It’s time for President Obama to quit watching sports and drinking beer with his political opponents in the hope it will lead to a bipartisan agreement, Rep. Maxine Waters said Thursday.
The outspoken California Democrat said Obama needs to fight harder against the GOP and Tea Party and for Democratic policy priorities.
“He's been very nice about it,” Waters said of Obama’s budget negotiations with Republicans.
“He's been on the other side of the aisle talking with people. He's invited them up to the White House to have beer. He's invited them to come and watch the Super Bowl games.
“He's done all of that, and when they eat his food and drink his beer and leave, then they go and try to kill him [on Capitol Hill],” she told an audience gathered for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's annual legislative conference in Washington.
“You've gotta fight – you will not win this battle without fighting,” she added.
Obama already has taken a tougher partisan tone in speeches this month, and he proposed large tax hikes on the wealthy this week to cheers from liberals.
But Waters said she and other liberal Democrats still want to see the president do more and believe that by fighting the GOP he can be successful. She also suggested questions remain about whether Obama will keep fighting for liberal priorities when the going gets tough.
“We love the president. We want him to be successful,” Waters said. “But does he feel our pain? Does he understand what's going on out here?”
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Waters, a prominent member of the CBC, said she's encouraged by Obama's new proposal to create jobs and rein in deficit spending. But she also warned that the group will be watching closely as the negotiations evolve.
“We're pleased that the president has a jobs proposal. Now we have to trace it and to track it. … because strange things happen in the legislative process. We don't want this to end up being just a tax-cut deal only,” she said.
“I love the president,” she added, “but I will ask the president where's the money.”
Waters suggested the black community needs to become more involved if it wants Washington lawmakers to notice, for instance, that the recession hit minority communities much harder than it did white populations.
“We have got to show up. The Tea Party shows up. The Tea Party intimidates everybody,” she said. “We have to show people that we have no fear. Don't mistake the silence for intimidation.”
Waters generated headlines last month when she said the Tea Party “can go straight to hell.”
On Thursday, she wasn't apologizing.
“Yes, I was displayed in national media telling them where to go,” she said. “And I mean that.”