Rep. Maxine Waters: Obama should have mentioned black unemployment in jobs speech

Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., said President Obama should have specified the African American community in his address on jobs to Congress Thursday night, similar to how he signaled out veterans and small business owners.

"I wanted him to say something about the intolerable rate of unemployment in the African American community. He didn't quite get there," Waters told CBS News' Scott Pelley in an interview on CBSNews.com immediately following the speech. "But he talked about long-term unemployed, he talked about disadvantaged youth."

More than 26 percent of African Americans are currently unemployed or underemployed (meaning they are in part-time jobs because they cannot find full-time work). African American joblessness in this country is the highest it's been in 27 years.

In the coming weeks Mr. Obama is expected to detail more of his "American Jobs Act," including how he'll pay for $447 billion in spending initiatives and tax cuts. Waters hopes he targets the "communities most in need" then.

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"I would have had even bigger plans, but it was a big plan and it included some of the ideas we have been pushing," she said.

Waters, who is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, has been vocally critical of the president for a lack of focus on black unemployment, telling Politico earlier Thursday that Mr. Obama has to prove he cares about unemployed blacks as much as swing voters.

Following his address, the congresswoman was more hopeful.

"I do think we have a chance to do something substantive and to get at this terrible unemployment in this country," Waters told Pelley. "I think he got it right."

From CBS MoneyWatch.com:

Mark Thoma: Obama's Jobs Speech: Bolder Than Expected
Alain Sherter: Some Worthy Ideas, but It Won't Turn the Tide

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