Obama blames Republican ‘rigidity’ for US woes

August 17th, 2011 - 10:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama Washington, Aug 17 (IANS) President Barack Obama has blamed his Republican opponents for the political logjam in Washington, saying their “ideological rigidity” is standing in the way of compromises necessary for stronger economic growth.

Americans want to see “Democrats and Republicans putting country before party,” he said in an interview with CNN Tuesday in the presidential battleground state of Iowa in the midst of a three-day presidential swing through the politically pivotal Midwest.

The inability of Republican leaders in Congress to support a recent $4 trillion deficit reduction deal focused more heavily on spending cuts than revenue increases is evidence of a party placing political considerations before national interests, Obama lamented.

“The fact that Speaker (John) Boehner and folks in his caucus couldn’t say yes to that (deficit deal) tells me that they’re more interested in the politics … than they are in solving the problem.”

But “ultimately, the buck stops with me. I’m going to be accountable”, said Obama, though he was also quick to emphasise the “mess” he inherited from former president George W. Bush in 2009.

He also stressed the economic drag created by state and local government layoffs, as well as “headwinds” from Europe’s debt crisis, a tsunami-ravaged Japan and higher gas prices resulting from the Arab Spring.

“We’ve made progress since the start of this recession back in 2008. (But) it hasn’t been fast enough. We’ve got to accelerate it,” Obama said.

Obama stressed that he is “going to need a partner” in Congress - now partially controlled by the Republicans - in order to pass legislation needed to strengthen the economy in the short term.

Republicans have blasted Obama’s three-state bus tour as a campaign event thinly disguised as an extended public policy discussion.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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