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Obama tells Congress, Europe to get in gear

In a news conference, President Obama capped a tough political week by blaming Congress (again) for failing to pass his jobs plan and urging Europe to address its financial crisis.

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On Tuesday, the failure of Wisconsin Democrats – and their allies in the labor movement – to unseat Republican Gov. Scott Walker in a controversial recall effort dealt another blow to Obama and his party.

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And in a stickier situation for the president, former President Clinton erupted with a series of “off-message” statements several times in the last week, contradicting key Obama campaign arguments on the economy, taxes, and presumed GOP nominee Mitt Romney's business record. Mr. Clinton apologized on Thursday, and is likely to remain a top surrogate for Obama, but after similar displays of rogue behavior by other top Democrats – note Newark Mayor Cory Booker and former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell – Team Obama seemed a bit ragged by week’s end.

At the press conference, Obama was also asked about recent media leaks concerning his alleged supervision of a terrorist “kill list” and about cyberattacks on Iran’s suspected nuclear program. Republicans have accused the president’s allies of leaking the information to boost his national security credentials – now the strongest suit in his reelection bid – to strengthen his campaign.

Obama said that if any people who have leaked information can be rooted out, “they will suffer the consequences” for what is a criminal act.

“The notion that my White House would purposefully release classified national security information is offensive,” he said. “It's wrong, and you know, people, I think, need to have a better sense of how I approach this office and how the people around me here approach this office.”

On balance, Obama spent the bulk of his press conference focused on Europe, and what European leaders can do to prevent their financial crisis – and problems with the eurozone – from turning into a global economic downturn.

“In the short term, they've got to stabilize ... their financial system, and part of that is taking clear action as soon as possible to inject capital into weak banks,” Obama said. “Just as important, leaders can lay out a framework and a vision for a stronger eurozone, including deeper collaboration on budgets and banking policy."


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