Rep. Maxine Waters says "Tea Party can go straight to hell"

UPDATED 9:16 a.m. ET

Maxine Waters
Rep. Maxine Water
AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Rep. Maxine Waters, the liberal lawmaker from southern California, continued to press for Democrats and President Obama to adopt a more combative style with Republicans ahead of next year's elections.

"This is a tough game. You can't be intimidated. You can't be frightened. And as far as I'm concerned -- the Tea Party can go straight to hell," Waters told an Inglewood, California audience at a "Kitchen Table Summit" Saturday night, according to Los Angeles television station KABC.

Waters made waves last week when she openly criticized Mr. Obama's style and called on him to get tough with Republicans in order to help disadvantaged Americans, including African Americans.

"The president is going to have to fight and he is going to have to fight hard," she said at a job fair in Atlanta on Thursday.

Waters said there was a growing sense of unhappiness among African Americans with the the first black president.

"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."

She said liberals lost the recent fight over cutting government spending that Republicans tied to the deadline for the U.S. to raise the nation's legal borrowing limit.

"We were basically held up in raising the debt ceiling, until they got all of those budget cuts they demanded," Waters said in Atlanta. "We didn't raise any revenue and they didn't close any tax loopholes. I believe the Democratic Party and the president of the United States should not have backed down. We should have made them walk the plank."

"I'm not afraid of anybody," Waters said Saturday.

  • Corbett Daly On Twitter» Deputy Politics Editor Corbett B. Daly is based in Washington. He has worked at Reuters, Thomson Financial News and CBS MarketWatch.

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