December 1, 2011 / 3:51 AM / 8 years ago

Obama pleads with voters for patience on "change"

NEW YORK (Reuters) - President Barack Obama asked U.S. voters on Wednesday to keep believing in the “hope and change” he promised in 2008, saying he needed more time to turn America around.

U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands after visiting a family in Scranton, Pennsylvania, November 30, 2011. Obama was in Scranton to urge Congress to extend and expand the payroll tax cuts. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

At a series of fundraisers in New York, where he raised more than $2 million for his campaign and those of other Democrats, Obama acknowledged frustration over the stalemate in Washington that has soured views of his leadership.

“After all that is happening in Washington, it may be tempting to believe that change may not be as possible as we thought,” he told supporters.

“It has been three wrenching years for this country,” said Obama, whose re-election prospects hinge on his ability to heal the economy from the financial crisis that struck before he took office and to lower the 9 percent unemployment rate.

While listing what he called his achievements overhauling healthcare, ending the war in Iraq and fighting al Qaeda, the president said he needed another term to fully address the economy, the environment and other issues.

“Every single thing that we care about is at stake in this next election,” Obama said.

“It’s going to take more than a few years to meet the challenges that have been decades in the making,” he said.

Republicans have not selected their 2012 nominee but Obama is polling neck and neck with one of their leading candidates, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

Obama said he knew many of his supporters were disillusioned by the deadlock in Washington, where a dispute in the summer over raising the debt ceiling brought the United States close to the risk of a debt default.

But he told them the stakes were too high to give up hope, saying Republicans would unwind much of his agenda and put the country on a starkly different path.

“If you are willing to keep pushing through all the frustrations that we may see ... change will come,” he said. “Press on, everybody.”

Reporting by Laura MacInnis; Editing by Peter Cooney

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