Obama says political divide is hurting economy

WASHINGTON Mon Aug 15, 2011 9:30am EDT

1 of 3. President Barack Obama steps aboard Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington, August 15, 2011. Obama is traveling to the midwest on a bus tour of Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois.

Credit: Reuters/Jason Reed

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Saturday that bitter fights between Democrats and Republicans in Washington were hurting the economy and he urged lawmakers to embrace compromise in order to boost job growth.

Still reeling from a divisive debate over debt and deficits that triggered a downgrade in the U.S. credit rating, Obama is going on a three-day bus tour next week to connect with voters as his own 2012 re-election campaign begins to heat up.

Channeling citizens' anger at Congress will be one of his key themes, which he rolled out on a trip to Michigan this week and in his weekly radio and Internet address on Saturday.

Obama said the side show in Washington had gotten in the way of efforts to bring down high unemployment.

"Lately, the response from Washington has been partisanship and gridlock that's only undermined public confidence and hindered our efforts to grow the economy," he said in his weekly address. "So while there's nothing wrong with our country, there is something wrong with our politics, and that's what we've got to fix."

Repeating a call he has issued numerous times in recent weeks, Obama pressed for Congress to extend a payroll tax cut, put unemployed construction workers to work building U.S. infrastructure projects, finish outstanding trade pacts and cut "red tape" for entrepreneurs.

"We can no longer let partisan brinksmanship get in our way -- the idea that making it through the next election is more important than making things right," he said.

"So you've got a right to be frustrated. I am."

Republican Senator Pat Toomey said in his party's weekly address that government regulation, especially from the Obama administration, was hurting the economy.

"Every day, small business owners, job creators and entrepreneurs are bombarded with new regulations and higher costs, discouraging these employers from expanding their businesses and hiring additional workers," Toomey said.

"The number of regulations has only increased since President Obama came into office. The Federal Register, containing all federal regulations, now totals a whopping 49,000 pages, covering everything from paint, to dust, cement, to cars, medicine and livestock."

Toomey said the "most harmful" regulations should be eliminated.

(Editing by Todd Eastham)

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Comments (12)
Kevin117 wrote:
If by political divide he means th Republicans willingness to destroy the economy and country for (perceived) political gain, I agree. But Obama should stop pulling his punches and say it.

None of the current crop of Republican hopefuls would have raised the debt ceiling (also known as paying our bills). And they said that AFTER and downgrade and crash! They are insane.

Aug 15, 2011 10:01am EDT  --  Report as abuse
babyowl wrote:
And President Obama would be right. However, until John Boehner backs down from his pledge at the beginning of Obama’s presidency….basically he said he would vote against anything Obama wanted, then we will never have anything but a division between the Dems and Repubs.

Put the blame where it belongs….John Boehner…. Because unless we do, we will have a terrible and down spiraling government. Johne Boehner is getting exactly what he wanted and we’re paying the horrible price for his childish tantrum.

Aug 15, 2011 10:05am EDT  --  Report as abuse
BeltwayBill wrote:
Yes the divder in chief has spoken. Now stop dividing the country and join thoes that want to fix the problem. Stop spending like a drunken monkey and join the majority of the country that is fed up with your socialism.

Aug 15, 2011 10:11am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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