President Obama hit the right notes when he told black congressional leaders to “stop complaining” and help him get the economy going and re-elected, the Rev. Al Sharpton said Sunday.
Obama ran through what his administration has done for African-Americans and then told the audience at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Phoenix awards to stop throwing rocks and help him push further.
“I expect all of you to march with me and press on. Take off your bedroom slippers, put on your marching shoes. Shake it off. Stop complaining, stop grumbling, stop crying. We are going to press on. We’ve got work to do, CBC,” Obama told Saturday’s crowd at the Washington Convention Center.
Sharpton, who spoke to the president shortly after Saturday night’s speech, said it was the right message.
“He said this is what I’ve done, and it helps blacks and helps the county and now let’s get to work,” Sharpton said.
“It’s important to remind people who may be discouraged, don’t compare him to the Almighty, compare him to the alternative.”
Obama supporters charge that some of Obama’s more vocal black congressional critics – Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), and Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus – were Hillary Clinton supporters who are now engaged in a policy of “I told you so.”
“Ordinary (African-American voters) are hurting and want action, but they are not going to abandon ship and are not the ones who are all but saying (Obama) sold-out,” said a Democratic staffer for a member of the Congressional Black Caucus. “That’s coming from people who didn’t back Obama from the start.”
But any political message will have to compete with the reality on the ground, Obama’s critics said.
The jobless rate for African-Americans is at 16.7% compared to the national rate of 9.1%.