Maxine Waters: Why isn't Obama in black communities?

Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., during her news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Aug. 13, 2010, to discuss the House ethics committee investigation. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Maxine Waters
AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Democrats Rep. Maxine Waters of California, a central member of the Congressional Black Caucus, said Tuesday that "we don't know why" President Obama is not visiting black communities on his Midwestern bus tour, adding, "We're supportive of the president, but we're getting tired."

Waters, speaking at a freewheeling forum at Detroit's Wayne County Community College, suggested members of the CBC don't pressure Mr. Obama because their constituents are proud to have an African-American president, adding that "if we go after the president too hard, you're going after us."

"The Congressional Black Caucus loves the president, too," she went on to say. "We're supportive of the president, but we're getting tired. We're getting tired. And so, what we want to do is, we want to give the president every opportunity to show what he can do and what he's prepared to lead on. We want to give him every opportunity, but our people are hurting. The unemployment is unconscionable. We don't know what the strategy is. We don't know why on this trip that he's in the United States now, he's not in any black community. We don't know that."

The unemployment rate for African-Americans as of July was 15.9 percent, and it's significantly higher in Detroit. Waters told her audience Tuesday that when you "unleash us and you tell us you're ready to have this conversation, we're ready to have the conversation."

After Waters told the audience members of congress will act "when you tell us it's all right" to have a conversation with the president about these issues, an audience-member yelled, "it's all right!" After she said she wanted to give the president "every opportunity" to show what his plan is, someone yelled, "how long?"

"When you let us know it is time to let go, we'll let go," Waters added.

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