Democratic members of the Congressional Black Caucus are in Miami Tuesday to host a jobs fair, part of their five-city tour to draw attention to high unemployment, particularly in the black community.
But at a town-hall style meeting the members held Monday night, some of the most heated talk centered not on jobs but on the tea party.
"The real enemy is the tea party –- let's remember that," said Rep. Frederica Wilson of Miami Gardens, host of the meeting and jobs fair. "The tea party holds Congress hostage…They have one goal in mind, and that's to make President Obama a one-term president."
She got energetic applause from the crowd of hundreds at Mt. Hermon AME Church in Miami Gardens. So did Rep. Maxine Waters of California, who recently said the tea party should "Go straight to hell."
"I'm in church. I'm not going to repeat that," Waters said Monday.
She also said: "We have to stand up and fight. It's fight time...We're not afraid of the tea party…In this struggle, we have to define who we are, what the president is doing and not let our voices be overshadowed by the tea party."
"What people are you talking about?" Waters interrupted. "Say tea party. Say it!"
"It was Tea Party Republicans," Graves said, adding that "the president is focused on every community across the country," though "certain communities have been harder than other communities."
"Can you say black?" Waters said.
"Black, African-American, Latino –- we're going to focus on getting people back to work," Graves said meekly, while moderator Tamron Hall of MSNBC called for decorum.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson, who was one of the 10 people on the meeting panel, asked audience members to stand if they had a family member in jail, a home in foreclosure, credit card debt. Practically the entire room stood up when he asked who had voted for Obama.
The tea party opposing Obama, Jackson said, should be called the "Fort Sumter Tea Party that sought to maintain states' rights and slavery." (Apparently he read this article in Salon.)
"The tea party is a new name on an old game," he said. "Dr. King fought a 'tea party' in Alabama...He had no weapons, but he confronted the tea party."
Rep. Alcee Hastings of Broward -- who early on in the meeting said "the tea party is the Republican Party" -- later urged the panel to play down the power of the tea party.
"I'm not going to continue down the path of giving them all this credit," Hastings said, telling the crowd to register to vote. "Turn the tea party upside down!"