President Obama accused Republicans of instigating the recent cycle of Washington gridlock that once again threatens government shutdown--simply because of their personal animosity against him.
"You know, you never want to say, 'It's all them,' " Obama said in an exclusive interview with ABC News' Barbara Walters. "But I do think that right now at least, in the Republican Party, there are a couple of notions. No. 1 is that compromise is a dirty word. No. 2, anything that Obama's for, we're against."
Obama pointed to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich as examples of Republicans who once supported elements of his health care plan but switched views. "If I propose a health care bill that is full of Republican ideas--in fact, is very similar to the law that was passed by the current Republican front-runner, or one of the top front-runners ... the other guy was supportive of many of the ideas as well--suddenly, they become against it," Obama said.
A recent ABC News/Washington Post poll finds Obama's personal popularity among Americans dropping, with 49 percent of those surveyed saying they have an unfavorable opinion of Obama and 48 percent viewing him favorably. This is the first time his "negative" number has exceeded his positive one--which has sunk from 79 percent in the days before he took office, according to ABC.
"I think what it suggests is that we've gone through a very difficult time. And, in order for us to move forward, we're going to have to do more work," said Obama, responding to the poll. "I want to be a really good two-term president. I think that the choices we've made have made America stronger, and have ... put [the American people] in a better position in order to succeed over the long term. Short term, folks are still hurting."