President Obama has a message for members of the Congressional Black Caucus: I know you're discouraged, but we're in this together, so "stop complaining, stop grumbling, stop crying," and let's fight to make things better. With black support for Obama eroding, the president mounted a "gripping and galvanizing" defense of his accomplishments at a CBC gala on Saturday. Acknowledging that the unemployment rate for blacks is still nearly 17 percent, Obama pushed his jobs bill and urged faith in the future. "You can't stop marching," the president insisted. Will this speech help Obama win back black voters?
Obama's heat is playing well: The black community's main complaint about Obama is that he isn't fighting — for them or against Republican obstructionism, says Joseph Williams at Politico. "Judging by the audience's reaction — the president's words often brought the crowd to their feet" — Obama's fiery call to action "went a long way toward silencing his critics," at least among the gathered black leaders, athletes, and celebrities.
"Obama to CBC: 'You can't stop marching'"
Telling blacks to "stop whining" isn't a rallying cry: It's nice that Obama is starting to "openly court black people again," says Courtland Milloy at The Washington Post. But it stinks that he only "gets the nerve to say shut up when he's addressing a friendly audience." Maybe he's taking us for granted, or maybe it's been so long that he's "forgotten how to sweet-talk black folks," but the tough-love schtick just makes Obama sound like "a wannabe Herman Cain."
"President Obama courting black people again"
Obama is talking to the CBC, not his base: The calling-out part of Obama's speech was aimed squarely at his audience Saturday night, says Joyce Jones at BET. After their summer of publicly rebuking Obama, members of the Congressional Black Caucus have been "his most surprising critics" of late. Obama's admonition to stop complaining and walk with him, in fact, was probably "a sly reference to Rep. John Conyers' (D-Mich.) threat to hold a protest march in front of the White House."
"Obama to Congressional Black Caucus: Stop grumbling"