WASHINGTON — The woman who told President Barack Obama that she was “exhausted” from defending him and his economic policies and waiting for the change she expected after voting for him has another reason to be put out: She’s lost her job.
Velma Hart, the chief financial officer for Am Vets, a veteran services organization based in Maryland, said Monday in an interview with CNBC that she was laid off as part of the nonprofit’s effort to cut expenses.
“I want to focus on the positive and be optimistic,” said Hart, who lives in Upper Marlboro, Md. “And assume that somehow things will work out, that there’s an opportunity out there with Velma’s name on it that’s right around the corner.”
Am Vets executive director Jim King told The Washington Post that the nonprofit was looking for ways to survive financially.
“It’s not anything she did,” King told the Post for a story that appeared online Monday. “She got bit by the same snake that has bit a lot of people. It was a move to cut our bottom line.”
In September, during a town hall-style meeting on the economy televised by CNBC, Hart told Obama: “Quite frankly, I’m exhausted. Exhausted of defending you, defending your administration, defending the man for change I voted for, and deeply disappointed with where we are right now.”
Hart said that the recession had taken an enormous toll on her family and left her and her husband worried about their finances. “And quite frankly, Mr. President, I need you to answer honestly,” she said, “Is this my new reality?”
Obama responded, in part: “As I said before, times are tough for everybody right now. So I understand your frustration.” He went on to cite examples of administration policies that he argued were helping families cope financially.
Hart told CNBC that she still supports Obama and noted that the economy is improving, though she finds the prospect of unemployment “scary.”