Photo: AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta
President Barack Obama addressed the Congressional Black Caucus Annual Phoenix Award Dinner Saturday night to send a message to an increasingly restless base that he has not forsaken them.Members of the CBC spent much of the August recess hosting jobs fairs across the country — and on occasion were not shy about venting their frustration with the nation’s first black President.
But Obama used the occasion to make it clear that while progress has been slow, he has not forgotten them, adding that he will need their help to pass his legislative agenda — including his jobs bill — and to win reelection next year.
“And I know at times that gets folks discouraged. I know. I listen to some of you all. I understand that. And nobody feels that burden more than I do. Because I know how much we have invested in making sure that we’re able to move this country forward. But you know, more than a lot of other folks in this country, we know about hard. The people in this room know about hard. And we don’t give in to discouragement.”
“Throughout our history, change has often come slowly. Progress often takes time. We take a step forward, sometimes we take two steps back. Sometimes we get two steps forward and one step back. But it’s never a straight line. It’s never easy. And I never promised easy. Easy has never been promised to us. But we’ve had faith. We have had faith. We’ve had that good kind of crazy that says, you can’t stop marching.”
“…So I don’t know about you, CBC, but the future rewards those who press on. With patient and firm determination, I am going to press on for jobs. I’m going to press on for equality. I’m going to press on for the sake of our children. I’m going to press on for the sake of all those families who are struggling right now. I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself. I don’t have time to complain. I am going to press on.”
“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.”
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