Obama: Republicans ‘trying to mess with me’

September 20, 2013

Speaking at a Ford Motor Co. plant in Missouri Friday, President Obama accused congressional Republicans of "trying to mess with me" by derailing basic government operations.

The sharply-personal remarks--made during a speech in which the president outlined his economic vision--came just hours after the House passed a continuing resolution on a largely party-line vote that would keep the government running while simultaneously defunding the Affordable Care Act. Because the Senate is expected to strip out the defunding plan when it considers the measure, the House action raises the prospect of a possible government shutdown at the end of the month.

“Unfortunately right now the debate is going on in Congress is not meeting the test of helping middle class families," Obama said. "They’re not focused on you. They’re focused on politics. They’re focused on trying to mess with me. They’re not focused on you."

The crowd responded with loud applause.

Obama, a former constitutional law professor at the University of Chicago, also poked fun at lawmakers for failing to fulfill their fundamental job requirement.

“The most basic constitutional duty Congress has is to pass a budget," he said. "That’s Congress 101.”

Philip Rucker contributed to this story.

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Sean Sullivan | September 20, 2013