Obama had been criticized by black leaders like Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), who said that, while they support the president, they wish he would be more attentive to deteriorating economies in black communities.
"We’re supportive of the president, but we getting tired, y’all. Getting tired,” Waters said. “And so what we want to do is we want to give the president every opportunity to show, to show what he can do and what he’s prepared to lead on. We want to give him every opportunity, but our people are hurting. The unemployment is unconscionable. We don’t know what the strategy is.”
Waters also criticized the president for skipping black communities during a Midwest bus tour.
“We don't know why on this trip that he's in the United States now, he’s not in any black community. We don't know that,” Waters said.
But Obama pushed back on that criticism in his BET interview, arguing that while the administration may not have initially understood the severity of the economic crisis, they handled the circumstances as best as possible.
"The depth of the economic crisis worldwide was something that was glimmering on the horizon, but I don't think we fully appreciated," Obama said. "When I look back over the past two years, the decisions we made were the right decisions."
Obama is scheduled to speak at a Congressional Black Caucus awards banquet in Washington Saturday night.