EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

World/National News

October 18, 2013

Obama blasts Republicansas government reopens

(Continued)

“Some of the same folks who pushed for the shutdown and threatened default claimed their actions were needed to get America back on track,” he said in remarks in the State Dining Room.

“But probably nothing has done more damage to America’s credibility to the world. ... It’s encouraged out enemies. It’s emboldened our competitors. And it’s depressed our friends who look to us for steady leadership,” he said.

Obama said the public is “completely fed up with Washington” and he and Congress face hard work in regaining trust. It was a reference to public opinion polls that show the nation in a sour mood — though more inclined to blame Republicans than the president and his party for the first partial government shutdown caused by politics in 17 years.

Hoping to jump-start his own stalled agenda, Obama urged lawmakers to concentrate on three items in the coming weeks: a balanced plan to reduce long-term deficits, legislation to overhaul the immigration system and passage of a farm bill.

Polling aside, Obama’s party emerged from the three-week showdown in Congress united. All Democrats in Congress supported the legislation that passed Wednesday night to fund the government and raise the debt limit.

Not so of the Republicans. Eighteen GOP members in the Senate and 144 in the House opposed the legislation, while 27 in the Senate and 87 in the House supported it.

The fault line separated tea party adherents from the balance of the rank and file. And there were clear signs the split was enduring, though not widening.

In Mississippi, where GOP Sen. Thad Cochran has not yet announced if he will seek a new term in 2014, the Club for Growth and Senate Conservatives Fund were not waiting to find out. They endorsed a potential rival, Republican state Sen. Chris McDaniel, as he announced his candidacy.

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