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Obama says downgrade could have been avoided with less congressional gridlock

President Obama's speech today in Holland, MI was billed to be about jobs and the advanced battery facility there at Johnson Controls Inc. that received money from the stimulus, creating more than 150 jobs. But his remarks also served as a jab at the gridlock in Congress after S&P's recent downgrade of America's credit rating.

“Unfortunately, what we've seen in Washington the last few months has been the worst counter partisanship, the worst kind of gridlock. And that gridlock has undermined public confidence and impeded our efforts to take the steps we need for our economy. It's made things worse instead of better.”

Obama continued, “There is nothing wrong with our country; there is something wrong with our politics.”

And unlike earlier this week, when it seemed the president was unwilling to directly criticize Congress for this gridlock and its responsibility for the S&P downgrade, today he was clear about where he places the blame. 

“This downgrade that you're reading about could've been entirely avoided if there had been a willingness to compromise in Congress,” he said. 

“We can't afford to play games, not right now; not when the stakes are so high for our economy," Obama added. "And if you agree with me, it doesn't matter if you're a Democrats or a Republican or an independent -- you've got to let Congress know. You've got to tell them you've had enough of the theatrics, you've had enough of the politics, stop sending out press releases, start passing some bills that we all know will help our economy right now. That's what they need to do. They've got to hear from you."

But the president said he has no intention of calling Congress back to work during its August recess. “There's been a lot of talk in Washington right now that I should call Congress back early.” he stated,  “The last thing we need is Congress spending more time arguing in D.C. What I figure is they need to spend more time out here listening to you and hearing how fed up you are.” 

Those lines were met by applause.