From Tahman Bradley:
With a campaign-style speech, President Obama tried to rally a key Democratic constituency Saturday night heading into the fall campaign. The president told members of the Congressional Black Caucus at its annual awards gala that he needs their help spreading the word about what his administration has accomplished and what more it hopes to do.
"I need everybody here to go back to your neighborhoods, and your workplaces, to your churches, and barbershops, and beauty shops. Tell them we have more work to do. Tell them we can't wait to organize. Tell them that the time for action is now," he said.
Saying he was not elected to do what was popular but rather what's right, the president touted his accomplishments passing health care reform, Wall Street reform, investments on education, ending the combat mission in Iraq , beefing up U.S. operations in Afghanistan and a host of other things. But, said the president, "We've got more work to do. We've got a plan to finish. "
The speech featured fiery lines. Obama repeated referred to Republicans as "the other side."
Mr. Obama drew laughter and applause when he used his routine "car in a ditch" rhetoric to swipe at Republicans. He argued that voters shouldn't turn Congress over to the Republicans this November because in his mind their policies led to the economic struggles the country faces today.
"You can't give them the keys," he said. "If you want to go forward, you put (the car) in 'D,'" Obama said, referring to Democrats. "If you want to go back," he said. "What do you do?"
Put the car in "R" he meant, but didn't have to finish because the crowd erupted in laughter.
The nation's first black president also sought to show the black legislators on hand that he understands that black communities are facing especially difficult times in today's economy. He said the recession has hit all of America's races, but "as has been true with other recession, this one came down with a particular vengeance on African-American communities."
The president said the country has a long way to go before it recovers, but he believes the county is climbing out of the recession and that his polices are making a difference.
– Tahman Bradley