fight for him. American racism is around in every American.
    This race needs to remain focused on whether everyone's going to cough up capital to swim out of this mess or
    allow another foreign nation to aquire empire due to our release of the helm. So far – all americans are facing
    a new form of slavery and its skin color is transparent but the yoke binds the ignorant one.

    September 28, 2011 at 10:46 am |
  23. Liz Carter in Georgia

    T-BONE; I just looked back and saw you'd addressed me. Well thankyou Sir, for your thoughts, especially the ones of me! They're yours and I'm sure a few others on this blog. However, you're wrong! I am NOT a racist; I don't 'BELIEVE IN' racism...I BELIEVE in GOD, whom I BELIEVE will eradicate racism and its perpetuating side effects right out of this nation! Yes, it's going to take an ACT of GOD! I am NOT a racist...I BELIEVE it still runs hot in AMERICAS' veins, and I'm just BRAVE enough to point it out.

    October 6, 2011 at 10:20 am |
  24. Liz Carter in Georgia

    You're right about the definition of the word racism: the doctrine that a certain race is superior to any and all others. Are you trying to tell me that's no longer applicable in America?!? But you're right again! Racism further defined or characterized IS: abusive or agressive behaviors of one 'superior' race towards members of another or all other races based on racism. Now I may be a disgusting racist to you, but if you believe this no longer happens in America, you're either in denial, blind or stupid!

    October 6, 2011 at 11:14 am |
    • Sabri

      This is one of his This is one of his better scepehes. ppl will see the benefit. The point is all you naysayers.If you have insurance than you are already paying for ppl that dont have insurance.Your premiums are going up 3x the rate of inflation because of that.. Now everyone will have to pull their own weight. Everyone will spread the risk. keeping premiums down.. I prefer a single payer,NEway 20 years from now you will sound like your taking grannies SScheck. except it will be little Lisa s heart transplant

      August 1, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
  25. Liz Carter in Georgia

    C-Lo; you may not be a racist or a biggot, I don't know you, but I hope not. However, please don't try to defend the blatant obvious! I'm sitting here right now looking at Barack Obama beg the lunatic media-pundits and liars to listen to sanity and just plain good sense to carry the right message out to the masses, why Congress should pass this jobs bill. I know all of this controversy and stalemating wouldn't even be going on had he been the superior races' color! You can deny it if you like..it's true!

    October 6, 2011 at 11:29 am |
    • Nikita

      Obamacare was signed on March 2010 with 59% of the peploe disapproving according to a CNN poll. The CBO scored Obamacare on six years of coverage for 10 years of taxes, which is how the CBO showed the bill to be deficit neutral . It’s unconstitutional mandating all citizens to purchase health care. Even Pelosi said, “We have to pass the bill, so you can find out what is in it.” watch?v=KoE1R-xH5To It’s also meant to take over industry watch?v=p-bY92mcOdkAllen West 2012

      September 8, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  26. Liz Carter in Georgia

    ...Now for some reason, I have some appreciation for what you try to do to cover up the opened, stinking wound of hate, bigottry and racism, which has spreaded waaay bigger than it was back in the 1900s! But that doesn't change anything! The GOP/TEAPARTY is holding this PRESIDENTS' efforts on jobs, and most everything else he's tried to do, at the risk of 'killing' the nation, just to ensure he's not re-elected! C-Lo, they can't take an intelligent black man, telling them NOTHING, period! RIGHT or WRONG!

    October 6, 2011 at 11:47 am |
    • C-Lo

      Liz, a while back I outright said that racism is still an issue in this country, don't know if you remember that, and it's fine if you don't. I am not trying to "cover up" anything, in fact I am trying to UNCOVER some ideas. Let me take your words from the previous post and rearrange them a little.

      I have been watching (insert your "favorite" teaparty/republican congressperson here) beg the "lunatic" left wing media to listen to sanity and just plain good sense to the masses why the President should sign the bill(s) they were proposing over the summer to start to bring the deficit down.

      Just because we have a difference of opinion in how the gov't should be run from how the current administration is running it, under a man who happens to be black, does not make anyone inherently racist. There were pleanty of leftist during the Bush era who were equally vocal against his admin's policies, but as I've said before, if you agreed with them, the "hate" wasn't as blatant.

      If you have a chance, look up how the left hast talked about Condi Rice, Judge Clarence Thomas and Herman Cain. I listened to a left wing talkshow a few months back that absolutely ripped into Judge Thomas, by a hispanic talkshow host and his guest (who I think was white). Had party affiliations been flip-flopped, there would have been torch wielding mobs in the streets over it.

      You consistantly state that "we can't have it both ways," to which I say, niether can you. If we cannot politically disagree with a person due to race, creed, color..., then neither can you, and you are hereby required to agree with anything a black conservative believes. Doesn't make much sense, does it?

      I am not trying to be difficult or confrontational about this, but I am tired of being overtly labled a racist because I believe the country should be run differently than the left who happen to have an African American as their frontman right now. If I disagreed with the same policies should Hillary have been elected, would that make me a mysoginist instead of a racist?

      October 6, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
  27. Brian

    these sort of debates are meant for the inneetrt.I too was annoyed by the lack of logic and overuse of rhetoric in the letters. I think your letter was fine (not that I agreed with it), I just think you tried to tackle too much in one letter (but if you tried to space it out, you would just become one of them I suppose).Anyways, I better get back to work, I'll commment on your Obama blog again a little later.PS Isn't technology great? You can throw up your thoughts on the inneetrt and some jackass like me can stumble across them and take shots at your various positions from the comfort of home.

    August 1, 2012 at 2:50 am |