August 15th, 2011
03:26 PM ET
In Cannon Falls, Minnesota this morning- the first stop on his three-day Midwest bus tour- President Obama laid out the differences between government and politics, saying that the latter, and not the former, is at fault for our current economic woes.
"We have a political culture that doesn't seem willing to make the tough choices to move America forward," Obama said. "We have a willingness to play partisan games and engage in brinksmanship that not only costs us in terms of the economy now but also is going to place a burden on future generations. And the question is can we break out of that pattern?"
Speaking to a crowd of about 500 people on the banks of the Cannon River, the president once again expressed his frustration with the climate in the nation’s capital and reiterated his call for people to "send a message to Washington that it’s time for the games to stop."
But shortly after expressing hope that a month spent listening to frustrated constituents far away from Washington D.C. would imbue congressional lawmakers with a "new attitude," Obama criticized those who would try to convince voters that government is broken.
"Government and politics are two different things," Obama said, before listing all the parts of government that make people’s lives better, like soldiers in combat, FEMA relief workers, public school teachers, firefighters, police officers and even EPA workers who monitor pollution. "That’s government. So don’t be confused, as frustrated as you are about politics. Don’t buy into this notion that somehow government is what’s holding us back."
Obama also took aim at another of his opponents’ primary attack lines when he was asked a question about the rising cost of prescription drugs. Citing some of the efforts made to control prescription costs in the 2010 Affordable Care Act, the president addressed Republican attempts to rename one of his signature legislative accomplishments.
"The affordable care act, health care reform, also known as ‘Obamacare.’ You know what? Let me tell you, I have no problem with folks saying ‘Obama cares,’" he said. "I do care. If the other side wants to be the folks who don’t care that’s fine with me. But yeah, I do care about families who’ve been struggling because of crushing health care costs."