Waters talks tough on tea party

Rep. Maxine Waters has four words for the tea party: Go straight to hell.

At a community summit on Saturday, the California Democrat, who has been increasingly critical of President Obama, as well, had tough words for the other side.

“I’m not afraid of anybody,” Waters said at the summit in Inglewood, Calif. “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.”

A prominent tea party group shot back with a statement calling on Obama to check the members of his party and to condemn the rough talk.

“We’ve had Democrats calling American citizens ‘terrorists’ and ‘hostage takers,’ and now an elected Democratic representative says that we can ‘go straight to hell,’ ” the group Tea Party Patriots said. “The president and all leaders of the Democratic Party, who have called for civility in the past, are neglecting to censure their own. Is civility only required from their opponents? Perhaps it’s time for a new-NEW era of civility. ... The president’s silence on these latest violations of civility has been deafening, but not surprising.”

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus have been hosting town halls and job fairs across the country, most recently in Detroit, Atlanta and Cleveland.

On Tuesday afternoon Waters and other members will attend a summit in Miami to discuss their jobs resolution, “For the People,” which calls on Congress to pass jobs legislation. The unemployment rate among African Americans is 16 percent, almost double the national average.

Waters, who has faced complaints about ethics over the last year, has been at the forefront of a recent, more public venting of frustrations between the CBC and Obama. She addressed the delicate maneuvering that black elected officials have had to make in the Obama era at a town hall in Detroit last week.

“If we go after the president too hard, you’re going after us. When you tell us it’s all right and you unleash us and you’re ready to have this conversation, we’re ready to have the conversation,” Waters said. “We’re getting tired, y’all. We want to give him every opportunity. But our people are hurting. The unemployment is unconscionable. ... When you let us know it is time to let go, we’ll let go.”

This new and bold criticism from Waters comes as Obama faces record low approval ratings and is planning to discuss job creation in a speech next month.

A Washington Post/ABC News poll found that Obama still enjoys rock solid support among African Americans — 86 percent approve of his performance. Yet only 54 percent said Obama’s policies have improved the economy, a dip from 77 percent in October.

“There is a growing frustration in this country and in minority communities because the unemployment rates are so high,” Waters said at a town hall in Atlanta last week.

“The president is going to have to fight and he is going to have to fight hard.”

Read more on PostPolitics.com

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Nia-Malika Henderson is a political reporter for The Fix.

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