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'Tea party' group fires back at Maxine Waters over 'hell' comment

August 22, 2011 |  5:05 pm

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/.a/6a00d8341c630a53ef0147e1f587aa970b-piA "tea party" group has fired back at Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles), who during a Saturday forum for unemployed people in Inglewood said "the 'tea party' can go straight to hell."

The event occurred a day after new statistics were released showing that California's jobless rate last month went up to 12%, from 11.8%.  California now has the second-highest rate of unemployment in the nation, trailing only Nevada at 12.9%, and its jobless rate is well above the U.S. average of 9.1%.

More than 1,000 people attended "Kitchen Table Summit," which was designed to give the jobless an opportunity to vent to elected officials and share their struggles about finding a job.

Waters criticized Republicans in Congress, saying: "I'm not afraid of anybody. 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."

Waters told the crowd about job fairs the Congressional Black Caucus is organizing nationwide, including one such event scheduled for Aug. 31 in Los Angeles. She encouraged residents to continue their push to make government get big businesses' help to fix the problem.

"You got to stand with me to fight this," Waters said.

One tea party group took issue with Waters in a statement released Monday.

"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, according to the Washington Post. “... 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.”
Organizers of the Saturday event expressed hope it would focus attention on the problems of chronic joblessness.

"There is just so much anger and so much frustration," said Refugio Mata, communications coordinator for Good Jobs LA, a coalition that advocates for working families and organized Saturday's Kitchen Table Summit. "We hope that Congress will listen and they will get the focus back on creating jobs."


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Photo: Congresswoman Maxine Waters. Credit: Harry Hamburg /Associated Press