Obama: 'I Can't Run Against a Do-Nothing Congress'
Below, we're providing up-to-the-minute quotes from President Obama's press conference.
On the economy:
"The reason I keep going around the country talking about this jobs bill is because people really need help right now, our economy really needs a jolt right now. This is not a game. It’s not time for the usual political gridlock."
"The problems Europe is having today could have a very real effect on our economy at a time when it is already fragile. But this jobs bill can help guard against another downturn if the situation in Europe gets any worse."
"There are too many people hurting in this country for us to do nothing and the economy is just too fragile for us to just let politics get in the way of action."
"I think that if we don’t take action, then we could end up having more significant problems than we have right now."
"It’s not as if [the jobs bill] is going to solve all our problems, but it’s an important start that we know would end up growing the economy and putting hundreds of thousands, millions of people back to work at a time when they need it most, and it’s paid for."
"The irony is that the same folks that the Republicans claim to be protecting -- the well off, the millionaires and billionaires -- would be doing better if ordinary Americans had money in their pockets and were out there feeling more confident about the economy. That's been the lesson of our history. When folks in the middle and at the bottom are doing well, the folks at the top do even better."
On passing his jobs bill:
"We’re just going to keep on going at it … my intention is that each part of this, I want an explanation as to why we shouldn’t be doing it. … We will just keep on going at it and hammering away until something gets done."
"We’ve also got to reign in our deficits and live within our means. Which is why this jobs bill is fully paid for by asking millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share. Some see this is as class warfare. I see it as a simple choice."
"With respect to working with Congress, I think it’s fair to say that I have gone out of my way in every instance -- sometimes at my own political peril and to the frustration of Democrats -- to work with Republicans to find common ground and move forward."
"It’s now up to all the Senators and hopefully all members of the House to explain to their constituencies why they would be opposed to common sense ideas that have historically been supported by Democrats and Republicans in the past."
"[Americans] are very skeptical about Congress’s ability to act right now. The American people are very frustrated right now, they’ve been frustrated for a long time. They don’t get a sense that folks in this town are looking out for their interests ... I can go out there and make speeches but until they actually see action, some of that cynicism is going to be there."
"The Republicans in Congress, even when the American people agree with me, will vote against something I proprose."
"I am always open to negotiations. What is also true is that they [Congress] need to do something. … I am ready, eager to work with them."
"The question is will Congress do something? If Congress does something, I can’t run against a do-nothing Congress. If Congress does nothing, then it's not a matter of me running against them. I think the American people will run them out of town."
On the 2012 campaign:
"The election is 13, 14 months away. I would love nothing more than to not be out there campaigning because we were seeing constructive action here in Congress."
"I would love nothing more than to see Congress act so aggressively so that I can’t campaign against them as a do-nothing Congress."
On the Occupy Wall Street protests:
"You’re still seeing the folks that acted irresponsibly trying fight efforts to crack down on abusive practices that got us into the problem in the first place."
On financial reform and oversight:
"I used up a lot of political capital -- and I’ve got the dings and bruises to prove it -- in order to make sure that we prevented a financial meltdown and that banks stayed afloat."
"What I think is that the American people understand that not everybody has been following the rules, that Wall Street is an example of that."
"You’ve got Republican presidential candidates whose main economic policy proposals are that we’ll get rid of the financial reform that are designed to prevent the abuses that got us into this mess in the first place."