Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings considers himself to be a friend of President Obama. But that has not stopped him from joining a chorus of African-American lawmakers who are saying enough is enough. Despite an unwavering loyalty to Obama and a desire to support him, their concern for the voters who will them to Capitol Hill if Obama succeeds in winning a second term more important.
In an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday, Cummings acknowledged the difficulty that Black voters face as they witness Republican attempts to see Obama fail at seemingly all costs to the nation at large, but also said that it’s important that the president not be so conciliatory to Republican demands as he was most recently, in their opinion, during the debt-ceiling debate.
“Almost every African-American person I have talked to has said they want him to fight, and fight harder,” Cummings said. “If the Republicans are not going to work with us, we just have to go it alone. Stand up to them. Don’t back down, Period. They’re not going to give you anything anyway.”
Congressional Black Caucus members have in the past been reluctant to publically speak out against Obama for fear of voter backlash, but also because they didn’t want the headlines to focus on their differences with him rather than their message. But during their August jobs fair and town hall initiative that has taken place in some of the hardest-hit Black communities, where thousands have lined up to find work, they find themselves unable to ignore the despair that exists and what they believe to be an inadequate level of attention to it by the White House.
“He needs to hear there are a lot of people suffering,” Cummings said.
Last week, Obama conducted his own bus tour to discuss the economy and job creation with American voters in the Midwest, but none of the communities he visited were Black.
“We want the president to go to Iowa, but we also want him to go to Detroit, we want him to come to Los Angeles and we want him to stick with a jobs agenda,” Cummings said.
(Photo: Alex Wong/GettyImages)
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