Obama: Something is wrong with country's politics
NEW YORK—Aligning himself with a public fed up with economic uncertainty and Washington gridlock, President Barack Obama declared Thursday: “There is nothing wrong with our country. There is something wrong with our politics.”
His toughly worded message—he said there was frustration in his voice, in case anyone missed the point—came amid a series of polls showing that people are disgusted with political dysfunction and are dispensing blame all around, including on Obama.
Obama aired his frustration with the ways of Washington at an event in Michigan before pivoting to his re-election campaign and a pair of big-money fundraisers in New York City.
He delivered a condensed version of that message at a fundraiser at the lower Manhattan home of movie producer Harvey Weinstein, where celebrities Gwyneth Paltrow and Jimmy Fallon, were among the approximately 50 guests who paid $35,800 each to attend.
Obama said he told his Michigan audience that it deserves better than what it’s been getting from Washington.
“They look at what’s happening in Washington and they think these folks are really from outer space because they don’t seem to understand how critical it is for us all to work together, Republicans, Democrats, independents, in order to move this country forward,” Obama said.
He added that the country is realizing the need to get involved.
“We’re going to have to get engaged and we’re going to have to speak out,” Obama said. “We’re going to have to register the fact that we expect more and we expect better.”
Obama’s visit Thursday to Holland, Mich., and New York, was his first official trip outside Washington after spending more than a month in the nation’s capital dealing with the debt debate. Obama said Americans were right to be worried about the country’s 9.1 percent unemployment rate and fluctuations in the stock market. The contentious and partisan debt debate in Washington, he said, has done little to help.
A Washington Post poll released this week showed widespread and deep discontent with Washington. Nearly 80 percent said they were dissatisfied with the way the country’s political system works, compared with 60 percent in November 2009. Seventy-one percent said the federal government is mostly focused on the wrong things, up from 55 percent in October 2010.