Obama to GOP: 'Stop just hating all the time' - Tucson News Now

Obama to GOP: 'Stop just hating all the time'

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President Barack Obama is touring the country pushing his economic agenda ahead of the midterm elections, and it was the focus of speech Wednesday at Kansas City's historic Uptown Theater. President Barack Obama is touring the country pushing his economic agenda ahead of the midterm elections, and it was the focus of speech Wednesday at Kansas City's historic Uptown Theater.
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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV/AP) -

With the midterm elections coming up in three months, President Barack Obama took aim at Republicans on Wednesday during a speech at Kansas City's historical Uptown Theater.

The speech was billed as a speech on the economy, but it included sharp words of criticism at his political opponents.

"Stop being mad all the time. Stop just hating all the time. Come on," the president said in his  boisterous and clearly partisan speech that at times sounded like a re-election speech by the term-limited Obama.

While headlines have focused on violence in Gaza and the downing of a passenger jet over the Ukraine, Obama focused on the economy. He also used Kansas City area residents as proof that the Affordable Care Act is making a difference in American lives.

Pointing the finger at Republicans for Congressional inaction, Obama chided lawmakers Wednesday for spending the waning days before their month-long summer break trying to sue him rather than addressing "serious" economic issues that could boost the middle class.

"I know they're not that happy that I'm president, but that's OK," he said. "Come on. I've only got a couple of years left. Come on, let's get some work done. Then you can be mad at the next president."

Addressing about 1,500 supporters, Obama cast the stalemate in Washington as a personal reaction to his presidency, accusing Republicans of choosing political stunts to undermine him over taking action on issues like immigration, transportation spending and tax reform.

"Stop posturing," he said.

Obama's tough talk came hours before Republicans were planning to push a bill through the House authorizing a lawsuit against Obama and accusing him of exceeding his powers in enforcing his healthcare law. Obama dismissed the suit as a waste of time, noting he'd likely be out of office by the time it's resolved and warning that taxpayers were on the hook for the legal expenses.

At the same time, Obama offered an optimistic assessment of an improving U.S. economy on the heels of new data showing strong growth in the second quarter of the year. "We hold the best cards," he said. "Things are getting better. The decisions we make now cold make things even better than that."

He touted what he considers his economic accomplishments during his nearly six years in the White House.

"So sometimes you wouldn't know it if you were watching the news, but there are a lot of good reasons to be optimistic about America," he said. "We hold the best cards. Things are getting better."

The national Republican Party issued a statement saying that Obama "is not living in the same economic reality that the rest of the country is." The GOP said Obamacare is raising insurance premiums, the economy isn't growing enough and too many Americans can't find jobs.

"Instead of only offering campaign speeches and policies that hurt job creation, President Obama should call on (U.S. Sen.) Harry Reid and the Democrat-run Senate to end their obstruction of more than 40 jobs bills passed by that House that are still waiting on a vote," according to a statement from RNC spokesman Michael Short.

He also said the House has passed 353 bills that are pending in the Senate, and said "many" were passed on a bipartisan basis.

"So it seems like the president would rather wage a cynical election-year campaign against his own party's gridlock than do anything to break it," Short said.

Embracing the populist economic message that Democrats are promoting ahead of the midterm elections, Obama said he was glad that stock markets and corporate profits were booming, but said the country must ensure that the middle class has opportunities to take part in that prosperity.

"What I really want is somebody who has worked for 20, 30 years being able to retire with some dignity and some respect," the president said. "What I really want is a family that they have the capacity to save so when their child is ready to go to college, they know they can help and that it's affordable, and that child is not going to be burdened down with debt. That's the measure of whether the economy is working."

He said those who work hard every day should get a fair shot and "that's what we're fighting for. That's why I ran for president. That's what I focused on every day."

It was a theme the president underscored the night before over ribs and beer as he shared a barbecue dinner with four Kansas City residents in an effort to highlight the struggles of working Americans.

While he spoke of the political infighting and stalemate, he said he remains optimistic about America's future.

"Every single day, as depressing sometimes as what goes on in Washington may be, I see the inherent goodness and generosity of the American people," he said. "I see it every day."

He said the American fighting spirit to do better needs to be captured in Washington by elected leaders.

He said the White House gets tens of thousands of pieces of mail and he reads 10 letters every night. He said his staff gives him a variety of letters to read.

"It gives me a chance to hear directly from the people I serve. And folks tell me their stories," the president said. "They tell me their worries and their hopes, and their hardships and their successes. Some say I'm doing a good job. But other people say, 'You're an idiot.'"

A young girl complained about a lack of women on U.S. currency, and provided a long list of possible women to include.

"I thought it was a pretty good idea," he said.

About 300 protesters and supporters mingled outside the theater, monitored by nearby police.

Protesters carried several signs, some of which read "Arrest Obama," and "Obama, Israel is a democracy? Define democracy." Others said, "America Deserves Truth," Surrender the White House," and "Obama, he's not my president."

There were a few arguments among the protesters, whose chants included "liberate Palestine."

Among the protesters was John Brown, a 41-year-old autoworker from Kansas City who said he hasn't had a raise in 13 years and is looking forward to Obama leaving office.

Kansas City resident Clayton Ernsberger said the economy is recovering.

"What do you tell the white guy over 50 who can't an interview in two years," Ernsberger said.

Others said Obama has been a disaster as president, who has accomplished nothing.

Still many residents gathered along the motorcade's route to catch a glimpse of the president as he left the Crowne Plaza hotel en route to the Uptown. Children in particular were enthralled to catch a glimpse of the waving president.

Former State. Rep. Trent Skaggs, a Democrat from the Northland, brought son Levi and daughters Cora and Ella to see Obama in downtown. Their grandfather is former Mayor Pro Tem Bill Skaggs so the family is use to being around politicians including attending the city council's inauguration in 2007. But this was something special.

"I thought it was really cool," Cora said.

"I thought it was really exciting. I can't believe we got to see the president," Ella exclaimed.

Skaggs said it was something he wanted his children to see.

"It's always historical whether you are a Democrat or Republican," he said. "It is always exciting to see."

Wilhena Odom Scott teared up when she saw the president for the first time.

"He is my president and I just wanted to be here for this moment," Scott said.

Sharon Donahue, a 52-year-old Kansas City resident, carried an album of magazine photos she keeps of Obama and his family and says she feels Obama "stands up for a lot of good things."

Those lucky enough to attend the speech were inspired and excitedly chattered about the speech afterward. Supporters echoed his criticism of Congress for failure to work with him.

"The president has a lot of good policy and we just need the Congress to act," Brenda Pernell said.

Flying back to Washington with Obama were U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Kansas City, and U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis. Security was tight for the events but that didn't stop Obama from making unexpected appearances at local restaurants.

KCTV5's Erika Tallan, Bonyen Lee, Heather Staggers and Emily Rittman contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) and the Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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