Obama says troubled by comments of top Republicans

WASHINGTON Sat Oct 30, 2010 6:39pm EDT

President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign rally for U.S. Representative Tom Perriello (R) in Charlottesville, Viirginia October 29, 2010. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign rally for U.S. Representative Tom Perriello (R) in Charlottesville, Viirginia October 29, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Saturday chided the two top Republicans in Congress, challenging his rivals to make a fresh start and build a bipartisan effort to boost growth after next week's election.

Speaking three days before a midterm congressional election in which his Democrats are expected to suffer heavy losses, Obama said lawmakers had a "duty" to seek common ground.

"That's why I found the recent comments by the top two Republicans in Congress so troubling," Obama said in his weekly radio address, in which he urged Democrats and Republicans to work together on issues like extending middle-class tax cuts.

"The Republican leader of the House actually said that 'this is not the time for compromise.' And the Republican leader of the Senate said his main goal after this election is simply to win the next one," Obama said, referring to Representative John Boehner and Senator Mitch McConnell.

Republicans are expected to win control of the House and may take back the Senate in the November 2 midterm congressional ballot, as voters punish Obama's party over an uncertain economic outlook and an unemployment rate stuck near 10 percent.

"Ending the Obama administration's liberal agenda as soon as possible is Sen. McConnell's top political priority," McConnell spokesman Don Stewart said. "For two years the president and the majority in Congress have veered off to the far left and pursued their own liberal wish-list agenda."

Republicans have marshaled public anger over federal bailouts of car companies and Wall Street banks into a potent attack on Obama, although some of the most despised measures were drafted under his Republican predecessor, George W. Bush.

Dramatic steps were taken to confront the most severe U.S. recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s, including an $814 billion emergency stimulus package signed by Obama that critics blame for contributing to a record U.S. budget deficit.

Opposition in Congress to any more government spending measures has thwarted White House efforts which it says would help lift U.S. hiring and the economy.

This has not stopped Obama from talking about steps he would take if he had congressional backing.

Repeating a call for bipartisan support on tax relief for businesses, as well as other measures aimed at spurring the economy that he has previously discussed, Obama appealed for a fresh start after the election.

"I know that we're in the final days of a campaign. So it's not surprising that we're seeing this heated rhetoric. That's politics," the president said. "When the ballots are cast and the voting is done, we need to put this kind of partisanship aside -- win, lose, or draw."

(Reporting by Alister Bull; editing by Jim Marshall)

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Comments (60)
jaycloquet wrote:
I’m disappointed in President Obama – I campaigned for him but he won’t get my vote again. I knew when he said we’re not black Americans, White Americans, Red Americans – We’re all Americans that he would be President some day. He has proven to lead in an oppressive manner – he didn’t include everyone. He should have thought about working with Republicans instead of brushing them aside and treating them like they were irrelevant. They (republicans)were elected by Americans so to reject them like he has was to reject Americans who voted for them – BIG MISTAKE. Now that he’s going to get beat up he wants to be friends – that’s disingenuous.

Oct 30, 2010 6:50am EDT  --  Report as abuse
belletlc wrote:
jaydoquest: You are so right. Only, I didn’t vote for him. I have an intuition instinct and knew it was going to break bad once he went into office. I remained optimistic, my mother always telling me to give everyone a chance. Well, I am so disappointed in the offensive rhetoric coming from this man who is supposed to be President of the United States, not the President of the Progressive Party. I have been put down and trash talked because I happen to be a Conservative. What’s worse is he has splintered the country like I’ve never seen. While George Bush (who had many faults) told the world, you’re either with me or against me, this president is telling his own country the same thing. We are the enemy of the illegal aliens and we need to ride in the back when it comes to taking over Congress or the House.

He doesn’t care about the American People. He only cares about his agenda. I gave him two years. I’m done.

Oct 30, 2010 7:32am EDT  --  Report as abuse
EnglishD wrote:
” Obama said lawmakers had a “duty” to seek common ground.” Where was his duty to uphold and protect the Constitution? He has failed miserably on that one. It is the duty of the people to elect leaders who support our Constitution and impeach the ones who violate their oath of office.

Oct 30, 2010 7:40am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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